The call for witnesses in The Stone Diaries resonates throughout Shields’ work: “Life is an endless recruiting of witnesses. It seems we need to be observed in our postures of extravagance or shame, we need attention paid to us. Our own memory is altogether too cherishing, which is the
“This is the way it’s done, isn’t it? This is how other people do it.” How other people live their lives, that is. When Carol Shields tells the story of Larry Weller’s life, it begins with his having picked up somebody else’s coat and it ends with a party.
Many of the letters in A Memoir of Friendship are about writing and reading, books and manuscripts; Blanche Howard and Carol Shields swapped book recommendations and writing frustrations and philosophies alongside the everyday stuff and nonsense of life. In 1993, Blanche wrote to Carol Shields, two years after their
In the first week of Covid-19 lockdown, I pulled The Box Garden off the shelf, opened it to read: “That there are no certainties in life. That we change hourly or even from one minute to the next, our entire cycle of being altered, our whole selves shaken with
In any given moment, I could answer this a different way: what is my favourite Margaret Atwood? Both Second Words and The Door stand out for me, as early ventures into forms which I didn’t think I enjoyed reading (essays and poems). And when I was beginning to seriously