The Stone Diaries
Born in 1905, Daisy Goodwill drifts through the chapters
of childhood, marriage, widowhood, remarriage, motherhood
and old age. Bewildered by her inability to understand
her own role, Daisy attempts to find a way to tell her
own story within a novel that is itself about the limitations
The Stone Diaries is a truly
sumptous novel that reflects and illuminates the unsettled
decades of our century.
here to order.
Carol Shields has explored the mysteries
of life with abandon, taking unusual risks along the
way. The Stone Diaries reminds us again why literature
- The New York
Times Book Review
here to read excerpt.
Pulitzer Prize 1995
Governor General's Award 1993
McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award 1993
Man Booker Award 1993
Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Award Author
of the Year 1994
National Book Critics Circle Award 1994
International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
New York Times Notable Book of the Year
Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year Adult
...Shields's storytelling is at its most ambitious
- The Toronto
A beautiful, darkly ironic novel
of misunderstanding and missed opportunites."
Men and Women, Forever Misaligned
New York Times
March 27, 1994, Sunday, Late
Edition - Final
The Stone Diaries reviewed
by Jay Parini
CAROL SHIELDS, the American-born
Canadian novelist and story writer, is often mentioned
in the same breath with Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro,
and her last novel, "The Republic of Love," attracted
a small but enthusiastic band of admirers, myself among
them. Last year "The Stone Diaries" was nominated for
Britain's Booker Prize and acclaimed by many reviewers
there. Now it has been published here, and it deserves
our fullest attention.
The novel provides, glancingly,
a panorama of 20th-century life in North America. Written
in diary format, it traces the life of one seemingly unremarkable
woman: Daisy Goodwill Flett, who is born in 1905 and lives
into the 1990's. "The Stone Diaries" includes an elaborate
family tree of the sort usually found in biographies as
well as eight pages of family photographs. Surveying the
faces in these photos of Ms. Shields's sharply drawn characters,
the reader naturally wonders: are these "real" people
or the made-up kind?
A wise and unusual novel that makes the ordinary extraordinary...Shields
reveals the mysteries of love, culture and spirituality
shimmering beneath the surface of a quiet woman's
The Stone Diaries is something
else again; one woman's entire fictitious life, from
the remarkable story of her birth to her unresigned
death....the result as compelling as eavesdropping."
with Carol Shields
Diane Rehm - Public Radio Washington,
March 31, 1994
(Transcribed from audio tape.)
and welcome back to the Diane Rehm show on 88.5 FM.
In Carol Shields' latest novel The Stones Diaries
it is easy to confuse fact with fiction. The novel
has all the trappings of reality as it traces the
life story of Daisy Stone Goodwill from her birth
in rural Canada in 1905 to her decline and death in
a Florida nursing home nine decades later. Diary entries,
third party perspectives and even family photographs
seem to offer a thorough account of one woman's relatively
ordinary life. But these many details pose more questions
than answers as the author explores the essential
mystery of all our lives. The book was nominated for
the prestigious Booker Prize last year and recently
published in the United States. Carol Shields joins
me in the studio this morning to talk about her new
book, her career as a novelist, poet and playwright.
We'll take your calls all through the hour on 885-8850.
Carol Shields good morning to you.
described The Stone Diaries as a nesting of Russian
dolls, a novel that's like a box within a box within
a box. What do you hope that readers are going to
discover as they open this book?
readers will be curious about the life of this so-called
"ordinary" woman, about the layers of complexity beneath
the surface. I hope that they can place Daisy in the
context of our century which is one of the things
I was interested in looking at when I started out
with this novel. Because, like a lot of people, I'm
a bit scared about entering the next century and seem
to spend a lot of time these days thinking about what
these 100 years have brought us and where they have
delivered us. So I wanted this novel to start at the
beginning of the century and I wanted Daisy's life
to parallel - more or less - the life of this century.
here for discussion questions.
A kind of family album made into a work of art"
- New York Newsday
a small miracle of a novel, a rock-solid
monument to the ephemeral nature of all lives"
a beautifully considered paean to
the private stories we all cherish"
- The Boston
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