- Prizes and Awards: Giller Prize Shortlist 2002
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The oldest daughter of 44-year-old Reta Winters suddenly, inexplicably, drops out of college and ends up on a Toronto street corner panhandling, with a cardboard sign around her neck that reads "goodness." The quiet comforts of Reta's small-town life and the constancy of her feminist perspective sustain her hope that her daughter will snap out of this, whatever "this" is. Threaded into her family's crisis is her ongoing internal elegy on the exclusion of women from the literary canon, which she transposes to mean her daughter's exclusion from humanity. Reta wonders if her daughter has discovered, as she herself did years before, that the world is "an endless series of obstacles, an alignment of locked doors," and has chosen to pursue the one thing that doesn't require power or a voice: goodness.
In her own writing, Reta reaffirms her own sense of self, as well as her sense of humor. As her theoretical reflections on modern womanhood play counterpoint to her unwavering sense of creating a home and keeping her family together, Reta's smarts and fears form a wonderfully coherent narrative--a life worth reading about. With Unless, the inaugural title in HarperCollins's Fourth Estate imprint, Shields (author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Stone Diaries) once again asserts her place in the canon. --Emily Russin --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
When the book is finished you are asking yourself: what was that?
It did open your interest, though.
Carole writes very well using language that provides clarity and captivates interest but is beyond the vocabulary of the majority of people, possibly not her particulr set of... Read morePublished on Nov. 23 2011 by John
I very much enjoyed the book Unless, by Carol Shields. It is about a writer writing a book within a book - but that is only part of the story. Read morePublished on April 4 2011 by Darleen
Unless goes to page 320. Twenty pages are blank, and there is a space between every line. So its word count is about the same as Virginia Woolf's very slim, To the Lighthouse. Read morePublished on Dec 27 2010 by Gaboora
I agree with the reviewer, Carrad's, statement, "Moaning for pages and pages and pages about how female authors and characters have been marginalized for centuries does not justify... Read morePublished on Dec 12 2008 by Shepherdess Extraordinaire
I agree with the amazon.ca review. If you haven't read Shields before, do yourself a favour and read "Stone Diaries" or "Larry's Party" before you pick up this... Read morePublished on Dec 23 2005
I read this book because of recommendations and hype. UNLESS you have all kinds of time,,,don't bother,,,however, there are a few interesting pages so if you really are curious... Read morePublished on Nov. 16 2004 by Elina