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.