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“Who Do You Think You Are?”

· Novel ·

There are two ways: start from the first page and read on, or arbitrarily choose the order in which you would like to read the ten stories which compose “Who Do You Think You Are?”, a novel published in 1978 by Alice Murno (published by MacMillan in Canada, and known outside of Canada as “The Beggar Maid”). The main character of the story follows the laborious path of young Rose whose relationship with her stepmother has had a crucial role to play in her difficulties (“That which she and Flo have done and said actually matters very little. What is important is her inner conflict and even with that there is little to say because it’s unrelenting, and it will go where it must go”). Murno, born in Canada in 1931, is probably one of the best short story writers still living. Her book, without losing any narrative thread, can be read as a novel, or as a collection of separate stories, which very few writers are capable of doing. Although the majority of her stories take place in Ontario, Murno is able to capture themes, states of a soul and nuances with a clear hint of universality. “The Bear Came Over the Mountain”, a story which speaks about love, identity and a loss because of Alzheimers disease, encompasses this, and is perhaps her greatest masterpiece.

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