Alice Munro's 12-story collection The View From Castle Rock is pitched as ''more personal than any she's written before,'' but that's just hogwash. The genre doyenne's perfectly modulated tales have always scored a direct wallop to the cerebral cortex. And she's still at it as she fictionalizes the history of her father's family, the Laidlaws. Unfortunately, the book's first third thrums on; to fully absorb Rock's clear-eyed charm, start on page 111 with ''The Wilds of Morris Township,'' which follows the Scottish clan's arrival in Canada and inevitable struggle against 19th-century small-town mores. What then follows is a lineup of gorgeous (but never wistful) first-person narratives about childhood friends (''Fathers,'' which echoes her own 1994 story ''Spaceships Have Landed''), her parents' divergent work ethics (''Working for a Living''), and the perils of a lackluster marriage (''The Ticket''). She doesn't broach any new themes, but Munro's prodigious talent is all here.