Synopses & Reviews
I'm not interested, the way some people are, in being sad. I've had a look, and there's nothing down that road. Well now! What about the ripping sound behind my eyes, the starchy tearing of fabric, end to end; what about the need I have to curl up my knees when I sleep?
For all of her life, 44 year old Reta Winters has enjoyed the useful monotony of happiness: a loving family, good friends, growing success as a writer of light 'summertime' fiction. But this placid existence is cracked wide open when her beloved eldest daughter, Norah, drops out to sit on a gritty street corner, silent but for the sign around her neck that reads 'GOODNESS.' Reta's search for what drove her daughter to such a desperate statement turns into an unflinching and surprisingly funny meditation on where we find meaning and hope.
Warmth, passion and wisdom come together in Shields' remarkably supple prose. Unless, a harrowing but ultimately consoling story of one family's anguish and healing, proves her mastery of extraordinary fictions about ordinary life.
"You wouldn't expect it from her, but Carol Shields has written a naughty book....the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Stone Diaries
is doing something indecorous here ribbing our notions of grief, even snickering at what inspires us....This is one of those books that make you regret that reading is a solitary pleasure." Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor
(read the entire CSM review
"A gut-gripping story of one woman's difficult psychological journey, it becomes, in effect, a treatise on goodness and a testament to the several roles women must simultaneously shoulder....Shields shares with fellow Canadian Alice Munro not only her Ontario milieu but also a gift for psychological acuity expressed in limpid, shimmering prose." Brad Hooper, Booklist
"[A] landmark book that constitutes yet another noteworthy addition to Shields's impressive body of work." Publishers Weekly
"Finely detailed, thoughtful, and sometimes even humorous, this book is highly recommended for all fiction collections." Library Journal
After 44 years, Reta Winters she is discovering the meaning of loss for the first time when her beloved eldest daughter drops out of life to sit on a street corner. A major literary event from the author of the international bestseller and Pulitzer-Prize winner, The Stone Diaries, this is a novel of love and letting go.
About the Author
Carol Sheilds is the author of eight novels and two collections of short stories. She is the winner of the Pulitzer Price for The Stone Diaries, which was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize. And the Orange Prize for Larry's Party. Born and brought up in Chicago, Carol Shields has lived in Canada since 1957.