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"Charleen is a divorcee in her mid-thirties, eking out a living as a poet and part-time assistant for an obscure scientific journal. Although she is quick to count her blessings - a son whom she loves, a blossoming relationship with a man, and friends who care about her - Charleen wonders how her life turned out the way it did. Is she a failure? Or is she still struggling to escape the limited world of her childhood? Her search for answers is as exasperating as the meager paycheck she takes to the bank every week. But when she returns home to attend her mother's wedding, Charleen is caught up in a series of unexpected - and terrifying - events. And in coping with these big and small emergencies, she is forced to come to terms with the life she has led and the decisions she has made. "--BOOK JACKET. Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
The story of a woman dancing on the edge of a difficult lifeEver since her husband left her--seemingly vanishing into thin air--Charleen Forrest has supported herself and her fifteen-year-old son on what she earns as an obscure poet and part-time gofer for an even more obscure scientific journal. But when her estranged mother remarries, prompting an unplanned reunion, Charleen finds herself moving out of her familiar existence.A dazzling counterpoint to Shields's debut novel, Small Ceremonies, imbued with her scathing wit and dead-on observations, The Box Garden is an unforgettable portrait of a woman who finds transformation--and happiness--where she least expects it.
For the first time, all of Carol Shields's remarkable short stories are gathered together in one volume. This definitive anthology contains the previously unpublished story "Segue," her last work. In these stories Carol Shields combines the dazzling virtuosity and wise maturity that won so many readers to her prize-winning novels. With her exquisite eye for detail and her eagerness to explore the most fundamental of relationships and the wildest of coincidences, she illuminates the absurdities and miracles that grace all of our lives. Playful, charming, acutely observed, and generous of spirit, this collection of stories will delight and enchant readers the world over.
A bestselling collection of short stories from the author of The Stone Diaries (winner of the Pulitzer prize) and Larry's Party (winner of the Orange prize). All over town people are putting on their costumes; X slips into his wife's lace-trimmed night gown and waltzes around his bedroom; Tamara is no longer the dull clerk receptionist when she wears that yellow skirt, she evolves into a stunning creature exuding passion and vitality. In 'Weather' a couple's life is thrown into utter chaos when The National Association of Metereorologists go on strike - what will they wear? What will they eat? In 'Soup du Jour' a young boy contemplates life, the cracks in the pavement and his mother's soup-making. Each story encapsulates the human spirit, its diversities, complexities and absurdities. Shields observes with compassion the carnival that goes on in each of our lives and the realities that we create for ourselves. Carol Shields' second collection of short stories celebrates the extraordinary details that are found in ordinary, everyday lives.
The idea for Dropped Threads: What We Aren't Told came up between Carol Shields and longtime friend Marjorie Anderson over lunch. It appeared that after decades of feminism, the "women's network" still wasn't able to prevent women being caught off-guard by life. There remained subjects women just didn't talk about, or felt they couldn't talk about. Holes existed in the fabric of women's discourse, and they needed examining.They asked thirty-four women to write about moments in life that had taken them by surprise or experiences that received too little discussion, and then they compiled these pieces into a book. It became an instant number one bestseller, a book clubs' favourite and a runaway success. Dropped Threads, says Anderson, "tapped into a powerful need to share personal stories about life's defining moments of surprise and silence." Readers recognized themselves in these honest and intimate stories; there was something universal in these deeply personal accounts. Other stories and suggestions poured in. Dropped Threads would clearly be an ongoing project.Like the first volume, Dropped Threads 2 features stories by well-known novelists and journalists such as Jane Urquhart, Susan Swan and Shelagh Rogers, but also many excellent new writers including teachers, mothers, a civil servant, a therapist. This triumphant follow-up received a starred first review in Quill and Quire magazine, which called it "compassionate and unflinching." The book deals with such difficult topics as loss, depression, disease, widowhood, violence, and coming to terms with death. Several stories address some of the darker sides of motherhood:- A mother describes how, while sleep-deprived and in a miserable marriage, she is shocked to find infanticide crossing her mind.- Another woman recounts a memory of her alcoholic mother demanding the children prove their loyalty in a terrifying way.- A woman desperate for children refers to the bleak truth as: "Another Christmas of feeling barren." Narrating the fertility treatment she undergoes, the hopes dashed, she is amusing in retrospect and yet brutally honest.While they deal with loss and trauma, the pieces show the path to some kind of acceptance, showing the authors' determination to learn from pain and pass on the wisdom gained. The volume also covers the rewards of learning to be a parent, choosing to remain single, or fitting in as a lesbian parent. It explores how women feel when something is missing in a friendship, how they experience discrimination, relationship challenges, and other emotions less easily defined but just as close to the bone:- Alison Wearing in "My Life as a Shadow" subtly describes allowing her personality to be subsumed by her boyfriend's.- Pamela Mala Sinha tells how, after suffering a brutal attack, she felt self-hatred and a longing for retribution.- Dana McNairn talks of her uncomfortable marriage to a man from a different social background: "I wanted to fit in with this strange, wondrous family who never raised their voices, never swore and never threw things at one another."Humour, a confiding tone, and beautiful writing elevate and enliven even the darkest stories. Details bring scenes vividly to life, so we feel we are in the room with Barbara Defago when the doctor tells her she has breast cancer, coolly dividing her life into a 'before and after.' Lucid, reflective and poignant, Dropped Threads 2 is for anyone interested in women's true stories.
