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Dear Life: Storiesby Alice Munro
Synopses & Reviews
A brilliant new collection of stories from one of the most acclaimed and beloved writers of our time.
With her peerless ability to give us the essence of a life in often brief but spacious and timeless stories, Alice Munro illumines the moment a life is shaped — the moment a dream, or sex, or perhaps a simple twist of fate turns a person out of his or her accustomed path and into another way of being. Suffused with Munro's clarity of vision and her unparalleled gift for storytelling, these stories (set in the world Munro has made her own: the countryside and towns around Lake Huron) about departures and beginnings, accidents, dangers, and homecomings both virtual and real, paint a vivid and lasting portrait of how strange, dangerous, and extraordinary the ordinary life can be.
"Joan Didion once said 'I didn't want to see life reduced to a short story... I wanted to see life expanded to a novel.' Didion had her own purposes, but Munro readers know that the dichotomy between expansive novel and compressed short story doesn't hold in her work. Munro (Too Much Happiness) can depict key moments without obscuring the reality of a life filled with countless other moments — told or untold. In her 13th collection, she continues charting the shifts in norms that occur as WWII ends, the horses kept for emergencies go out of use, small towns are less isolated, and then gradually or suddenly, nothing is quite the same. There are no clunkers here, and especially strong stories include 'Train,' 'To Reach Japan,' 'Haven,' and 'Corrie.' And for the first time, Munro writes about her childhood, in the collection's final four pieces, which she describes as 'not quite stories.... I believe they are the first and last — and the closest — things I have to say about my own life.' These feature the precision of her fiction with the added interest of revealing the development of Munro's eye and her distance from her surroundings, both key, one suspects, in making her the writer she is. While many of these pieces appeared in the New Yorker, they read differently here; not only has Munro made changes, but more importantly, read together, the stories accrete, deepen, and speak to each other." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"It's no surprise that every story in the latest collection by Canada's Munro is rewarding and that the best are stunning. They leave the reader wondering how the writer manages to invoke the deepest, most difficult truths of human existence in the most plainspoken language....The author knows what matters, and the stories pay attention to it." Kirkus, starred review
"Unreserved praise for the continued wonderment provided by arguably the best short-story writer in English today....On whatever level of reader familiarity Munro is working, in every story she finds new ways to make the lives of ordinary people compelling." Booklist, starred review
"With her penetrating new collection, Alice Munro demonstrates once again why she deserves her reputation as a master of short fiction....'This is not a story, only life,' declares the protagonist of the title narrative. With the subtlety and complexity of Munro's writing, it's hard to tell the difference." Pamela Newtown, O Magazine
While most of these stories take place in Munro’s home territory — the small Canadian towns around Lake Huron — the characters sometimes venture to the cities, and the book ends with four pieces set in the area where she grew up, and in the time of her own childhood: stories “autobiographical in feeling, though not, sometimes, entirely so in fact.” A girl who can’t sleep imagines night after wakeful night that she kills her beloved younger sister. A mother snatches up her child and runs for dear life when a crazy woman comes into her yard.
About the Author
Alice Munro grew up in Wingham, Ontario, and attended the University of Western Ontario. She has published fourteen collections of stories as well as a novel, Lives of Girls and Women. During her distinguished career she has been the recipient of many awards and prizes, including three of Canada's Governor General's Literary Awards and two of its Giller Prizes, the Rea Award for the Short Story, the Lannan Literary Award, England's W. H. Smith Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Man Booker International Prize. In 2013 she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, Granta, and other publications, and her collections have been translated into thirteen languages. She lives in Clinton, Ontario, near Lake Huron.
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