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Dropped Threads 2: More of What We Aren't Told

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Dropped Threads 2: More of What We Aren't Told Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Synopsis:

1. Is there a balance between joy and sadness in Dropped Threads 2 ? 2. The following is a quotation from Carol Shields' novel Unless : 'Unless you're lucky, unless you're healthy, fertile, unless you're loved and fed, unless you're offered what others are offered, you go down in the darkness, down to despair.' Do the stories in Dropped Threads 2 confirm or contradict this statement? 3. Can you compare and contrast two stories from the collection on similar themes? 4. Carol Shields has often spoken of redeeming the lives of ordinary people by recording them in her works; 'especially that group of women who came between the two great women's movements.' Can you compare the experiences of women who grew up in the fifties or before, and those of women who grew up later? 5. Dropped Threads 2 endeavours to look beyond the experiences of middle-class women to a broad cross-section of women with fewer privileges or less freedom in other cultures. What do you think this adds to the collection? 6. Ann Dowsett Johnston in 'The Boy Can't Sleep' says she would like to pass on advice to her son about 'the mating dance of men and women.' What would you tell him? 7. How does this volume compare with the first book? While it is on the same theme, there are some differences. What stands out for you, the reader? 8. What does Adrienne Clarkson's Foreword add to the book? What is her main message to women readers? 9. Do the four divisions help 'organize' the book for readers? Can you see how the stories fit under the individual banners of End Notes , Variations , Glimpses , and Nourishment ? 10. What are some aspects of the surprises and silences in women's lives that haven't been touched on in either volume of Dropped Threads ? What topic would you suggest in reply to the question, 'What do women generally not talk about or pass on to others'?

About the Author

Carol Shields used to rummage in antique shops for photographs of long-forgotten women. She is "fascinated by the lives of the overlooked," says the Calgary Herald, and her novels reveal a passion for the simple pleasures of everyday working lives. She says, "I like attention paid to the details that sustain us."

She was born in a suburb of Chicago in 1935, third child of a candy factory manager and a teacher, and had a happy childhood. She met her Canadian husband on a college exchange program in England. After having five children and being what she calls a "typical" 1950s housewife, she "took a master's degree, got involved in left-wing politics, learned French and gradually woke up." As she turned 40, her graduate thesis was accepted for publication along with her first novel, Small Ceremonies.

Her work gained international recognition with her fifth novel, Swann. She won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for her 1993 novel The Stone Diaries (also short-listed for the Booker Prize), and the Orange Prize in 1996 for Larry's Party. Her latest novel Unless has stayed on the bestseller list since publication in spring 2002; it was nominated for the Booker Prize, the Giller Prize, the Governor General's Literary Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book (Canada and Caribbean). She is the author of over twenty books, including poetry, essays and a recent biography of Jane Austen. Her work has been translated into twenty-two languages around the world.

Shields learned she has Stage-3 breast cancer in 1998. An experimental treatment gave her an unexpected lease of life, during which she wrote the novel Unless. She worked her own pain into the fictional story of a woman who watches her daughter abandon her university studies to beg on the street. Carol Shields passed away in July 2003.

Marjorie Anderson met Carol Shields in the 1980s when both were teaching at the University of Manitoba. She is the seventh of eight children born to Asdis and Thorsteinn Anderson, Icelandic-Canadian fishers, farmers and storytellers from the hamlet of Libau on the edges of Lake Winnipeg.

She has a PhD in literature and taught for seven years in the English department at the University of Manitoba before moving to the School of Business, where she became director of the communications programs for commerce and MBA students. She was awarded the university’s Achievement Award for Excellence in Teaching, and has taught in international programs. She recently gave up full-time teaching to spend more time on literary projects and continues to run a communication consultancy for academic and corporate clients.

She and her husband live in Winnipeg and enjoy spending time with their four daughters and several grandchildren. Anderson's lifelong interest in writing and storytelling, and her involvement in editing and teaching over two decades, made the task of editing Dropped Threads and Dropped Threads 2 a comfortable one. She describes her collaboration with her friend Carol Shields as a great pleasure.

