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Dear Life [Anglais] [Broché]

Alice Munro
3.8 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)
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Description de l'ouvrage

3 octobre 2013

**Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature**

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.

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Descriptions du produit


Chapter 1

To Reach Japan

Once Peter had brought her suitcase on board the train he seemed eager to get himself out of the way. But not to leave. He explained to her that he was just uneasy that the train should start to move. Out on the platform looking up at their window, he stood waving. Smiling, waving. The smile for Katy was wide open, sunny, without a doubt in the world, as if he believed that she would continue to be a marvel to him, and he to her, forever. The smile for his wife seemed hopeful and trusting, with some sort of determination about it. Something that could not easily be put into words and indeed might never be. If Greta had mentioned such a thing he would have said, Don’t be ridiculous. And she would have agreed with him, thinking that it was unnatural for people who saw each other daily, constantly, to have to go through explanations of any kind.

   When Peter was a baby, his mother had carried him across some mountains whose name Greta kept forgetting, in order to get out of Soviet Czechoslovakia into Western Europe. There were other people of course. Peter’s father had intended to be with them but he had been sent to a sanatorium just before the date for the secret departure. He was to follow them when he could, but he died instead.

   “I’ve read stories like that,” Greta said, when Peter first told her about this. She explained how in the stories the baby would start to cry and invariably had to be smothered or strangled so that the noise did not endanger the whole illegal party.

   Peter said he had never heard such a story and would not say what his mother would have done in such circumstances.

   What she did do was get to British Columbia where she improved her ­En­glish and got a job teaching what was then called Business Practice to high school students. She brought up Peter on her own and sent him to college, and now he was an engineer. When she came to their apartment, and later to their house, she always sat in the front room, never coming into the kitchen unless Greta invited her. That was her way. She carried not noticing to an extreme. Not noticing, not intruding, not suggesting, though in every single household skill or art she left her ­daughter-­in-­law far behind.

   Also, she got rid of the apartment where Peter had been brought up and moved into a smaller one with no bedroom, just room for a foldout couch. So Peter can’t go home to Mother? Greta teased her, but she seemed startled. Jokes pained her. Maybe it was a problem of language. But ­En­glish was her usual language now and indeed the only language Peter knew. He had learned Business ­Practice—­though not from his ­mother—­when Greta was learning Paradise Lost. She avoided anything useful like the plague. It seemed he did the opposite.

   With the glass between them, and Katy never allowing the waving to slow down, they indulged in looks of comic or indeed insane goodwill. She thought how ­nice-­looking he was, and how he seemed to be so unaware of it. He wore a brush cut, in the style of the ­time—­particularly if you were anything like an ­engineer—­and his ­light-­colored skin was never flushed like hers, never blotchy from the sun, but evenly tanned whatever the season.

   His opinions were something like his complexion. When they went to see a movie, he never wanted to talk about it afterwards. He would say that it was good, or pretty good, or okay. He ­didn’t see the point in going further. He watched television, he read a book in somewhat the same way. He had patience with such things. The people who put them together were probably doing the best they could. Greta used to argue, rashly asking whether he would say the same thing about a bridge. The people who did it did their best but their best was not good enough so it fell down.

   Instead of arguing, he just laughed.

   It was not the same thing, he said.



   Greta should have realized that this ­attitude—­hands off, ­tolerant—­was a blessing for her, because she was a poet, and there were things in her poems that were in no way cheerful or easy to explain.

   (Peter’s mother and the people he worked ­with—­those who knew about ­it—­still said poetess. She had trained him not to. Otherwise, no training necessary. The relatives she had left behind in her life, and the people she knew now in her role as a housewife and mother, did not have to be trained because they knew nothing about this peculiarity.)

   It would become hard to explain, later on in her life, just what was okay in that time and what was not. You might say, well, feminism was not. But then you would have to explain that feminism was not even a word people used. Then you would get all tied up saying that having any serious idea, let alone ambition, or maybe even reading a real book, could be seen as suspect, having something to do with your child’s getting pneumonia, and a political remark at an office party might have cost your husband his promotion. It would not have mattered which political party either. It was a woman’s shooting off her mouth that did it.

