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The Stone Diaries was a prizewinner among prizewinners for Canadian novelist Carol Shields, garnering her the Governor General's Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. In this fictional autobiography of eightysomething Daisy Goodwill, Shields includes a variety of other documents and perspectives--letters that Daisy received over the years, a list of her bridal trousseau, an occasional reminiscence by a son, daughter, or family friend, an objective third-person description of a house, and a wonderful collection of photos that supposedly come from the Goodwill family--which give us the sense that this is more than just fiction. Here we have a rare glimpse into the nooks and crannies of an ordinary life as we watch Daisy cope with love, marriage, children, gardening, old age, and death. The book serves as a diary of the last century as well, ripe with details that make readers feel they're witnessing the passage of time. Shields renders with loving care, genuine affection, and acute insight the world Daisy Goodwill makes her own. The Stone Diaries lingers in the memory, an extraordinary achievement by an extraordinary writer. --Jeffrey Canton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Canadian writer Shields's novels and short stories ( Swann ; The Republic of Love , etc.) are intensely imagined, humanely generous, beautifully sustained and impeccably detailed. Despite rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic, she has yet to achieve an audience here; one hopes this latest effort, shortlisted for the Booker Prize, will be her breakthrough. It is at once a playful sendup of the art of biography and a serious exploration of the essential mystery of human lives; the gist of this many-faceted story is that all biographies are only versions of the facts. Shields follows her heroine, Daisy Goodwill Hoad Flett, from her birth--and her mother's death--on the kitchen floor of a stonemason's cottage in a small quarry town in Manitoba through childhood in Winnipeg, adolescence and young womanhood in Bloomington, Ind. (another quarry town), two marriages, motherhood, widowhood, a brief, exhilarating career in Ottawa--and eventually to old age and death in Florida. Stone is the unifying image here: it affects the geography of Daisy's life, and ultimately her vision of herself. Wittily, ironically, touchingly, Shields gives us Daisy's version of her life and contrasting interpretations of events from her friends, children and extended family. (She even provides ostensible photographs of Daisy's family and friends.) Shields's prose is succint, clear and graceful, and she is wizardly with description, summarizing appearance, disposition and inner lives with elegant imagery. Secondary characters are equally compelling, especially Daisy's obese, phlegmatic mother; her meek, obsessive father, who transforms himself into an overbearing executive; her adoptive mother, her stubborn father-in-law. Readers who discover Shields with this book can also pick up a simultaneously published paperback version of an early first novel, Happenstance . Author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Daisy Goodwill didn't begin her life in the best of circumstances. As she was born her mother was dying, not even having realized she'd been pregnant until she was about to give... Read morePublished on Dec 24 2008 by Debra Purdy Kong
Amazing book. It's so rare to see a book that gives women from two generations before a voice. The metaphor is precise and cutting and the story rings true. Read morePublished on May 7 2007 by literary critic
An interesting and easy read. I wouldn't put it in the category of one of the great reads in my life, but it was alright. Read morePublished on May 7 2005 by N. Jeannotte