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Dear Life: Stories

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  20,439 Ratings  ·  2,728 Reviews
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 s ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 13th 2012 by Douglas Gibson Books (first published 2012)
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Diane No. Munro won a Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013 for her life work.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Manny
I had never read any Alice Munro, and I find it's difficult to say anything sensible about her. Obviously, the stories are very good. (She just won the Nobel Prize. Duh). But what's most impressive is that she doesn't seem to be doing anything in particular. With some writers, it's easy to understand why they're so highly regarded. Take Vladimir Nabokov. I look at his brilliantly constructed sentences, his cleverly ambiguous allusions, his breathtakingly unexpected metaphors, and I sigh: ah, I w ...more
Rowena
Jan 19, 2014 Rowena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian-lit
I’m always careful not to fall victim to popular opinion when reading any book, especially one by such an acclaimed and beloved writer as Alice Munro. I tried to forget the fact that Munro had only recently won the Nobel prize for fiction. This is only my second Munro so maybe I’m not the best judge of her work but I did find this collection very enjoyable.

I find that with Munro it’s the little details. Her stories are everyday stories of everyday people living mainly in small-town Canada, peopl
...more
Kalliope
Jan 29, 2015 Kalliope rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


DEAR WRITING


It is reassuring to see that the Nobel Prize for literature went recently to someone who writes so clearly and so unpretentiously.

I am not much of a reader of short stories. Shifting from one to the next is always anticlimactic. And often their being grouped in one particular volume is also contrived. This is the case with this collectioin. Most of these stories were first published at different dates in various literary magazines (Granta, Harper’s, Tin House...).

The settings are v
...more
Susan Tekulve
Dec 11, 2012 Susan Tekulve rated it it was amazing
As with all of Alice Munro's books, I rushed out to buy this newest collection, and then I rushed home, eager to plunge into it. I am an ardent fan of Alice Munro's work, and I think this collection is good, better than good. The most breathtaking, full and energetic of the short stories in this collection is "Amundsen." It takes place in a TB sanatarium near a remote town in Northern Canada. The story is about a young woman who takes a job teaching the children in the sanatarium and, eventually ...more
Nicholas Sparks
Jan 12, 2016 Nicholas Sparks rated it it was amazing
This new collection pinpoints the moment a person is forever altered by a chance encounter, an action not taken or a simple twist of fate. These are terrific stories by an amazing talent, a writer so good I learn something new with every story.
brian
Nov 21, 2012 brian rated it liked it
alice munro - great contemporary writer and bigtime oxymoron* - has a new collection coming out nov 13, just 3 days after i'm to be married. which is great as i'm expecting to be all reflective and nostalgic but also forward-looking and hopeful, a mishmash of sentiment and emotion and whatnot; which works out as nobody conjures up all that conflicting crap better than munro.

so, a few days after the wedding, we head down to del mar and, our first night walking the main drag of the tiny seaside t
...more
Fionnuala



Dear Alice,

What a good investment you've turned out to be.
A little girl growing up in rural Canada in the early twentieth century, far from the turmoil experienced by your contemporaries in Europe, you nevertheless created several lifetimes’ worth of unique stories from the limited resources you were given.
I watched while you observed every detail of your rural existence, filing away images and experiences for future use like some Canadian Picasso accumulating a studio full of junk which one f
...more
Ty
May 09, 2014 Ty rated it it was ok
I'm a writer myself, and within the last two years or so have begun to concentrate a bit more on writing short fiction.

To write is to read, as they say, and I have made an effort to read more short fiction. Many people, from members of my writing group, to lecturers I've listened to, to writers of articles on the subject I have read have advised the same thing; read Alice Munro.

"Perfect. Masterful. Genius. Epitome of what a short story should be today." All of these are accolades heaped upon Mun
...more
Cheryl
Dear Life: “One day he just got the idea that he could do the acting and not go through all that church stuff. He tried to be polite about it, but they said it was the Devil getting hold. He said ha-ha I know who it was getting hold. Bye-bye.” Greta should have known that he could have possibly been a bye-bye kind of guy, yet she risked her young one and marriage, in order to kiss and fondle this stranger. Loneliness, this inevitable part of our waking, breathing moments you’ve given us.

Dear Lif
...more
Richard
This is Alice Munro's most recent collection of short stories. Despite the advanced years of this grande dame of Canadian literature, her narrative powers have lost none of their sharpness. This offering has a family resemblance to other works of hers which I have read in the past. The setting is often a small Canadian town where life is very humdrum and ordinary. In this environment, shocking. tragic, bittersweet and sometimes humorous events can arise. They are chronicled with a detached, ofte ...more
Carmen
Mar 28, 2016 Carmen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Absolutely no one
Story 1: To Reach Japan
A story about a woman who's determined to have an affair.

Now, I don't condone affairs. But sometimes I can understand them, e.g. Addicted by Zane. But here, no reason is given for Greta cheating. And it doesn't seem to matter who she's cheating with: any available and interested man will do. So it's not “love” affairs she's having.

