Alice Munro’s short story collection Dear Life in some ways is a departure from the writing
staples that she has come to be known for. While her work is often known for its grand
description of the Canadian landscape, characterized by making even small stories feel big, these stories get into their characters’ lives in a way that feels more intimate. The frequent subversion of chronology in the stories and use of the characters’ often-incomplete memories, can make them a touch hard to follow if you aren’t really paying attention. So, they are not
well-suited to very casual reading. But it is clear that telling the stories in this way is not an arbitrary choice. Moving through the stories in this way does highlight the way that
consciousness can shift overtime, and how memory is altered by the characters’ perspectives.
The stories also do a good job depicting the feeling of place, as it is experienced by the
characters. One story outlines the feeling of isolation that the protagonist feels at a party,
where she is the only woman writer. It is done subtly, but the reader is able to deeply
empathize with the feeling of being outside the group. In all, these stories are captivating and
are definitely worth a read.