Book of the Month – Dear Life

Book of the Month – Dear Life

Literary Affairs is dedicating the first month of 2013 to the short story and featuring Canadian writer Alice Munro’s new collection Dear Life as our pick of the month. Once the most widely read genre of fiction, the short story has been experiencing a resurgence in interest, thanks in part to some of the brilliant and original collections that have come out in recent years.  As any fan knows, a good short story is like a dazzling gem, small and self-contained, yet containing a whole universe within.  Or, as the author Steven Milhauser put it, “by excluding almost everything, [the short story] can give perfect shape to what remains.”

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About the Book

The fourteen stories in Dear Life exemplify this quality perfectly.  One of our greatest living writers, Munro is at her best in these spare, deceptively straight-forward and yet mysterious stories set mostly in the 1940s and 50s in Munro’s home of western Ontario.  Though her writing style has the stripped-down care of a true master of her craft, these tales of the bitter disappointments and unexpected graces of everyday life truly express the collection’s title.  Reading these stories, one is indeed overwhelmed with the “dearness” of life in every sense of the word.

About the Author

Alice Ann Munro (née Laidlaw) is a Canadian short-story writer, the winner of the 2009 Man Booker International Prize for her lifetime body of work, a three-time winner of Canada’s Governor General’s Award for fiction, and a perennial contender for the Nobel Prize. The locus of Munro’s fiction is her native southwestern Ontario. Her stories explore human complexities in a seemingly effortless style

Beyond The Book

New York Times Review

The Boston Globe Review

The Guardian Review


If, after reading Dear Life you find yourself hungry for more great short stories, Literary Affairs recommends these 2012 releases:

Astray by Emma Donoghue

This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

The News from Spain: Seven Variations on a Love Story by Joan Wickersham

Blasphemy by Sherman Alexie

Object Lessons, The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story

Stay Awake by Dan Chaon

Shout Her Lovely Name by Natalie Serber

and, of course,

The Best American Short Stories 2012, edited by Tom Perrotta