Dear Life
by Alice Munro (2012)
Knopf (2012)
319 pp

Alice Munro’s new collection of short stories, Dear Life, is out today. I don’t know how many more Munro short stories we’re going to get since she is 81 and has threatened retirement before (thankfully, she didn’t carry through). Munro is my favorite living author. Her stories are both bitter and compassionate. Though on the surface they may seem traditional as they dwell on the seemingly simple but ultimately terrifying ordinary moments in life, they are structurally, syntactically, and thematically ambitious. They don’t leave me, so this release is a big deal.

Rather than post a review of the collection as a whole, I’d like to make this post a kind of anchor index. Several of the stories were published in The New Yorker over the last couple of years, so I already have reviews of them complete with a string of rich comments from others. Here I’m going to link to those reviews and then review each remaining story in Dear Life on its own over the next little while. As I post reviews, I will update the links below. In the end, below I will post some final thoughts on the collection as a whole.

For some reason “Axis,” one of my favorites of the last few years and which was just included in the Best American Short Stories: 2012, is not in this collection. Click here for my thoughts on “Axis.”

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By |2017-08-04T17:06:32-04:00November 13th, 2012|Categories: Alice Munro, Book Reviews|Tags: , , |7 Comments


  1. sigrun November 13, 2012 at 4:32 am

    Isn’t it just incredible, being abel to write like this at the age of 80?! I find it very-very uplifting!

  2. Trevor November 13, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    I find it very-very uplifting!

    Me too, sigrun, me too.

  3. Whispering Gums November 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    I love this idea … I often review individual short stories but haven’t done a whole collection this way. I think I might copy you! If one doesn’t quite review them all, it doesn’t really matter. (BTW I do like Munro too).

  4. Trevor November 15, 2012 at 12:41 am

    I think I’m going to do this more often. I read many short stories and by the time I’ve finished a collection I don’t remember the first stories well. Plus, this hopefully will give the form and its practitioners a bit more focus, as is deserved.

  5. […] in November, Trevor at Mookse and the Gripes, decided that rather than write a single review of Alice Munro’s latest collection of short […]

  6. Whispering Gums January 13, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    I have linked back to you crediting you with this approach – though I did start doing it in December!

  7. Trevor January 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm


    I think it is a great approach for some collections, like this one.

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