Sunday, 6 December 2020

#BlogTour The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

It's my turn on the BlogTour The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields - foreword by Margaret Atwood.

About the Author

Carol Shields (1935–2003) was born in the United States, and emigrated to Canada when she was 22. She is acclaimed for her empathetic and witty, yet penetrating insights into human nature. Her most famous novel The Stone Diaries was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, along with the Governor General’s Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. 

Happenstance was praised as her tour de force, masterly combining two novels in one. The international bestseller Mary Swann was awarded with the Arthur Ellis Award for best Canadian mystery, while The Republic of Love was chosen as the first runner-up for the Guardian Fiction Prize. In 2020, the Carol Shields Prize for Fiction, a North American literary award dedicated to writing by women, was set up in her honor. Her work has been published in over 30 languages.

About the book

Widely regarded as a modern classic, The Stone Diaries is the story of one woman’s life; that of Daisy Goodwill Flett, a seemingly ordinary woman born in Canada in 1905. Beautifully written and deeply compassionate, it follows Daisy’s life through marriage, widowhood, motherhood, and old age, as she charts her own path alongside that of an unsettled century. A subtle but affective portrait of an everywoman reflecting on an unconventional life, this multi-award-winning story deals with everyday issues of existence with an extraordinary vibrancy and irresistible flair.


This story follows the life of Daisy Goodwill from birth until death. From the moment she experiences loss within minutes of her first breath. The attachments she forms as a motherless child, the men she loves and the children she bears. The tragedies that unfold as trauma in unexpected moments. The woman who appears to the world as content and fulfilled.

I wonder if it matters who you are - what age and gender - when it comes to reading this story. For some it's simply the story of a woman, an astute reflection of a life lived and yet not lived at all. A literary excursion into the reality of suppressed desires and needs.

Personally I found it a depressingly sad read, not because it isn't a good read, but because of the softly spoken truths within. Daisy represents so many women, so many lives that are lived predominantly by the rules of others. It isn't until decades have passed that Daisy realises she has never really lived and enjoyed life for herself, as opposed to uplifting and supporting the lives of others, during her lifetime.

After reading this I wondered how many women would turn around and say the same. Trips not taken, countries and passions never explored. But perhaps the saddest thought of all the image of someone dying and feeling as if their full life was actually completely empty. 

Being able to portray all of that by slipping in and out of Daisy's life only intermittently is a tribute to Shields and her writing, and also her comprehension of the matter at hand. 

Buy The Stone Diaries at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: World Editions; pub date 25 Sept. 2020. Buy at Amazon com. At Hive. At At Waterstones.

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