Alice Munro captures the essence of life in her brilliant new collection of stories. Moments of change, chance encounters, the twist of fate that leads a person to a new way of thinking or being: the stories in "Dear Life" build to form a radiant, indelible portrait of just how dangerous and strange ordinary life can be. Many of these stories are grounded in Munro's home territory - the small Canadian towns around Lake Huron - but there are departures too. A poet, finding herself in alien territory at her first literary party, is reescued by a seasoned newspaper editor, and is soon hurtling across the continent, young child in tow, towards a hoped for but completely unplanned meeting. A young soldier, returning to his fiancee from the Second World War, steps off the train before his stop and onto the farm of another woman, beginning a life on the move. The book ends with four powerful pieces, 'autobiographical in feeling', set during the time of Munro's own childhood, in the area where she grew up. Munro describes this quartet as 'not quite stories' but 'the first and last - and the closest - things I have to say about my own life'. Suffused with Munro's clarity of vision and her unparalleled gift for storytelling, these and the other stories in "Dear Life" are cause for celebration.