Two novels in one, Happenstance tells the story of a marriage from the individual perspectives of a husband and wife at a turning point in their relationshipWhen we meet Brenda Bowman in "The Wife's Story," the forty-year-old mother of two is preparing to fly to Philadelphia to attend a craft convention that will feature one of her quilts. She already has the flight memorized: leaving Chicago at 8:35, arriving at Philadelphia at 1:33. This will be her first trip solo, her first time away from her husband, Jack, in their decades-long marriage. She's nervous, excited . . . and tempted when she meets an intriguing stranger."The Husband's Story" introduces Jack Bowman, a historian who is left at home with his troubled son and overweight daughter while his wife, Brenda, attends a craft convention. Not used to coping on his own, he's suddenly confronted with domestic calamities, including the disintegration of his best friend's marriage. And when he learns that an old flame has published a book on the same topic that Jack has been laboring on for years, Jack's self-doubt reaches crisis proportions.Happenstance is an intimate portrait of a marriage in transition. "History," to Jack, is "not the story itself. It's the end of the story."
"In her fictional biography, The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields created an astonishing portrait of Daisy Goodwill Flett, a modern woman struggling to understand her place in her own life. With the same sensitivity and artfulness that are the trade-marks of her award-winning novels, Shields here explores the life of a writer whose own novels have engaged and delighted readers for the past two hundred years. " "In Jane Austen, Shields follows this superb and beloved novelist from her early family life in Steventon to her later years in Bath, her broken engagement, and her intense relationship with her sister Cassandra. She reveals both the very private woman and the acclaimed author behind the enduring classics Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma. With its fascinating insights into the writing process from an award-winning novelist, Carol Shields's magnificent biography of Jane Austen is also a compelling meditation on how great fiction is created. "--BOOK JACKET. Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Larry Weller, born in 1950, is an ordinary guy made extraordinary by his creator's perception, irony and tenderness. Carol Shields gives us, as it were, a CAT scan of his life, in episodes between 1977 and 1997 that flash back and forward seamlessly. As Larry journeys toward the millennium, adapting to society's changing expectations of men, Shields' elegant prose makes the trivial into the momentous. Among all the paradoxes and accidents of his existence, Larry moves through the spontaneity of the seventies, the blind enchantment of the eighties and the lean, mean nineties, completing at last his quiet, stubborn search of self. Larry's odyssey mirrors the male condition at the end of our century with targeted wit, unerring poignancy and faultless wisdom.
The San Diego Tribune called The Stone Diaries a "universal study of what makes women tick. " With Larry's Party Carol Shields has done the same for men. Larry Weller, born in 1950, is an ordinary guy made extraordinary by his creator's perception, irony, and tenderness. Larry's Party gives us, as it were, a CAT scan of his life, in episodes between 1977 and 1997, that seamlessly flash backward and forward. We follow this young floral designer through two marriages and divorces, and his interactions with his parents, friends, and a son. Throughout, we witness his deepening passion for garden mazes--so like life, with their teasing treachery and promise of reward. Among all the paradoxes and accidents of his existence, Larry moves through the spontaneity of the seventies, the blind enchantment of the eighties, and the lean, mean nineties, completing at last his quiet, stubborn search for self. Larry's odyssey mirrors the male condition at the end of our century with targeted wit, unerring poignancy, and faultless wisdom. .
Le Carnaval du quotidien, version française de Dressing up for the Carnival, est le troisième et dernier recueil de nouvelles de Carol Shields. Les nouvelles de Shields dévoilent le côté ludique et l'imagination féconde de cette grande dame de la littérature canadienne. Une grève de météorologistes provoque une suspension totale du climat (Acclimatement). Le gouvernement instaure une taxe sur les fenêtres qui incite la population à se replier dans la noirceur en recouvrant toutes les surfaces vitreuses des demeures (Fenêtres). Stop! aborde la réclusion d'une reine qui est allergique à tout, même à la marche du temps. Reportage porte sur la découverte d'un amphithéâtre romain au Manitoba qui transforme l'économie locale. On rencontre également Titus, un berger de l'Antiquité, qui invente la rêverie dans la nouvelle intitulée Invention. D'une nouvelle à l'autre, le lecteur est invité dans l'univers de Shields où la vie est synonyme de spectacle et le quotidien n'est ni banal ni ordinaire.
