Chatto & Windus, $39.95 hb, 319 pp, 9780701187842
Philip Roth wasn’t the only writer to take the unusual step of announcing his retirement at the end of last year. Confirmation that Alice Munro was also relinquishing fiction was tucked away on the New Yorker’s blog, Page-Turner, three days after the New York Times ran an interview with Roth on its front page. While literary magazines here and overseas continue to publish tributes to Roth, the dearth of comparable pieces on Munro has been conspicuous. Surely it’s not because we don’t think she’s any good. Like rainbows, sleep, and the Beatles, her short stories are things upon which we can all agree.