   People would laugh and say, Oh surely you are joking and you would have to say, Well, but not that much. Then she would say, one thing, though, was that if you were writing poetry it was somewhat safer to be a woman than a man. That was where the word poetess came in handy, like a web of spun sugar. Peter would not have felt that way, she said, but remember he had been born in Europe. He would have understood, though, how the men he worked with were supposed to feel about such things.

   That summer Peter was going to spend a month or maybe longer in charge of a job that was being done at Lund, far up, in fact as far as you could go north, on the mainland. There was no accommodation for Katy and Greta.

   But Greta had kept in touch with a girl she used to work with in the Vancouver library, who was married now and living in Toronto. She and her husband were going to spend a month in Europe that ­summer—­he was a ­teacher—­and she had written Greta wondering if Greta and her family would do them a ­favor—­she was very ­polite—­by occupying the house in Toronto for part of that time, not letting it stand empty. And Greta had written back telling her about Peter’s job but taking up the offer for Katy and herself.

   That was why they were now waving and waving from the platform and from the train.

   There was a magazine then, called The Echo Answers, published irregularly in Toronto. Greta had found it in the library and sent them some poems. Two of the poems had been published, and the result was that when the editor of the magazine came to Vancouver, last fall, she had been invited to a party, with other writers, to meet him. The party was at the house of a writer whose name had been familiar to her, it seemed, for her whole life. It was held in the late afternoon, when Peter was still at work, so she hired a sitter and set off on the North Vancouver bus across ­Lions Gate Bridge and through Stanley Park. Then she had to wait in front of the Hudson’s Bay for a long ride out to the university campus, which was where the writer lived. Let off at the bus’s last turning, she found the street and walked along peering at house numbers. She was wearing high heels which slowed her down considerably. Also her most sophisticated black dress, zipped up at the back and skimming the waist and always a little too tight at the hips. It made her look somewhat ridiculous, she thought, as she stumbled slightly, along the curving streets with no sidewalks, the only person about in the waning afternoon. Modern houses, picture windows, as in any ­up-­and-­coming suburb, not at all the kind of neighborhood she had expected. She was beginning to wonder if she had got the street wrong, and was not unhappy to think that. She could go back to the bus stop where there was a bench. She could slip off her shoes and settle down for the long solitary ride home.

   But when she saw the cars parked, saw the number, it was too late to turn around. Noise seeped out around the closed door and she had to ring the bell twice.

   She was greeted by a woman who seemed to have been expecting somebody else. Greeted was the wrong ­word—­the woman opened the door and Greta said that this must be where they were having the party.

   “What does it look like?” the woman said, and leaned on the doorframe. The way was barred till she—Greta—said, “May I come in?” and then there was a movement that seemed to cause considerable pain. She ­didn’t ask Greta to follow her but Greta did anyway.

   Nobody spoke to her or noticed her but in a short time a teenage girl thrust out a tray on which there were glasses of what looked like pink lemonade. Greta took one, and drank it down at a thirsty gulp, then took another. She thanked the girl, and tried to start a conversation about the long hot walk, but the girl was not interested and turned away, doing her job.

   Greta moved on. She kept smiling. Nobody looked at her with any recognition or pleasure and why should they? People’s eyes slid round her and then they went on with their conversations. They laughed. Everybody but Greta was equipped with friends, jokes, ­half-­secrets, everybody appeared to have found somebody to welcome them. Except for the t... --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Revue de presse

"Alice Munro.can create a whole world in a short story - these stories are only 20 or 30 pages long, but they live in the mind like novels. These are stories about the stories we tell ourselves, and they are first rate" (Evening Standard)

"A quiet revelation... Dear Life is full of remarkable moments in ordinary lives and is imbued with an aching sadness" (Laurie Sansom Herald)