Table of Contents

Contents

Adrienne Clarkson, Foreword

Marjorie Anderson, Introduction

End Notes

Jane Urquhart — Losing Paul: A Memoir

Alison Wearing — My Life as a Shadow

Mary Jane Copps — In My Mother's Arms

Lisa Majeau Gordon — An Exercise in Fertility

Billie Livingston — Cat Bag

Shirley Serviss — One Step Forward

Pamela Mala Sinha — Hiding

Dana McNairn — A Marriage in Seven Parts

Lisa Gregoire — Northern Lights and Darkness

Variations

Maggie Dwyer — Like Mother, Like Daughter

Sandra Martin — Snapshots

Barbara Defago — Inside Talking

Linda Harlos — The Fall, and After

Hildegard Martens — By Choice

Marianne Brandis — Virgin Crone

Faith Johnston — Debonding

Sarah Harvey — Mother Interrupted

C.J. Papoutsis — They Didn't Come with Instructions

Glimpses

Ingeborg Boyens — On the Water's Edge

Mary J. Breen — Nobody Needs to Know

Jennifer L. Schulz — Toe-Ring

Debbie Culbertson — A Place on the Pavement

Wanda Wuttunee — We Are More Than Our Problems

Linda Rogers — Bettina's Hat

Michele Landsberg — Don't Say Anything

Susan Swan — My Secret Life as a Mother

Nourishment

Karen Houle — Double Arc

Elizabeth Hay — Ten Beauty Tips You Never Asked For

Carole Sabiston — Conjuring Up a New Life

Flora MacDonald — New Voices

Sandra Beardsall — Life with an Overeager Conscience

Sandra Birdsell — One of a Bunch

Maude Barlow — The Coat I Left Behind

Ann Dowsett Johnston — The Boy Can't Sleep

Shelagh Rogers — Speaking of Dying

Carol Shields, Afterword

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307365880
Subtitle:
More of What We Aren't Told
Publisher:
Vintage Canada
Author:
Shields, Catherine
Author:
Shields, Carol
Author:
Anderson, Marjorie May
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Women Authors
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
Canadian essays.
Subject:
âEcrits de femmes canadiens-anglais
Subject:
Essais canadiens-anglais
Subject:
Femmes
Subject:
Authors, Canadian -- 20th century.
Subject:
Anthologies-Womens Literature
Subject:
Biography-Literary
Subject:
Gender Studies-Womens Studies
Subject:
Feminist Studies-General
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
20030408
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
380

Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Literary
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

Dropped Threads 2: More of What We Aren't Told
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Product details 380 pages Random House of Canada - English 9780307365880 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , 1. Is there a balance between joy and sadness in Dropped Threads 2 ? 2. The following is a quotation from Carol Shields' novel Unless : 'Unless you're lucky, unless you're healthy, fertile, unless you're loved and fed, unless you're offered what others are offered, you go down in the darkness, down to despair.' Do the stories in Dropped Threads 2 confirm or contradict this statement? 3. Can you compare and contrast two stories from the collection on similar themes? 4. Carol Shields has often spoken of redeeming the lives of ordinary people by recording them in her works; 'especially that group of women who came between the two great women's movements.' Can you compare the experiences of women who grew up in the fifties or before, and those of women who grew up later? 5. Dropped Threads 2 endeavours to look beyond the experiences of middle-class women to a broad cross-section of women with fewer privileges or less freedom in other cultures. What do you think this adds to the collection? 6. Ann Dowsett Johnston in 'The Boy Can't Sleep' says she would like to pass on advice to her son about 'the mating dance of men and women.' What would you tell him? 7. How does this volume compare with the first book? While it is on the same theme, there are some differences. What stands out for you, the reader? 8. What does Adrienne Clarkson's Foreword add to the book? What is her main message to women readers? 9. Do the four divisions help 'organize' the book for readers? Can you see how the stories fit under the individual banners of End Notes , Variations , Glimpses , and Nourishment ? 10. What are some aspects of the surprises and silences in women's lives that haven't been touched on in either volume of Dropped Threads ? What topic would you suggest in reply to the question, 'What do women generally not talk about or pass on to others'?
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