Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dear Life: Stories; Alice Munro

Title: Dear Life: Stories
Author: Alice Munro
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Random House Audio
Edition: audio

Source: Library
Setting: Canada
Date Completed: February - 2013
Rating: 4/5 
Recommend: yes

In the past I've tended to pass on short story collections but I've been trying to step out of my comfort zone a bit.  This collection was a good choice for me.
Dear Life: Stories, by Alice Munro is a collection of 14 stories, most of them are set in the 1940s-1950s and take place in rural areas of Canada - probably somewhere near Ontario.  Most of the stories had characters that are easy to feel for -- often flawed or with lives in turmoil. The characters and settings are what appealed to me the most.  The stories seem very plausible and in many cases the readers, once they finish a particular story, will be left to form their own conclusions. 
Some of stories in this collection that resonated with me the most were: In Sight of the Lake, story about a woman who seeks out a doctor to help her with her memory loss. Also, Pride, a story about a wealthy girl and a disabled boy who grew up in the same town and as adults have a somewhat awkward friendship. I also really enjoyed Amundsen, about a young woman who travels to a remote area to teach in a sanitarium for individuals who have contracted TB.  Sadly, she lets herself be seduced by the doctor in charge and begins a no-win relationship.
The final (4) stories Munro wrote are called, The "Finale" are autobiographical in nature. Munro is 81 and it seems clear that through this collection she is looking back at her "Dear Life", and those I found bittersweet.  Although most of the stories are a little sad, I did not find them depressing. Most involve a significant event that changes the lives of one or more of the people involved.
I would definitely recommend this short story collection. The audio book  (Random House Audio) was read by Kimberly Farr and Arthur Morey who did a very good job.


  1. I've come to enjoy short story collections more in recent years. This one sounds great!

  2. I read this one too. The stories are all quite wonderful, aren't they? Audiobooks are a great way to go.

  3. I've heard nothing but excellent things about Dear Life and I'm also fairly certain I've never read anything by Munro before which is just shameful. Always looking for good audio recs!

  4. I often enjoy short stories and you've convinced me to add this collection to my list!

  5. Excellent review, Diane! I've read a few stories by Alice Munro. On a different note, I think listening to this collection would be an ideal way to experience short fiction (which I never really thought of, until now).

  6. Short stories are hit or miss for me but I'm intrigued by your review, Diane, so I'm adding this collection to my list. Thanks for telling us about it!

  7. I used to pass on short stories, also, but am beginning to appreciate them. I'm adding this one to my audible wish list. Thanks!

  8. I've always struggled with short story collections, but people always list Murano as the best in this genre. I'm glad she didn't disappoint!

  9. I am reading this collection now but it's taking me a really long time to get through it.

  10. I like short stories, but rarely ever read them anymore. It's just a medium that I am sometimes a little reluctant to try. I need to see if this one would be a good fit for me. I have heard good things about Munroe though, and your experiences make it seem like this might be something I would like. Off to check it out now!

  11. It's been too long since I've read or listened to a short story collection. Munro is a master - I'm adding this to my list. Thanks, Diane.

  12. Ever since I saw this book on the Tournament of Books list, I've been eager to check it out. Glad that you enjoyed it. I am beginning to like short story collections more than I did in the past, so this one sounds perfect.


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