"In this superb collection of short stories, the acclaimed Canadian writer shows repeatedly how apparently ordinary lives can be infused with dramatic intensity" (Mail on Sunday)

"A collection of truly beautiful short stories, perfectly crafted in a way that leaves no wanting feeling. Profound, poignant and undeniably powerful, this truly is the short story at its finest" (The Bookbag)

"A writer who has refined her remarkable talents over a long lifetime, a writer whose mastery of the craft has reached a level that her nickname, "Canada's Chekhov" feels emptied of all hyperbole. Beautifully written and ambitious in terms of form" (Billy O'Callaghan Irish Examiner)

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 336 pages
  • Editeur : Vintage (3 octobre 2013)
  • Langue : Inconnu
  • ISBN-10: 0099578638
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099578635
  • Dimensions du produit: 19,6 x 13 x 2,4 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 3.8 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 11.921 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Commentaires en ligne 

3.8 étoiles sur 5
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Plaisir de lire en anglais (Canada) 21 novembre 2013
Format:Broché|Achat authentifié par Amazon
J'ai eu le plaisir de lire en anglais le recueil de nouvelles d'Alice Munro "Dear Life". La langue est assez classique et donc accessible à un non spécialiste de l'anglais. J'ai vraiment découvert l'auteur, ce que les traductions de ses ouvrages antérieurs ne m'avait pas permis de faire. J'ai aussi découvert au plus près l'univers de cet auteur où, au delà de la narration, la symbolique joue un grand rôle. J'ai aimé l'atmosphère des nouvelles, presque tragique parfois et drôle ne même temps. Les personnages sont attachants, en relation avec la narration à la première personne.
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3.0 étoiles sur 5 super par moments 9 mars 2014
Format:Poche|Achat authentifié par Amazon
à relire plusieurs fois pour tout capter, le monde des gens (très) âgés, peut être situé que à canada, un beau anglais
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2.0 étoiles sur 5 très décevant 10 février 2014
Par Mathilde
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Un des plus mauvais recueils de cet auteur que pourtant j'adore. Ici, tout est lourd et décevant au lieu d'être intelligent et percutant.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Munro at het best 17 janvier 2014
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Great collection of short stories, next to Runaway the best collection I've read. The autobiographical non-fiction (3 storeis at the end) I found less engaging, as always, fiction is better than life.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.0 étoiles sur 5  457 commentaires
100 internautes sur 109 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 As fresh and illuminating as any of Munro's previous collections; everything you want it to be and more 19 novembre 2012
Par Bookreporter - Publié sur
What can be said about Alice Munro's luminous writing that hasn't already been said? What unused plump adjectives might be bandied about to describe her way with words? What turn of phrase or simile might once again skirt the edge of capturing her unparalleled ability to so aptly describe those quiet moments in life that can change everything in a flash? Crossroads, they are called. A lightning bug trapped inside a jar, now free. Her latest collection, DEAR LIFE, is all of those flashy adjectives and overextended metaphors. It's everything you want it to be, and more.

Munro has written 12 other short story collections as well as a few volumes of selected previously published stories and one novel. You'd think with this many published stories in her back pocket that maybe she'd retrace her steps, write the same story but with different characters, rely on a well-tread formula or two for some of the "filler" in the book. But such is not the case. While many reoccurring themes are explored, DEAR LIFE is as fresh and illuminating as any of her previous collections, if not more so. As another reviewer so fittingly put it, "there are no clunkers here."

"To Reach Japan," the first entry in the collection, finds Greta and her young daughter Katy on a train to Toronto to housesit a friend's home for a month while Greta's husband --- and Katy's father --- begins a new job elsewhere. While on the journey, the normally quiet and contained Greta gets too deep in the drink with a younger fellow they meet on the train and, in a moment of lusty abandon, loses track of Katy. Of course, mother and daughter are reunited, but not without Greta feeling the full weight of what might have happened. Still, it doesn't stop her from kissing back when a newspaper columnist she met at a party a few months earlier greets her on the platform in Toronto. As the pins line up, there's plenty to noodle over in this brief glimpse into the life of a subconsciously unhinged mother possibly unhappy in her marriage, definitely looking for a change.

