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‘Dear Life’ by Alice Munro

Canadian-born Alice Munro, a world-class writer whose name comes up on lists of potential Nobel literature candidates, is writing at the peak of her powers in “Dear Life.” Her 14 stories are so fluid and close to the mystery of life that reading them is like being inside the mind of a writer as she creates, shaping language within her spacious imagination, suffusing words with empathy, darting in unexpected directions before she reveals a final mysterious truth.

Munro begins her stories in surprising places, usually in the midst of the action. It is a measure of the restless energy of these tales that several start on trains. “To Reach Japan,” the story of an interrupted love resumed almost by accident, begins as a husband puts his wife and preschool daughter on a train to Toronto, and ends when the two reach their destination with the bond between them transformed.

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