So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
I first became interested and aware of Carol Shields' writing when I read and was enthralled with her last book Unless. Written while she was dying of breast cancer, Unless is a powerful novel that asks big questions and doesn't give easy answers. So I wanted to read Shields' earlier novel The Stone Diaries which was her most famous work, winning a Pulitzer Prize and numerous other honors.
I was not disappointed. This book is the life of a 20th century woman Daisy Goodwill Flett laid out chronologically in chapters named Birth 1905, Childhood 1916, Marriage 1927, Love 1936, Motherhood 1947, Work 1955-1964, Sorrow 1965, Ease 1977, Illness and Decline 1985, and Death. Shields brings each decade and location to life using a combination of Daisy's own perspective, that of those around her, bits of writing, and even photos. The characters are beautifully portrayed and complex, turning an ordinary life into rich reading.
I have become a fan and look forward to reading more from this talented author.


  • At 5:14 PM, Blogger Blue Hair said…

    Weird. I had the opposite reaction. I read the Stone Diaries, and was unmoved. When I read Unless, I thought "Wow, this woman CAN write." This is one of her better works. Shields is an author I like, but I thought Stone Diaries was so disappointing, that I am sometimes leery of her work.

  • At 5:33 AM, Blogger Orion said…

    Dear Blue,
    Unless and The Stone Diaries are such totally different types of works. I can easily see how you could like the intensely personal and soul-searching Unless, and find The Stone Diaries cold and distant like the stone of the title. Have you looked at other Carol Shields novels? Are there any you recommend?
    Thank you for reading my review. I too am a BookCrosser here in Raleigh NC using the name Buttonbright. If you become my BookCrossing friend I might be able to send you an occassional book from your wish list.


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