Tuesday, 6 April 2021

#BlogTour The Republic of Love by Carol Shields


It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Republic of Love by Carol Shields - can I just say I am totally here for the forewords by Margaret Atwood in these new editions.

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. 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.

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About the book

On love and the absence of love - A celebration of love in its many guises, The Republic of Love recounts the heartfelt tale of two of life’s unlucky lovers: Fay, a folklorist whose passion for mermaids has kept her from focusing on any one man; and, right across the street, Tom, a popular radio talk-show host who’s been through three marriages and divorces in his search for true happiness. Touching and ironic, The Republic of Love flies the flag for ordinary love between ordinary people.


It's not my favourite book by Shields, perhaps because this is more of an eight lane carriageway. If it were set on screen it would be a Woody Allan pseudo highbrow visual representation of lives and loves of a small affluent community.

It's clear from quite early on that Fay and Tom will eventually become a couple. What Shields does is navigate readers through their lives prior to that moment. The disappointments, the failures, the chances and opportunities not taken or those taken with a pinch of regret.

Throughout the story there is also the topic of mermaids - Fay's work. The question was really how the mermaid element related to love, relationships and marriage. If this wasn't a story balanced equally between Tom and Fay I would say it is all about the way men envisage women. 

Mermaids are both sexually seductive, they use their call to seduce and destroy, they are also physically void of the epi-centre of temptation and violation. The myth of mermaids was born of men, who predominantly work the seas and oceans. Are they a figment of imagination driven by the solitude, the fear and biological need of men?

If the emphasis had been on Tom and his love endeavours there would be more connections to make, as is you kind of wonder what the point is. Or is the point just that there is none and that Fay is entirely obsessed with these mythical creatures who are not able to have relationships physically with moral men. Does Fay equate herself to the mermaid who always remains behind the wall she built?

As I said not my favourite, but certainly one that can get the grey cells jogging.

Buy The Republic of Love at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: World Editions; pub date March 2021 £11.99 paperback. Buy at Amazon com.

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