In the sequel to Roughing It in the Bush, Susanna Moodie portrays the relatively sophisticated society springing up in the clearings along Lake Ontario. During a trip from Belleville to Niagara Falls, Moodie acts as a meticulous observer of the social customs and practices of the times.Invaluable as social history and as a candid self-portrait, Life in the Clearings versus the Bush chronicles, with wit and wisdom, Canadian society in the mid-19th century.The NCL edition is an unabridged reprint of the complete original text.From the Paperback edition.
Winner of the Marian Engel Award: Passion, longing, regret, and transformation infuse these twelve tales by one of our most "shrewd and skillful" storytellers (Chicago Tribune)"Milk Bread Beer Ice" is a road trip shared by a husband and wife who no longer communicate through meaningful dialogue. Fifty-year-old "Hazel" is forced to enter an alien workplace after the sudden death of her husband. In "Today Is the Day," the village women gather together for their annual ritual of planting blisterlilies. And "Family Secrets" travels to DeKalb, Illinois, and the First World War, as the narrator searches for a missing year in her mother's life . . . and unearths a surprising connection to Ernest Hemingway.From a group of musicians who discover they share more than classical "Chemistry" to an unhappily married couple who may get a second chance, this remarkable collection, like the ageless orange fish of the title story, is filled with the wonder and magic of everyday life.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Stone Diaries gives us a love story for the ages: the tale of two polar opposites on a rocky road to romanceHe's a thrice-divorced late-night talk-show host. She's an unmarried folklorist obsessed with mermaids. He lives for the present. She lives in the past. Both are leery of commitment. Neither has ever known lasting love. But when Tom Avery and Fay McLeod meet, it's love--or at least lust--at first sight. And then fate starts to throw them curveballs.Shifting between Tom and Fay's stories--from their complicated histories through their present-day angst--The Republic of Love features delightful secondary characters in the lovers' friends and families, including Fay's seemingly happily married parents and her beloved godmother, Onion. As Tom and Fay forge bravely ahead into a romantic minefield, they make startling discoveries about each other and themselves. With her trademark wit and irony, and a deep compassion for her hero and heroine, Carol Shields gives us a celebration of love in all its guises.
What is the matter with me, I wonder. Why am I always the one who watches?Judith Gill lives with her husband, son, and daughter in a nice house in the suburbs of Ontario. She has carved out a niche as a respected biographer. Her universe is shaped and bounded by the lives around her, from her family to the subjects of her books. She finds herself in the background of her life, but she hungers to tell stories of her own. In this witty, nuanced novel about art, life, love, and fiction, Carol Shields reveals Judith to readers and to herself--a woman with bold emotions, powerful instincts, and a knack for observing the small ceremonies that give our lives meaning.
In celebration of the fifteenth anniversary of its original publication, Carol Shields's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is now available in a Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition ONE OF THE MOST successful and acclaimed novels of our time, this fictionalized autobiography of Daisy Goodwill Flett is a subtle but affecting portrait of an everywoman reflecting on an unconventional life. What transforms this seemingly ordinary tale is the richness of Daisy's vividly described inner life--from her earliest memories of her adoptive mother to her awareness of impending death.
This book combines perspectives from political science, history and geography to provide a comprehensive introduction to `Europe' or European space as we understand it today. Central to the book is the phenomenon of the sovereign state and the question of alternative ways of organizing Europe politically and economically. The book explores four different ways of organizing space: state, union, region and network. By tracing the origins of the sovereign state in Europe, the book first reviews the resilience and adaptability of the sovereign state historically, and then looks at the implications of the contradictory processes of integration and fragmentation, or globalization and regionalization, present today. A key concept developed throughout the book is that of networks, especially with respect to the European Union, and the relationship between regions, networks and cities, a relationship long traditional to Europe's political organization. The authors review critically popular notions of a 'Europe of regions' or 'the end of the sovereign state' and instead serve to combine their different disciplinary conceptual tools and perspectives to provide new insights into the future organization of European space. Organizing European Space will be essential reading for all students of contemporary Europe seeking a deeper understanding of the modern state and the complexity of changing notions of identity, political organization and territoriality inherent in Europe in the past, present and future.
