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Unless
     

Unless

3.6 26
by Carol Shields
 

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Forty-four-year-old Reta Winters, wife, mother, writer, and translator, is living a happy life until one of her three daughters drops out of university to sit on a downtown street corner silent and cross-legged with a begging bowl in her lap and a placard round her neck that says "Goodness."

The final book from Pulitzer Prize-winner Carol Shields, Unless is a

Overview

Forty-four-year-old Reta Winters, wife, mother, writer, and translator, is living a happy life until one of her three daughters drops out of university to sit on a downtown street corner silent and cross-legged with a begging bowl in her lap and a placard round her neck that says "Goodness."

The final book from Pulitzer Prize-winner Carol Shields, Unless is a candid and deeply moving novel from one of the twentieth century's most accomplished and beloved authors.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061828164
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/17/2009
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
316,796
File size:
497 KB

Meet the Author

Carol Shields was born in Chicago and lived in Canada for most of her life. She is the author of three short story collections and eight novels, including the Pulitzer Prize -- winning The Stone Diaries and Larry’s Party, winner of the Orange Prize.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
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
Education:
B.A., Hanover College, Indiana; M.A. (English), Ottawa University, 1975
Website:
http://www.carolshields.com

Customer Reviews

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Unless 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My own ignorance is an embarrassment to me. I never heard of Shields -- a Pulitzer winner! -- until I stumbled upon a review of this novel. I know why she has been honored with that most coveted of prizes; she weaves magic with words. That's it. Plain and simple. This book is a powerful, but oh-so-necessary, meditation on the state of women in the modern world. Women seeking a place, a voice, a name. Philosophical and meditative, yes, but not a screaming-in-your-face ode to feminism. Much more humane than that, and that is where Shilds shines her brightest.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I stumbled across this book in the library and after reading it (in about 3 hours) was amazed that I had never heard of this author before! She is simply a fantastic writer, so open and honest and clear, I felt like I was living right along beside her in the story. It's one of those books you hate to see the end coming because you'll miss it so much! I have since been reading everything by this woman I can get my hands on. Where has she been hiding?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Two big time winners are paired in this audio book - author Carol Shields took home the Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for 'The Stone Diaries,' and actor Joan Allen has been thrice nominated for an Academy Award and twice named for a Tony. Allen, a Broadway and film veteran, delivers a consummate reading of this story of one family's tragedy set amidst life on the cusp of the 21st century. Listeners will be rapt - seduced by Allen's voice and luxuriating in the author's remarkable prose. Enjoying the fruits of success as a writer and translator, Reta Winters has every reason to believe she has it all - a devoted husband, three outstanding daughters, and a covey of good friends. Her world is tilted when her oldest child leaves college, and deserts family and boyfriend to take up residence on a street corner with a sign reading 'Goodness.' Understandably anguished Reta tries to fathom what might have caused her daughter to take such action. It is in this search that listeners will find a sometimes disturbing, at other times heartening view of life as it is today.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book in an airport on my way to europe. I read it on trains and in hostels. I liked the plot, but I didn't feel it was very believable. She did not suck me into the story. The whole time, I felt like an outsider, just an observer. I want to connect more with the characters. It was just okay.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When Unless was recommended to me by a teacher, I'll admit that I was skeptical. I was expecting the 'touchy-feely,' saccharine storyline typical of mother-daughter fiction. It was a plesant surprise to find that, in addition to a well-constructed plot, Shields (through her main character) included several poignant observations. The insight into Reta's thoughts made Unless superior to typical 'mother-daughter fiction.' Recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I adored this book. It was so beautiful, I laughed, cried and got a better sense of myself. Sometimes, things happen that change your path and this book explores that concept beautifully. I just read that Carol Shields passed away this week. Go in Peace.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow! Carol Shields has such an amazing ability to turn a phrase in such a way that, for days after closing the book for what seems to be the last time, you find yourself wondering "how could she be so open & honest with me? She doesn't even know me!" At the conclusion of "Unless", I found myself in an emotional funk. It felt like losing a very, very close friend. I guess I could simply buy another of her books, but that would be far to easy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As the main character in this book contemplates the meaning of her daughter's actions, the reader cannot help but feel her anguish and profound love for her daughter. The book is written in a style that keeps one riveted, and the ending will both shock and relieve the reader. For anyone who has never given up on a loved one who has been a source of anguish, this book will touch your heart.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It is sad, yet so real. It touches the reader.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel moved so slowly, and hardly kept my attention. The narrator spent so much time in her thoughts, and there was little actual action.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LouisianaAlice More than 1 year ago
While the author has a fine ability to use language, I found the book's rambling ruminations tedious. Normally I would browse such a book to get the gist of the storyline and learn the ending but I couldn't even make myself do that with this one. Finally I thumbed through to the last of the book only to see what the secret was regarding Norah and called it quits. Won't be looking for anything else by this author.
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Hopeless_romanticST More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for a report in my class. I have to admit I couln't get into it. I was forcing myself to read it. After 130 pages I FINALLY got into it, and now I'm glad I actually finished it. It was such a touching book. I could actually feel Reta's pain. Very moving.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Shields realistically represents the turmoil of grief. Please give this book a chance. Take your time and pay attention. It is worth it!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Seventy-eight pages into this selection for my book club, and I'm still waiting for something to happen. Introspection can be interesting, but not if it consists of an unchanging thought repeated throughout one-third of a book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reading the book was a drag. I felt that Shields was telling the story and not showing. The characters were not touched on enough. This just may be a book for women with a boring life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Shields again goes below the surface and explores the the deeper life of a 40's woman dealing with self, children, husband and the social order. And a writer writing about a writer writing through all this. Fantastic!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Carol Shields wrote a moving and compelling story about the struggles of Norah and her family. The plot was well developed as were the characters. A beautiful novel written by a fine author.