Rereading Cat’s Eye while rereading Rosemary Sullivan’s biography of Margaret Atwood emphasized the parallels between the narrator’s and author’s childhoods. I was a teenager when I read Cat’s Eye for the first time; I would have had no idea that Elaine’s childhood of lakes and insects was Peggy’s childhood
“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
It wasn’t so long ago that I was rereading The Box Garden (for #1977Club). But last year I was thinking only of Charleen and had forgotten whatever I’d ever known about her sister Judith, whom I’ve recently gotten reacquainted with, rereading Shields’ debut, Small Ceremonies (1976) earlier this year.
A lot of readers discover Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca as teenagers, but I was fully grown and reading books inspired by browsing the local feminist bookshop, writers like Audre Lorde and Marilyn Frye, bell hooks and Gloria Alzandúa. In my stacks that year, 87% of the books were