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A Memoir of Friendship: The Letters Between Carol Shields & Blanche Howard Hardcover – Apr 10 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Canada; 1 edition (April 10 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670066133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670066131
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 4.4 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 930 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #551,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


'"A Memoir of Friendship" is a dialogue of grace and generosity...surprisingly gripping...' -- Quill & Quire

'"A Memoir of Friendship" is a significant achievement and a landmark book...the correspondence between Howard and Shields is fascinating....' -- Globe and Mail

About the Author

Carol Shields is the author of over twenty books, including The Stone Diaries, which won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Governor General’s Award. Her other books include The Republic of Love, Larry’s Party, which won the Orange Prize for Fiction, and Unless, Shields’s final novel, which was nominated for the Booker Prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Giller Prize, and the Governor General’s Award, and was awarded the Ethel Wilson Prize for Fiction. She also wrote the biography of Jane Austen, which won the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction. She lived in Winnipeg for many years and later in Victoria.

Blanche Howard is the author of four novels, including The Manipulator, which won the Canadian Booksellers’ Award, and Penelope’s Way. She is also the co-author of A Celibate Season with Carol Shields. Howard lives in North Vancouver.

Allison Howard, Blanche’s daughter, served as a reader and editor to Blanche Howard and Carol Shields during their writing of A Celibate Season. She lives in Penticton, B.C.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Jan. 27 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book was loaned to me by a friend who had recommended it over coffee a couple of months ago. All he said at the time was that as a collection of letters, it offered some very unique insights into the life and times of the Canadian writer, the late Carol Shields. As I am not a great fan of letters as a literary genre and not being overly impressed with Shields' work as a novelist, I took this voluminous book and placed it on a shelf in my study reserved for distant future reads. Well, I finally got around to reading it this week, and what a wonderful surprise! In the space of over three hundred pages covering thirty years, Shields and Howard reveal some very rich and dynamic qualities of their enduring friendship. One, they seemed to care enough about each other's writing experiences to be forever inquiring after them. Two, they came across as very humble people who enjoyed reading, writing and critiquing about some of the great adventures, mysteries and controversies of life. Three, the many letters between these two writers spilled out into their private lives in genuinely personable ways. Both liked to travel and meet famous people; both were married to self-absorbed men who still managed to find time to encourage their literary pursuits; and both suffered through the often lonely ordeal of facing death from opposite ends: one as the dying, the other as the friend. The letters ooze with moments of triumph, sorrow, fear, and creative reflection. This body of writing also provides some very intriguing insights into Canadian life in the eighties and nineties as Canadian women became more actively established as writers in the mould of Atwood, Calwood, and Munro. If these two are anything to go by, women certainly came into their own during this period by charting their own course through life. Great read!
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Format: Hardcover
A Memoir of Friendship -- the thirty-year exchange of letters between two writers and two friends -- is a treasure trove for any lover of the written word, providing compelling and intimate glimpses into the inner lives of these two prominent and much loved writers, through good times...and difficult ones. I couldn't put it down.
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By Liz on June 17 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Could not wait to get this book yet it did not do it for me. I found it really boring and wondered why a book of letters between two friends, one of which is a famous author, was supposed to be so compelling. They were just two women who were friends.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
Boring read July 22 2010
By ihath - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I expected a few insights about writing, the life of a writer ...etc . Instead it full of niceties and mundane exchanges. Total waste of time.

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