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Dear Life: Stories Hardcover – Deckle Edge, November 13, 2012
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Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
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Munro has written 12 other short story collections as well as a few volumes of selected previously published stories and one novel. You'd think with this many published stories in her back pocket that maybe she'd retrace her steps, write the same story but with different characters, rely on a well-tread formula or two for some of the "filler" in the book. But such is not the case. While many reoccurring themes are explored, DEAR LIFE is as fresh and illuminating as any of her previous collections, if not more so. As another reviewer so fittingly put it, "there are no clunkers here."
"To Reach Japan," the first entry in the collection, finds Greta and her young daughter Katy on a train to Toronto to housesit a friend's home for a month while Greta's husband --- and Katy's father --- begins a new job elsewhere. While on the journey, the normally quiet and contained Greta gets too deep in the drink with a younger fellow they meet on the train and, in a moment of lusty abandon, loses track of Katy. Of course, mother and daughter are reunited, but not without Greta feeling the full weight of what might have happened.Read more ›
Ms. Munro has published twelve collections of short stories and one novel. She is a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Booker Award and the Lannan Literary Award. Her books have been translated into thirteen languages.
In the autobiographical section, there are tender remembrances of her past and her time with her familiy. 'Dear Life', the title story, is about her growing up. Her father started a business raising foxes and minks for their pelts. Eventually the business failed and her father went to work in a forgery. Her mother developed Parkinson's Disease when she was in her forties. The family did not realize that it was progressive and incurable. In 'The Eye', she writes about Sadie who helps out in their house. Alice and she develop a close bond. Sadie gets run over by a car on the way back from a dance when she is not yet twenty years old. This story explores the quality of their relationship.
One of the more powerful stories in the collection is 'Amundsen'. A teacher in a rural sanitarium for children with tuberculosis becomes engaged to a doctor who works there. Things don't progress as she hoped they would. 'Leaving Maverly' was my favorite story. Each night, a police officer drives a young woman of a very fundamentalist religious denomination home. One night she skips town. His own wife is very ill with serious heart disease and he ends up taking her to Toronto for care.Read more ›
Although each story seems to be plausible, the endings are left open for each person to ascribe as they see fit. In other words there is a great deal of ambiguity to how each of the characters' lives eventually end up.
The author uses the train as a mode of transportation to set the background scene for most of the stories as a unifying theme plus a certain amount of despair and hopelessness in almost every case. Each story has some amount of psychological, spiritual, and sexual nature to it without the use of a lot of 4-lettered words to describe the action.
Each short story is poignantly told with a certain amount of hopelessness in the manner of predestination reminiscent of some European writers as Jean Paul Sartre. Yet in Ms Munro's stories the reader can supply the ending they choose, as nothing is written in stone except for the helplessness of the main characters to change a predestined plan of some existential force.
With the aforementioned precautions noted, I would recommend this fine work of short stories with easily understandable language. Just remember this is not a feel good series of stories although entertaining and evocative of many aspects of human nature.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good writer I just happen to find it all pretty boring….like the characters…"who cares"…really. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Kindle Customer
Eerie, mundane, poetic, spiritual, deep. That's Alice Munro's writing. Her writing is simple, not the overwritten products of MFA students. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Amazon Customer
Somehow this author is able to make a short story so interesting, so well developed , so interesting that it is as though you have read a novel.Published 24 days ago by CTK
ALICE MUNRO IS, HANDS DOWN, MY FAVORITE CONTEMPORARY WRITER. HER SHORT STORIES ARE DENSE AND COMPRESSED, AND, I MIGHT ADD, NOT ALWAYS "CLEANLY FINISHED" IN THE SENSE THAT... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Richard E. Kaye
One of the worst books I have ever read - what a waste of money. Most of her short stories are pointless.
Do NOT recommend at all. Read more
Stories are boring for the most part. Nothing ever really happens. However there was one that really got to me as I could relate to it with a person I was a caregiver to. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Lynn Durham