My educated guess about why Greta is cheating on her husband is that she's bored. She's a poet who works from home and she has a small child.

The
...more
Jan Priddy
Dec 29, 2012 Jan Priddy rated it it was amazing
I am a great fan of Munro and wrote my critical essay in grad school mostly about one of her stories. She breaks rules, I believe intentionally and intelligently, and to a purpose. Her earliest stories are simply good, but then over time, as her reputation grew, she could do whatever she liked. And she did. I admire what writers do once they can afford to entirely please themselves. "The final four works in this book are not quite stories . . . things I have to say about my own life" including t ...more
FeReSHte
Jan 28, 2016 FeReSHte rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-story, canada, audio
حقیقت اینه که آدم خوندن داستان کوتاه نیستم. نه که نخونم ! می خونم ولی شاید با شوق سمتش نرم و انتظار نداشته باشم تاثیری به ماندگاری داستان بلند روی من داشته باشه و البته استثنا کم نیست. یکی از این استثناها "آلیس مونرو" ی دوست داشتنیه. داستان ها عموما در شهر کوچک یا دهکده ای در کانادای کمی بعد از جنگ جهانی دوم می گذرند و معمولا هم زندگی زنان و دختران دست مایه اصلی آثار مونروست که به نظرم همین به پیوستگی حس کتاب و تداوم تاثیرش روی خواننده کمک می کنه و یه جورایی مانع از شلختگی و ناپیوستگی ذهنی میشه ...more
Cheryl
Jan 13, 2015 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
Dear Ms Munro,
We often visited Nana and Grandpa’s in Kincardine while we were growing up in London in the early 70s. They had a rich supply of Readers Digest, crossword puzzle books, and National Geographics. I’d catch up on all that new reading, then retreat to my own books that I’d brought along. I was quite happy to sit on the couch for hours and read, while absorbing the family reunion vibe around me. They would gently tease me every time, “There she is with her nose in a book again.” They h
...more
Zanna
Feb 01, 2015 Zanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Zanna by: Garima
Where do I begin? My second Munro and I feel that familiar sensation, like feeling for the barely palpable edge of the sticky tape on the roll, a way in, when everything feels like the centre, a cycle that's encircled me, that I've had with me for so long I can't imagine either end.

It's not as if the stories are all the same or blur into each other - far from it in fact! The mood and mode of each is so crisply distinct I can imagine Munro writing in an organised study, selecting from the options
...more
Nidhi Singh
Something that happens in most of Alice Munro’s stories is one of the many desired things that almost never happen to me. Those chance meetings that lead to moments of epiphany, those transformative experiences. I always thought I would also have one of those at some turn of the road. Or a forgotten someone would call out my name in a crowd. Or a certain name, a voice, would spark the memories a bygone past. Something that would lead to a retelling of life’s tales. And such difference that would ...more
Jaidee
Jun 28, 2015 Jaidee rated it liked it

3 "extremely memorable" stars.

I am writing this at 245 a.m. and we are at our cottage on Lake Huron and it was my favorite kind of day and evening and night and the spirit of Alice Munro was everywhere today. My partner spent a small time in his childhood in the town of Wingham Ontario (this is where Alice Munro grew up)and we had dinner there with his sister who lives very close to Clinton Ontario where Alice Munro currently lives. They are both ardent fans and I relished their discussion as th
...more
Erwin
Aug 24, 2014 Erwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my introduction to Munro's short stories. I read them one at a time and savoured each one. I really enjoyed these extraordinary stories. Some of these stories just breathe life. Ordinary life can sometimes be so special! I won't easily pass up a chance to read more stories by Alice Munro.
Caroline
***NO SPOILERS***

(Book abandoned on page 133, after story 5.)

There's something to be said for a quiet story, the kind that unfolds languidly, that is open-ended. This is true of Munro's short stories. On the flip side, this kind of story can lack dramatic punch, fail to elicit any strong emotion in the reader, and seem pointless. This also is true of Munro's stories. Each of Dear Life's roughly 20- to 25-page-long stories centers around a female protagonist who experiences a sudden revelatory mo
...more
Huy
Oct 29, 2015 Huy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobel, short-stories
Cuộc đời liệu có quả thực yêu dấu?
Trong cuốn sách cuối cùng trong sự nghiệp viết lách của mình, ở 4 chương cuối cùng, Munro tiết lộ những chi tiết nhỏ về cuộc đời của bà, và bà kết thúc cuốn sách về việc con người ta phạm những sai lầm, và lại lặp lại nó.
Những câu chuyện trong cuốn sách tràn ngập nỗi buồn và sự cay đắng, mỗi lần đọc xong một truyện ngắn, tôi lại thấy đau nhói.
Cách viết của Munro vẫn luôn trong trẻo, đằm thắm, tự nhiên, không có chút nào màu mè, giả tạo hay cố gắng. Bà viết về nh
...more
Jonathan Peto
Warning: Depressing but true to life, which is even more depressing. Do not read this if you are having any doubts about staying in this world. On another note, these stories may remind you why you left small towns for the big city. They include beautiful landscapes peopled with cruelty and indifference. The few times characters venture into cities the beautiful landscapes fall away but the bleakness remains.

