By Alice Munro
Alfred A. Knopf, $26.95, 319 pages
Dear Life, the new compilation of short stories is my first foray into the world of Alice Murno. Each story stands on its own, with Murno’s word choice and how she sets up the scene for the reader, however the common theme is life and how a chance encounter can have either successful or disastrous consequences for those involved in the story. Murno, who is Canadian, and returns to her old stomping grounds of home uses her hometown as a character that is able to stand on its own feet. While reading the stories, it was hard for me to know if it was a male’s or female’s point of view, but in the end it doesn’t really matter. I was able to understand where Murno is coming from. Also, as I previously mentioned this is my first attempt at Murno, and I did overall enjoy my time with her, but reader, be prepared for some heavy topics, i.e., death, love, loss, and so forth. This book isn’t without a personal note from Murno. She is a private person and rarely lets the reader into her personal life but the ending will give you a glimpse into just that life. You get to see where she gets her start not only has a writer, but as a person.
This isn’t a lighthearted book by any means, but it’s a great first look in the mind of Alice Murno. I would definitely recommend this book to you, especially if you want to be challenged as not only a reader, but as a human.
Reviewed by Annie Hicks