Before reading Dear Life I was unfamiliar with Alice Munro’s work. I have never read many short stories, but wanted to try this set after hearing so many wonderful things about the author’s work. Having received the book as a gift from a friend I added it to the top of my TBR pile – and I am thankful that I did. I know that I have another of her collections sitting in my pile of unread books and I may need to move it closer to the top…
What’s extraordinary about this book is how it examines ordinary moments in life. Ms. Munro has the uncommon ability to take the sameness of everyday life and pull out a moment, one that may seem unimportant initially, and show the many facets of humanity that make that moment meaningful and real.
This is a hard book to review or to have a one-sided discussion about. Because nothing happens, and everything happens – life happens. There are no moments of extreme conflict or sugary happy endings or brutal slayings or mysteries solved. It is simply a collection of stories about life, even though there is nothing simple about them.
The last four stories are autobiographical in nature, making them a unique glance into the author’s past. But my favorite has to be In Sight of the Lake, the story of an elderly woman suffering from dementia. While all the stories were wonderful, I was struck by the simple sadness of this story. Life not as it should be, but life as it all too often is.
Title: Dear Life
Author: Alice Munro
Genre: Fiction, Short Stories
Publication: Knopf, November 2012