Monday, May 13, 2013

My review of Alice Munro's Dear Life ...

 ... has been published in the new issue of Canadian Notes & Queries (CNQ), which arrived in the mailbox today. Munro's Dear Life was, if I were perfectly honest, one of the tougher reviews I've had to write. I read the collection back in October when it was first published, and I found myself reading other reviewers who really loved the book. I did not, I found it exceedingly difficult to say so--especially with Munro's reputation being as weighty as it is. Anyway, I managed to get through my piece and am actually kind of proud of the result. I was also relieved that, after I had submitted it, the New York Times also ran a fairly tough review of the book. Glad I'm not alone in my negative assessment. Did anyone else out there think this was a weak outing by Munro?

There looks to be a ton of other great stuff in CNQ, as always. The issue's theme is music and there are features on such luminaries as Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. Anyway, you should check it out. On sale wherever intelligent Canadian magazines are still sold.



  1. Mark, hi.

    The new _London Review of Books_ has a negative review of Munro, and also of _Dear Life_. Myself, I never got behind her work - dreary plots in the same old place with the same controlling prose, and nothing new in her work since the 1980s, when I started reading her in magazines.

    But that's just a matter of taste, when you get down to it. Her reputation is weighty only if an individual thinks it is.

  2. Thanks Jeff. I like a lot of Munro myself, and thought recent collections Runaway and Too Much Happiness were both quite strong. But Dear Life was a definite misfire. Just my opinion, of course.