In "Leaving Maverley," Morgan, a half-curmudgeonly small town movie theater projectionist, and his doting wife take a wayward girl named Leah under their wing who, not long after, runs off with the minister's son. As is often the case in Munro's stories, time isn't kind to any of the three, doling out tragedy in droves. Leah's marriage fails, causing her to lose her children. But it's Morgan's loss of his wife (to cancer) that stings the most. "But the emptiness in place of her was astounding.... What he carried with him, all he carried with him, was a lack, something like a lack of air, of proper behavior in his lungs, a difficulty that he supposed would go on forever."

Tackling loss --- and blame --- from a different angle, "Gravel" is the story of two sisters who live in a ramshackle trailer by a water-filled quarry after their mother left their sturdy, boring father for a younger, wilder man. When one sister drowns in the gravel pit on the other's watch, there's no question who is to blame. Their mother, a little too wild? The boyfriend, too stoned to jump in and save her? Or the narrator who stood by, watching her sister drown? As you might expect, it's the dead sister's voice that calls out the strongest here: "Caro keeps running at the water and throwing herself in, as if in triumph, and I'm still caught, waiting for her to explain to me, waiting for the splash."

Death. Love. Loss. Guilt. Shame. Lust. Loneliness. It's all poured over the coals in the stories throughout DEAR LIFE. But here's the kicker. There's an unprecedented finale tacked on at the book's end. Here, 81-year-old Munro writes, "The final four works in this book are not quite stories. They form a separate unit, one that is autobiographical in feeling, though not, sometimes, entirely so in fact. I believe they are the first and last --- and the closest --- things I have to say about my own life." [!!!] While these selections show none of the careful kneading and precise crafting so present in her fiction, it's perhaps just that raw, messy stream-of-consciousness that makes them so interesting to read.

** As a reviewer's side note, here's a tip: If you have access to the Winter 2012 issue of Granta, pick it up. Why? Aside from the fact that it's a well-curated journal that highlights the latest and greatest stories from Literary Greats such as Munro, this particular issue includes a story entitled "In Sight of the Lake" that is also included in DEAR LIFE. Here, an aging woman who seems to be losing her memory embarks on a drive in search of an "Elderly Specialist." As one might expect, she loses her way and has difficulty finding the doctor's office. I won't spoil the ending, but suffice it to say, the ending in DEAR LIFE and the ending in Granta *aren't the same!* I'm not sure I've ever had the pleasure of being treated to two slightly dissimilar endings that resonate very differently on the palate. It's an exercise that not only shows readers the myriad paths a story could follow, but also Munro's writing process as well.

Reviewed by Alexis Burling
49 internautes sur 55 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Simple Tales of Everyday Life 17 novembre 2012
Par D_shrink - Publié sur
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A series of simple tales of everyday life with no great drama foretold, but which still draw you into their captivating storyline.

Although each story seems to be plausible, the endings are left open for each person to ascribe as they see fit. In other words there is a great deal of ambiguity to how each of the characters' lives eventually end up.

The author uses the train as a mode of transportation to set the background scene for most of the stories as a unifying theme plus a certain amount of despair and hopelessness in almost every case. Each story has some amount of psychological, spiritual, and sexual nature to it without the use of a lot of 4-lettered words to describe the action.

Each short story is poignantly told with a certain amount of hopelessness in the manner of predestination reminiscent of some European writers as Jean Paul Sartre. Yet in Ms Munro's stories the reader can supply the ending they choose, as nothing is written in stone except for the helplessness of the main characters to change a predestined plan of some existential force.

With the aforementioned precautions noted, I would recommend this fine work of short stories with easily understandable language. Just remember this is not a feel good series of stories although entertaining and evocative of many aspects of human nature.
41 internautes sur 46 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Interesting Collection With Added Autobiographical Material 15 novembre 2012
Par Bonnie Brody - Publié sur
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Fans of Alice Munro will be very happy with her new collection of short stories. Those that are new to her writing would be better served by starting out with one of her earlier books as these stories are not all that typical of her writing and there is an autobiographical section in the back of the book.

