Alice Munro, Dear Life (McClelland & Stewart Doubleday Canada, 2012)

Dear LifeI think that Munro is, quite simply, the best writer that Canada has yet produced.  Her prose is tight but fluid, and her characters rich and complex within the narrative discipline required of the short story form.  Despite the extraordinary resilience of her mostly female protagonists, there is always something brittle and fragile on the surface of the stories.  Munro captures the coldness of Canadian landscapes and the insularity of life on the edges of cities with a mixture of love and hard realism.  In an exciting departure, the last four stories are autobiographical.  Munro says that they are the “first and last – and the closest – things I have to say about my own life.”  I was entranced to read autobiography that is so artful and yet revealing.