The Stone Diaries

The Stone Diaries

By (author) Carol Shields

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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Governor-General's Award, and short-listed for the Booker Prize. 'The Stone Diaries' is the story of one woman's life, a truly sensuous novel which relects and illuminates the unsettled decades of our century. This is the story of Daisy Goodwill, from her birth on a kitchen floor in Manitoba, Canada, to her death in a Florida nursing home nearly ninety years later. Through Daisy's life, Shields reflects and illuminates the unsettled decades of our century in this rich and poignant novel.

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  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 148.6 x 214.1 x 18.5mm | 358.34g
  • 02 Jun 1994
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • FOURTH ESTATE LTD
  • London
  • English
  • illustrations geneal. table, portraits
  • 1857022254
  • 9781857022254
  • 72,542

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Author Information

Carol Shields's novels include Larry's Party (1997), winner of the 1998 Orange Prize; The Republic of Love (1992); Happenstance (1991) and Mary Swann (1990). Dressing Up for the Carnival, a bestselling collection of short stories, was published in 2000, and a previous collection, Various Miracles, was published in 1994. Born and brought up in Chicago, Carol Shields has lived in Canada since 1957. She was the Chancellor of the University of Winnipeg.

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Review quote

'I can think of few novels containing so much that is resonant and unforgettable, or that invite the reader to participate so fully and rewardingly. "The Stone Diaries" is a triumphant and important book and deserves a wide audience.' Sunday Telegraph 'Rapturous, sensitive and funny.' Guardian 'Carol Shields is an exceptionally sympathetic and involving novelist.' Independent on Sunday 'It is wonderful. A treat.' Joanna Trollope

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Review text

Shields (The Republic of Love, The Orange Fish, Swan, plus see above) offers epic material in this century-long story of a woman's life told from many points of view. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, the novel dazzles with its deft touch and ironic wisdom. Daisy Goodwill is born in 1905 in Manitoba and dies early in the 1990's in a Florida nursing home. Chapter headings are archetypal: "Birth, 1905," "Childhood, 1916," "Marriage, 1927," "Love, 1936," "Motherhood, 1947," until, finally, "Illness and Decline, 1985" and "Death." In fact, the novel even includes 16 pages of photos to mimic the usual pattern of a biography. In this case, however, the point of view switches frequently: "Life is an endless recruiting of witnesses," Daisy says in "Birth," and the narrative structure bears out this theme. Daisy's mother dies in childbirth, and her father, a stonecutter, forgets for days at a time "that he is the father of a child...." Her father moves to Indiana, where she marries a man who quickly commits suicide and then, in 1936, she marries Barker Flett, a professor whose mother had brought her up. Her life plays itself out. Shields's quiet touch, gossipy and affectionate, re-creates Daisy's poignant decline and death with dollops of humorous distance, including obituaries, recipes, and overheard snippets of conversation. Shields, who began as a miniaturist, has come full bloom with this latest exploration of domestic plenitude and paucity; she's entered a mature, luminous period, devising a style that develops an earlier whimsical fabulism into a hard-edged lyricism perfect for the ambitious bicultural exploration she undertakes here. (Kirkus Reviews)

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