‘Dear Life’ by Alice Munro

The final and titular story of Munro’s 2012 collection involves a woman and her mother in Southern Ontario, Munro’s home territory. Munro is known for dealing with the layers that make up the ordinary and this story works with threads of memory to show how perception changes over time. It opens “I lived when I was young at the end of a long road. Or a road that seemed long to me.” Munro said that the final four stories in the collection are “autobiographical in feeling, though not, sometimes, entirely so in fact”. Certainly, this story establishes the reflective voice of the author/narrator in tension with her mother who imparts her impressions of the people around them. As readers we have to make our own judgements.

First published in The New Yorker, September 2011, and available to subscribers to read here. Collected in Dear Life, Chatto and Windus, 2012

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