Readersforum's Blog

November 18, 2012

The Sense of an Ending

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 9:39 am

‘Dear Life,’ Stories by Alice Munro

By CHARLES McGRATH

That Alice Munro, now 81, is one of the great short story writers not just of our time but of any time ought to go without saying by now. This new volume — her 14th, not counting a collection of selected stories that came out in 1996 — is further proof of her mastery, and also a reminder that unlike a lot of accomplished short story writers — unlike William Trevor, say, her only living rival — Munro did not hit a characteristic note early on and then stick with it. Over the years her work has deepened and enlarged. At the end of “Dear Life” is a suite of four stories that Munro says are “autobiographical in feeling, though not, sometimes, entirely so in fact,” and she adds: “I believe they are the first and last — and the closest — things I have to say about my own life.” They seem to me as good as anything she has ever done, but also to strike out in the direction of a new, late style — one that is not so much a departure as a compressing or summing up of her whole career.

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