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The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
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The Stone Diaries (1993)

by Carol Shields

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,512951,074 (3.73)1 / 373
Recently added byrichorlin, MarjieLorica, BrokenTune, Dinci, private library, cemagoc, egroen, 2kidsandtired
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Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
'What is the story of a life? A chronicle of fact or a skilfully wrought impression?', 8 May 2013
By
sally tarbox

This review is from: The Stone Diaries (Paperback)
A beautifully written life story of a Canadian woman, Daisy Goodwill. The first chapter describes her birth in 1905 - the feelings of her parents and the neighbours. We then follow her in chapters that move on at 10-yearly intervals : her childhood, marriage, motherhood, work...
It soon becomes apparent to the reader that Daisy's life is primarily shown in terms of how it relates to those around her. Even the photos of family members exclude Daisy. The chapter on 'work', which consists largely of letters, only includes those written to her, not those she composed. Although we know the events of her life, she remains somewhat unknown to us, her personality vague. As she grows old and finds herself in a nursing home, her daughter Alice contemplates her mother's reduced property:
'all Mrs Barker Flett's possessions accommodated now by the modest dimensions of a little steel drawer. That three storey house in Ottawa has been emptied out....How is it possible, so much shrinkage?'
A consideration of a woman's life, how things that at one time are so important and in which we invest so much time - homes, gardens, jobs - ultimately all fade away. And yet from Daisy's life spring the new generation of family, whose conversation occupies the final paragraph.
A wonderful and enjoyable read, can't recommend it enough. ( )
  starbox | Jul 9, 2016 |
A story of woman from her birth to death. Her thoughts and deeds towards her parents, guardians, friends, Husband(s), In-laws,home,children,garden,work, grand children, etc etc... The main character Daisy doesn't have difficult times(financially), but emotionally , yes, she undergoes many events and struggle ...
The narration was good (but some sentences were so complex that i had to read it twice). Not too good, Not too bad for reading once. :)
( )
  PallaviSharma | May 9, 2016 |
Daisy Stone Goodwill struggles to understand her place in her own life and from old age reflects on her life as a daughter, mother and widow.

This book was critically aclaimed but I found it terribly depressing. ( )
  GeneHunter | Mar 13, 2016 |
Good book. I didn't really connect with the characters, but I think that is what the author meant. ( )
  AmieB7 | Jan 21, 2016 |
"What is the story of a life? A chronicle of fact or a skillfully wrought impression? The bringing together of what she fears? Or the adding up of what has been off-handedly revealed, those tiny allotted increments of knowledge?"

The Stone Diaries is the story of Daisy Goodwill's life, from her birth in 1905 to her death sometime in the 1990s. Subtle hints tell us that she is the unreliable narrator of this novel, but in spite of that, we get everyone's opinion about her life except Daisy's. Along the way we see glimpses of the tumultuous 20th century reflected in Daisy's equally tumultuous life.

Earlier this year I read another of Shields' novels, Unless, and wasn't that impressed, so I wasn't expecting much from The Stone Diaries, even though it's a Pulitzer Prize winner. I was more than pleasantly surprised. This is a great book, and if you haven't read it, you should. The unreliable narrator, the search for identity, the symbolism of the rigidity of stone and the rebirth of plants, and the portrait of the changing roles of women during the last 100 years all come together brilliantly to create this wonderfully riveting story. Obviously I enjoyed the book itself, but I also really enjoyed the process of reading the book, if that makes sense. Shields really kept me interested in finding out more about Daisy, but the prose was so lyrical that I really enjoyed reading it slowly and savoring the language and ideas. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
There is little in the way of conventional plot here, but its absence does nothing to diminish the narrative compulsion of this novel. Carol Shields has explored the mysteries of life with abandon, taking unusual risks along the way. "The Stone Diaries" reminds us again why literature matters.
added by kathrynnd | editNew York Times, Jay Parini (Mar 27, 1994)
 

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carol Shieldsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gossije, MarianneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
nothing she did or said
was quite what she meant
but still her life could be called a monument
shaped in a slant of available light
and set to the movement of possible music

(From "The Grandmother Cycle" by Judith Downing, Converse Quarterly, Autumn)
Dedication
For my sister Babs
First words
My mother's name was Mercy Stone Goodwill.
Quotations
It is frightening, and also exhilarating, her ability to deceive those around her...
She was, you might say, a woman who recognized the value of half a loaf.
These last ten years had been a period of disintegration; he saw that now. He had imagined himself to be a man intent on making something, while all the while he was participating in a destructive and sorrowful narrowing of his energy.
Moving right along, and along, and along. The way she's done all her life. Numbly. Without thinking.
That life “thus far” has meant accepting the doses of disabling information that have come her way, every drop, and stirring them with the spoon of her longing – she's done this for so many years it's become second nature.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
From her calamitous birth in Manitboa in 1905 to her journey with her father to Indiana, throughot her years as a wife, mother, and widow, Daisy Stone Goodwill has struggled to understand her place in her own life. Now she listens, she observes, and, through sheer force of imagination, she becomes a witness of her own life: her birth, her death, and the troubling miconnections she discovers in between. With irony and humor, CS weaves together the poignant story of this twentieth-century pilgrim in search of herself, and in doing so she creates a story that is a paradigm of the unsettles decades of our era. (0-14-023313-X)
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 014023313X, Paperback)

This fictionalized autobiography of Daisy Goodwill Flett, captured in Daisy's vivacious yet reflective voice, has been winning over readers since its publication in 1995, when it won the Pulitzer Prize. After a youth marked by sudden death and loss, Daisy escapes into conventionality as a middle-class wife and mother. Years later she becomes a successful garden columnist and experiences the kind of awakening that thousands of her contemporaries in mid-century yearned for but missed in alcoholism, marital infidelity and bridge clubs. The events of Daisy's life, however, are less compelling than her rich, vividly described inner life--from her memories of her adoptive mother to her awareness of impending death. Shields' sensuous prose and her deft characterizations make this, her sixth novel, her most successful yet.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:23 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

In celebration of the fifteenth anniversary of its original publication, Carol Shields's Pulitzer Prizewinning novel is now available in a Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition One of the most successful and acclaimed novels of our time, this fictionalized autobiography of Daisy Goodwill Flett is a subtle but affecting portrait of an everywoman reflecting on an unconventional life. What transforms this seemingly ordinary tale is the richness of Daisy's vividly described inner life -- from her earliest memories of her adoptive mother to her awareness of impending death.… (more)

» see all 7 descriptions

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Voland Edizioni

An edition of this book was published by Voland Edizioni.

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