"The road to the Nobel wasn't an easy one for Munro: the odds that a literary star would emerge from her time and place would once have been zero. She was born in 1931, and thus experienced the Depression as a child and the second world war as a teenager.
It's this small-town setting that features most often in her stories – the busybodies, the snobberies, the eccentrics, the cutting of swelled heads down to size, and the jeering at ambitions, especially artistic ones.
Shame and embarrassment are driving forces for Munro's characters, just as perfectionism in the writing has been a driving force for her: getting it down, getting it right, but also the impossibility of that. Munro chronicles failure much more often than she chronicles success, because the task of the writer has failure built in. In this she is a romantic: the visionary gleam exists, but it can't be grasped, and if you drivel on about it openly the folks in the grocery store will think you're a lunatic.
As in much else, Munro is thus quintessentially Canadian."