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Hanne, reading on Cloud 9

Avid book reader. Lover of fantasy, contemporary fiction, short stories and non-fiction. This blog is a work in progress - and it will likely always be that way.

Review: Dear Life

Dear Life: Stories - Alice Munro

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 I have some clear favourites this time: The image of the child sitting on the metal sheets between two train cars in ’To Reach Japan’ is stuck in my brain. In ‘Gravel’, grief and unanswered questions are a big theme when we find an adult looking back at a pivotal moment in her childhood when her sister decided to take a little swim ‘rescuing’ the dog. In the title story, ’Dear Life’, a mother is grabbing her daughter for dear life.

Choices and their consequences, and complicated relationships always have a big place in Munro’s stories. And that’s not different in this collection. In both ‘Train’ and ‘Pride’ we get to see some partnerships that last for years but officially do not have that name and are not being acknowledged as such by the people involved. It’s more a symbiosis between two people, one that formed quite naturally and only gets ruined if we, or they, try to classify it.

Even though this is not my favourite collection of hers (I still think more highly of ‘Too Much Happiness’ and ‘The Moons of Jupiter’) it is still a damn good collection. And I’m glad it is featured in all the book stores right now.

So, congrats again to Alice Munro. I gladly raise my glass to that.