One characteristic of this collection that I really enjoyed was how elements of the stor
...more
Abubakar
Jul 27, 2015 Abubakar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one wonderful book. Being my first experience of Munro, I found my self entirely engrossed by the very first page. Alice Munro is not pretentious, She weaves the most complex of stories and abstract emotions with simplest of words, just like that. Like its nothing. With a rare clarity of vision and magical storytelling, Munro takes us to the very depths of our minds. How can a writer say so much with so few words?

Without being overtly philosophical I must say that Munro knows the crisis
...more
Mike
Dec 07, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't the type of book I would normally be compelled to read. If you're not familiar with Alice Munro's work (as I wasn't) the official blurb doesn't really give much of an idea as to what it's about. There's a reason for that, the short stories contained within Dear Life are hard to describe in any significant way even after you've read them.

The stories are steeped in melancholy and the quiet frustrations of ordinary existence. Not necessarily sad stories so much as stories that aren't al
...more
Elaine
Mar 17, 2013 Elaine rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Many years ago, when I was in college, Alice Munro came to campus to do what was called a Master's Tea, a talk to a very small audience with an opportunity for conversation and questions after. I was in a phase where I was going to a lot of talks, and even though I hadn't read a word she'd written, I signed up. I was somewhat disappointed when she proceeded to read a short story (no memories of which one), and then talk gently and encouragingly about the craft of writing short fiction. I was at ...more
Teresa
Mar 09, 2013 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can give this collection all the accolades I’ve given to the other collections I’ve read by Munro. As I said of The View from Castle Rock: Many of the stories are as good as anything I've read by her, though some of the ones here are even better. As I said of Too Much Happiness: ... some of these I'd read before and it was a pleasure to read them again ... This pleasure ... comes not from her characters or her plots ...but from the themes ..., some of which need to be teased out. And as I said ...more
Mitch Duckworth
Apr 07, 2013 Mitch Duckworth rated it it was amazing
By way of disclosure, I am a devoted fan of Alice Munro . . . My critical thinking is dubious at best when attempting analysis of her work, nearly half of the fourteen stories in Dear Life are minor masterpieces, and of those, perhaps half—conservatively, three or four stories—may rival the best work she’s ever done. Not excelling in the fine art of literary criticism, I cannot even pretend to know. The only thing of importance to me is how I feel when I turn the last page. It’s something like s ...more
Elham
Whenever you don't like a especial book or you don't like a especial author it's very easy to say or write down your reasons. But when you love something - when you love a book wholeheartedly- it's really difficult to express your feelings in words.

When I finished Dear Life, I hugged the book, kissed the cover and then put it back on the shelf.
Thomas
I apologize for all the lukewarm 3-star reviews as of late. I really wanted Dear Life to lift me away from my GRE studying, average-book reading induced haze. However, this collection of stories did not possess the same precision or mastery of language I have come to expect of Alice Munro.

Every piece felt like it came so close: so close to a character reaching a special point of development, so close to a story coming to a satisfying conclusion, or so close to some type of phrase or paragraph th
...more
Hanne
There are a lot of good things coming from Alice Munro winning the Nobel Price this year. First of all, she deserves it like there is no tomorrow. Secondly, more people than ever before are reading, or having a first taste, of short fiction. But also, it made ‘Dear Life’ the moderator pick in one of the book groups I participate in and we’ve had some brilliant discussions about every one of these stories, making the whole experience even better.

This collection features some fabulous stories, and
...more
Jill
Mar 24, 2015 Jill rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
Every time I think that Alice Munro simply can’t get any better, her next short story collection comes out and she astounds me all over again.

This is a writer who possesses “the gift”…the gift to make each of her characters pulsate with life. There are only two kinds of short stories here: the extremely good ones and the excellent ones.

Most of these are set in Munro’s native home in Ontario and are filled with perceptive young women who are at the cusp of a life’s transition. One of the best, fo
...more
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Alice Ann Munro, née Laidlaw, is a Canadian short-story writer who is widely considered one of the world's premier fiction writers. Munro is a three-time winner of Canada's Governor General's Award for fiction. Her stories focus on human relationships looked at through the lens of daily life. She has thus been referred to as "the Canadian Chekhov."

She is the winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Liter
...more
More about Alice Munro...

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“The thing is to be happy,' he said. 'No matter what. Just try that. You can. It gets to be easier and easier. It's nothing to do with circumstances. You wouldn't believe how good it is. Accept everything and then tragedy disappears. Or tragedy lightens, anyway, you're just there, going along easy in the world.” 86 likes
“She would live now, not read.” 49 likes
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