Ms. Munro has published twelve collections of short stories and one novel. She is a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Booker Award and the Lannan Literary Award. Her books have been translated into thirteen languages.

In the autobiographical section, there are tender remembrances of her past and her time with her familiy. 'Dear Life', the title story, is about her growing up. Her father started a business raising foxes and minks for their pelts. Eventually the business failed and her father went to work in a forgery. Her mother developed Parkinson's Disease when she was in her forties. The family did not realize that it was progressive and incurable. In 'The Eye', she writes about Sadie who helps out in their house. Alice and she develop a close bond. Sadie gets run over by a car on the way back from a dance when she is not yet twenty years old. This story explores the quality of their relationship.

One of the more powerful stories in the collection is 'Amundsen'. A teacher in a rural sanitarium for children with tuberculosis becomes engaged to a doctor who works there. Things don't progress as she hoped they would. 'Leaving Maverly' was my favorite story. Each night, a police officer drives a young woman of a very fundamentalist religious denomination home. One night she skips town. His own wife is very ill with serious heart disease and he ends up taking her to Toronto for care. The story is about hope turning to loss with no way of finding your way back. 'In Sight of The Lake' is about a woman looking for a doctor because of her memory loss. She finds that the world is a different place than she thought it was.

Late in the book, Ms. Munro states that "We say of some things that they can't be forgiven, or that we will never forgive ourselves. But we do - we do it all the time". This is a recurrent theme in her stories. We do things we hate, we end up hating ourselves but there is forgiveness eventually.

Most of the stories take place in rural areas of Canada and many of the them occur in earlier times. Few are contemporary. This is likely because Ms. Munro herself grew up in an earlier age than now.

She is the grande dame of short story writing and there is no one who can write a story as she can. We read, we get pulled in, and then we end up wondering, even at the end, what will happen next.
50 internautes sur 64 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Classic Munro but . . . 25 décembre 2012
Par Miriam Kalman Friedman - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat authentifié par Amazon
Uneven. Some stories are spellbinding, others just miss. I used to teach her short stories in a sophomore English at a CC and loved them. So when I read, I'm thinking: how would I teach this one or that one? So far, I'd be inclined perhaps to teach "Dolly," maybe or "In Sight of the Lake." As a whole, I like the stories but not as much as I expected to. I've always enjoyed Munro's quirky characters and we do get those. And the mundane writ large, and we get that. Still, some just fell flat for me--had I overblown my expectations? Or am I on the money for most readers?
15 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 "People have thoughts they'd sooner not have. It happens in life." 14 novembre 2012
Par Amelia Gremelspacher - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat authentifié par Amazon
This quote is from my favorite part of the book, the last four stories that Munor refers to as the closest to an autobiography she intends to write. In them she recounts a life with a humor and a depth of thought that reveal the thoughtfullness of her view of other people. The quote above is her father's response to her revelation to him that she had had late night insomnia in fear of an impulse she had had that she might strangle her sister. Munro was young, and clearly in no danger of homicide, but his considered answer is endearing and powerful and served to calm her.
I think Munro takes this view with her characters, along with her closing remark that we often say we will never forgive ourselves, but we do. In her stories, she chooses cameos of a life to examine in spare but rich language that allow us easily to picture both the narrator and the subject. So often love or connection comes so close, only to falter in a minute. The sudden veerings from the lives of relationships are fairly harrowing to me however.
Best I like the stolen glances at the heart of a conversation or look. In her autobiographical "night", she talks about the sight of a young girl sitting on a stair bemoaning the unfairness of an occurrence at a dance. It develops that she was a young prostitute made not welcome, but the salient feature to Munro was the crooning of the young soldiers that all would be well. One can summon the deep longing of a young girl to be the subject of that consolation. These glimpses are the things that make me hold this group of stories in high regard.
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