Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Book Review: Dear Life by Alice Munro

From the cover blurb: Alice Munro's peerless ability to give us the essence of a life in often brief but always spacious and timeless stories is once again everywhere apparent in this brilliant new collection.

Indeed, chance encounters, twists of fate, small town gossip vs. big city anonymity, accidents, dangers, departures, and beginnings - all paint a radiant, indelible portrait of how strange, perilous, and extraordinary ordinary life can be.

I enjoyed this collection, Dear Life, and Munro is so graceful in her writing. It seems effortless, but at age 81 she's had quite a lot of practice. Her descriptions, settings, and characters are just so good. Why am I even commenting? I am not worthy. Truly - just not worthy. But I'm delighted to be a reader of her work.

Here are a few samples of her prose:

P. 10  Here nobody was safe. Judgement might be passed behind backs, even on the known and published. An air of cleverness or nerves obtained, no matter who you were.

P. 176  Jumping off the train was supposed to be a cancellation. You roused your body, readied your knees, to enter a different block of air. You looked forward to emptiness.

P. 319  We say of some things that they can't be forgiven, or that we will never forgive ourselves. But we do - we do it all the time.

For those who admire the short story, read Alice Munro's Dear Life and shake your head in awe of great writing.

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