Dear life

Alice Munro

“Alice Munro captures the essence of life in her brilliant new collection of stories. Moments of change, chance encounters, the twist of fate that leads a person to a new way of thinking or being: the stories in Dear Life build to form a radiant, indelible portrait of just how dangerous and strange ordinary life can be. Critics have been saying for so long that a typical Alice Munro story is as rich and textured as any novel that they seem not to have noticed that her recent stories don’t resemble novels much at all. Beginning (roughly) with Runaway (2004) and continuing through to Too Much Happiness (2009), Munro has gradually shifted away from the complex, oblique narratives and intricately layered portraiture of her mid-career work toward a pared-down, almost expressionist form of storytelling. There is an interesting diversion at the end of this book: the final four stories are, in Munro's own words, "not quite stories… the first and last – and the closest – things I have to say about my own life." A less well-known writer would not be allowed to lift her hands and say, "Look, there are some bits here, and I'm not sure what they are, but there you go," but they are delightful additions to this collection. Plainer, with a slightly more bitter edge, than the "fictional" stories that precede them, they are a tantalising glimpse of the memoir Munro fans would swoon for, should she choose to write it.”

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