Small Ceremonies (1976)
The Box Garden (1977)
A Fairly Conventional Woman (1982)
A Celibate Season (with Blanche Howard) (1991)
The Republic of Love (1992)
The Stone Diaries (1993)
Larry’s Party (1997)
Various Miracles (1985)
The Orange Fish (1989)
Dressing Up for the Carnival (2000)
The Collected Stories (2004)
Departures & Arrivals (1990)
Fashion, Power, Guilt and the Charity of Families (with Catherine Shields) (1995)
Thirteen Hands (1997)
Anniversary (with David Williamson) (1998)
Susanna Moodie: Voice and Vision (1977)
Jane Austen: A Penguin Lives Biography (2001)
Coming to Canada (1992)
Dropped Threads: What We Aren’t Told (Edited with Marjorie Anderson)
Dropped Threads 2: More of What We Aren’t Told (Edited with Marjorie Anderson)
There are gaps, as in every life, accidents of silence and misinterpretation and the frantic scrollwork of artifice, but also a seductive randomness that confers truth.
How can I tell her what it is I’m waiting for; I hardly know myself. But I feel with the force of absolute, brimming certainty that there is something bulky and positive in the future for me, a thing, an event perhaps, which is connected with me in some way…
The Box Garden
[She] is not quite family, not quite friend, but a presence that hovers between the two. Their investment in each other’s lives rests on consideration rather than instinct, on something that has been constructed out of happy accident and allowed to have its way.
The Republic of Love
I want, I want, I want. I don’t actually say these last words; I just bump along on their short, stubbed feet, their little declarative syllables – while buttoning up my coat and making my way home.
Personally, I think marriage can be a form of slavery if you hang in there just because you made a promise in front of a few friends in some frothing adolescent moment –
The fact is, her books bring in about forty bucks a year, that’s all. Even if she decided to sell her soul for some two-bit research job, there’d be four or five others ahead of her. The odd waitress job is open …
A Celibate Season
One thing was certain. These imagined stories never ended as stories in books did, with telling declarations of arrival: ‘- and then she realized – ’ or ‘It came to him suddenly that – ’ Instead they ended somewhere on their own descending curvatures, simply run out of fuel or deprived of interest, or, as frequently happened, interrupted by the exigencies of real life and the return to the true and ongoing story that pressed as tightly as clothing against the skin. The street, the hardness of the pavement, the snow turning blue in the fading light.
A Fairly Conventional Woman
It’s the arrangement of events which makes the stories. It’s throwing away, compressing, underlining. Hindsight can give structure to anything, but you have to be able to see it. Breathing, waking and sleeping; our lives are steamed and shaped into stories. Knowing that is what keeps me from going insane, and though I don’t like to admit it, sometimes it’s the only thing.