Carol Shields's award-winning and critically acclaimed "literary mystery," first published in 1987.Swann is the story of four individuals who become entwined in the life of Mary Swann, a rural Canadian poet whose authentic and unique voice is discovered only hours before her husband hacks her to pieces.Who is Mary Swann? And how could she have produced these works of genius in almost complete isolation? Mysteriously, all traces of Swann's existence -- her notebook, the first draft of her work, even her photograph -- gradually vanish as the characters in this engrossing novel become caught up in their own concepts of who Mary Swann was.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel and shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award: Carol Shields's award-winning fourth novel is a literary detective story exploring the surprising afterlife of a murdered poet Who is Mary Swann?In this novel of a writer's revenge, an uneducated farmer's wife delivers a paper bag filled with scraps of her poems to the publisher of a small press. Hours later, she's dead, murdered by her husband. Fifteen years on, her book of one hundred twenty-five poems--Mary Swann's sole claim to fame--is discovered by an American academic. And a literary odyssey begins.Four narrators--Sarah Maloney, a feminist writer; Frederic Cruzzi, an editor; Morton Jimroy, a biographer; and Rose Hindmarch, Mary's only friend--all have a stake in the deceased poet's work. Their chorus of voicesopens a fascinating window on what constitutes genius. As the four descend into a quagmire of ego, jealousy, and backstabbing, Mary Swann comes back to life--in the minds and hearts of those who love and hate her most. Full of mischief, Swann is a novel about life, death, and the ideas that live on after us.
With a Foreword by the Author"Before becoming a playwright I was a novelist, and one who was often impatient with the requisite description of weather or scenery or even with the business of moving people from room to room. I was more interested in the sound of people talking to each other, reacting to each other, or leaving silences for others to fall into." -- Carol ShieldsFrom one of Canada's most beloved authors comes a collection of four works written for the stage, including her most popular and highly acclaimed play Thirteen Hands. The theatrical form allows Carol Shields' strength as a master of dialogue to shine at its brightest, as she returns to themes she explores in her prose: love, family, friendship, and the hidden meanings and larger truths found beneath the surface of the minutiae of daily life. Thirteen Hands and Other Plays is an exhilarating introduction to Shields' considerable achievements as a playwright.Departures and Arrivals (1990) dramatizes how lives are heightened and enlarged when taken within the frame of public spaces -- airports, train stations, public streets -- so that we all become, in a sense, actors. Thirteen Hands (1993), a musical, valorizes a consistently overlooked group in our society, "the blue-rinse set" -- also known as "the white glove brigade" or "the bridge club biddies" -- and has had the strongest professional run of all Shields' plays. Fashion, Power, Guilt and the Charity of Families (1995), written with her daughter, Catherine Shields, interrogates the ambivalence felt towards families, the drive we all share to find or create some kind of family, and the equally strong desire to escape the family's fury. Anniversary (1998), written with Dave Williamson, is a domestic drama of discontented, middle class suburbanites. One couple in the play are married and pretending to be close to separation. Another couple, who are separated, are pretending to be married. The additional irony is that the separated couple are still emotionally together, while the married couple have already emotionally separated.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Forty-four-year-old Reta Winters, wife, mother, writer, and translator, is living a happy life until one of her three daughters drops out of university to sit on a downtown street corner silent and cross-legged with a begging bowl in her lap and a placard round her neck that says "Goodness." The final book from Pulitzer Prize-winner Carol Shields, Unless is a candid and deeply moving novel from one of the twentieth century's most accomplished and beloved authors.
The stories collected here offer an entrancing look at some of the various miracles of everyday life, the quirks of chance and coincidence, life's setbacks and improvisations. Carol Shields deftly draws us into the lives of a broad range of sharply observed characters, from the brilliant young violinist smothered by an overprotective family, to the elderly widow mowing her lawn while a long, passionate life buzzes around in her memory.Blending wit and compassion, Shields illuminates moments when ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances, declarations of love and revelations that transform their lives. Sharp, skeptical and sympathetic, this collection presents Shields at her inimitable best in twenty-one miracles of the storyteller's art.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The small miracles of our day-to-day lives are on captivating display in this unforgettable collection by Pulitzer Prize winner Carol ShieldsVarious Miracles brings together twenty-one short stories, modern parables that illuminate the mysteries of everyday existence.In the title story, four strangers on a bus are all reading the same book. In "Fragility," Ivy's husband reflects on their marriage, the death of their young son, Christopher, and the plane ride that will deliver them to a new life.From "The Metaphor Is Dead - Pass It On" to "Home" to "Others"--in which a couple's act of generosity is repaid in annual Christmas cards with no return address--this collection is by turns witty, inventive, and moving. Whether portraying a violinist yearning to break free of overprotective parents or an elderly widow mowing her lawn to the thunderous timpani of memory, Carol Shields depicts the struggles of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances. It's a world where magic coexists with reality, and where leaps of faith and acts of kindness create their own miracles.
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