Dear Life

alicemunroNormally I’m not such a fan of short stories.  However, I’ve been wanting to read some Alice Munro for a very long time, so I gave Dear Life a try.

Evidently the key to liking short stories is to read the very best artist in the genre.  While I didn’t love all the stories in the collection, the best of them had the feel of a glimpse into a truly great novel.  The characters stayed with me and I wanted the story to go on and on.

Which raises a point.  In many novels I find the author never manages to flesh out their characters beyond the superficial, despite the book going on for 250+ pages.  How does Munro create such full characters in 20+ pages?  The same goes for plot.  I’ve read some books recently where at the end of the book I still wasn’t clear what the story was, yet the plots of Munro’s stories are rich and full.  If she can fit that much in 20+ pages, what are the rest of the authors doing with their time?

Of course, I likes some of the stories better than others, but as a whole this is a stunning piece of literature.  I’m proud as a Canadian that she’s one of our national treasures.

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