Books: Small Is Beautiful

Two new short-story collections are more full of literary pleasures than a shelf full of blockbusters

It's a girl's world out there.  Pop music has room only for nymphets. Actresses over 40 are invisible to the movie camera. But the literary world is different. A woman can have a few gray hairs and still count on being published. It's a good thing too, because two of the best writers alive, Annie Proulx and Alice Munro, are well along into their golden years. And they both have new collections of stories that prove golden is the word for what they do.

For some years Proulx (rhymes with true), 69, has been a virtuoso chronicler of Wyoming's beleaguered ranchlands...

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