In 1985, Sharon Butala’s first collection of short stories, Queen of the Headaches, was nominated for a Governor General’s Award. Her second, Fever, won the 1992 Authors Award for Paperback Fiction and was nominated for a Commonwealth Award. The publication of Real Life, her newest collection, once again shows she is a master of the genre.
Real Life contains ten perfectly formed stories, singular moments of emotional intensity about the inner lives we all share. In “Light,” a woman whose sister is dying an agonizing death from cancer finds a compelling attraction to the stories of Holocaust survivors.In “Real Life,” Raine, a middle-aged divorced woman, runs into her former husband—and the still-sharp pain of an affair that changed the course of their lives. “Keeping House” tells of a daughter’s impending divorce, forcing her mother to re-examine her own abusive first marriage. Each story presents the moments of “real life” that all of us experience, stripping away defenses to reveal truths of pain, joy, anger, fear, or hope.