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Writer Alice Munro attends the opening night of the International Festival of Authors in Toronto on Wednesday October 21, 2009.CHRIS YOUNG/The Canadian Press

It's one thing to think someone a genius, and another to understand how. In Alice Munro's case, her genius is derived from a complex mixture of gifts. She makes indelible characters, yes, but she's just as remarkable for her inventive and crisp language, the remarkable rhythm and pacing of her prose, her wide-ranging and empathetic interest.

Here, a dissection of the opening section of her 1982 story Bardon Bus explores facets of her singular talent. Because showing's better than telling, especially when it comes to celebrating one of Canada's greatest writers.

Interactive by TONIA COWAN and MICHAEL SNIDER / THE GLOBE AND MAIL