The New York Times
Collected Storiesby Carol Shields
In these stories Carol Shields combines the dazzling virtuosity and wise maturity that won so many readers to her prize-winning novels. With her exquisite eye for detail
For the first time, all of Carol Shields's remarkable short stories are gathered together in one volume. This definitive anthology contains the previously unpublished story "Segue," her last work.
In these stories Carol Shields combines the dazzling virtuosity and wise maturity that won so many readers to her prize-winning novels. With her exquisite eye for detail and her eagerness to explore the most fundamental of relationships and the wildest of coincidences, she illuminates the absurdities and miracles that grace all of our lives.
Playful, charming, acutely observed, and generous of spirit, this collection of stories will delight and enchant readers the world over.
The New York Times
—The Globe and Mail
“A grand gift for a true Shields fan.”
“No writer in the English-speaking world has written more eloquent, witty and graceful sentences than Carol Shields…. If the purpose of fiction is to break up the frozen seas within us, as Kafka once said, spending a few days in the company of Shields’ stories allowed me to re-experience the poignancy of human life and, at the same time, its undeniable comedy, its sensuality and beauty.”
—Susan Swan in The National Post
Praise for Carol Shields's short stories:
"Carol Shields's short stories have given me happiness, not just pleasure. They're prismatic; they delight at first by the clear and simple elegance with which they are made, then there is something so bountiful and surprising, like beautiful broken lights."
"Every story in this collection is a small, glittering masterpiece."
"A radiant gift, a brilliant archive."
—Winnipeg Free Press
"Wry, witty, wise and fiercely intelligent."
—Janette Turner Hospital
"These poignant stories revel in the ordinary, with a few side-trips to the sublime."
"Intelligent, provocative and entertaining."
—The New York Review of Books
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.81(d)
Read an Excerpt
By Carol Shields
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2005 Carol Shields
All right reserved.
Dressing Up for the Carnival
All over town people are putting on their costumes.
Tamara has flung open her closet door; just to see her standing there is to feel a squeeze of the heart. She loves her clothes. She knows her clothes. Her favorite moment of the day is this moment, standing at the closet door, still a little dizzy from her long night of tumbled sleep, biting her lip, thinking hard, moving the busy hangers along the rod, about to make up her mind.
Yes! The yellow cotton skirt with the big patch pockets and the hand detail around the hem. How fortunate to own such a skirt. And the white blouse. What a blouse! Those sleeves, that neckline with its buttoned flap, the fullness in the yoke that reminds her of the morris dancers she and her boyfriend Bruce saw at the Exhibition last year.
Next she adds her new straw belt; perfect. A string of yellow beads. Earrings of course. Her bone sandals. And bare legs, why not?
She never checks the weather before she dresses; her clothes areweather, as powerful in their sunniness as the strong, muzzy early morning light pouring into the narrow street by the bus stop, warming the combed crown of her hair and fueling her with imagination. She taps a sandaled foot lightly on the pavement waiting for the number 4 bus, no longer just Tamara, clerk-receptionist for the Youth Employment Bureau, but a woman in a yellow skirt. A passionate woman dressed in yellow. A Passionate, Vibrant Woman About To Begin I Her Day. Her Life.
Roger, aged thirty, employed by the Gas Board, is coming out of a corner grocer's carrying a mango in his left hand. He went in to buy an apple and came out with this. At the cash register he refused a bag, preferring to carry this thing, this object, in his bare hand. The price was $1.29. He's a little surprised at how heavy it is, a tight seamless leather skin enclosing soft pulp, or so he imagines. He has never bought a mango before, never eaten one, doesn't know what a mango tastes like or how it's prepared. Cooked like a squash? Sliced and sugared like a peach? He has no Intention of eating it, not now anyway, maybe never. Its weight reminds him of a first-class league ball, but larger, longer, smooth skinned, and ripely green. Mango, mango. An elliptical purse, juice-filled, curved for the palm of the human hand, his hand.
He is a man of medium height, burly, divorced, wearing an open-necked shirt, hurrying back to work alter his coffee break. But at this moment he freezes and sees himself freshly: a man carrying a mango in his left hand. Already he's accustomed to it; in fact, it's starting to feel lighter and drier, like a set of castanets ...
Excerpted from Collected Stories by Carol Shields Copyright © 2005 by Carol Shields. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
- Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
- Date of Birth:
- June 2, 1935
- Date of Death:
- July 16, 2003
- Place of Birth:
- Oak Park, Illinois
- Place of Death:
- Toronto, Canada
- B.A., Hanover College, Indiana; M.A. (English), Ottawa University, 1975
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