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The Stone Diaries (1993)

by Carol Shields

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,1231061,449 (3.75)1 / 453
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)

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English (101)  Dutch (3)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (105)
Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
This wonderful novel follows Daisy Stone Goodwill's life, starting with her unusual birth in 1905 and her subsequent journey through the decades. Told mostly from the view points of people, that were closest to her, including letters and photographs. The writing is smart, vivid and beautiful. I am glad I finally got to this award-winning gem. ( )
  msf59 | Mar 25, 2020 |
Okay but not fantastic. ( )
  reg_lt | Feb 7, 2020 |
I really enjoyed this book. It tells the story of the life of a woman, from birth to death. ( )
  BonnieLymer | Dec 6, 2019 |
On the surface, this is the story of the life of a typical woman who lived from 1905- 199*. Daisy Goodwill Flett doesn't do much that is remarkable. She is orphaned at a young age but adopted by a neighbor. Marries twice, is a housewife and mother, finds a job after her husband's death as a gardening columnist, suffers from depression when she loses her job, finds her way back into a comfortable old age, and dies.

At first as a reader, I sort of wondered, what is the point? But there is a lot to ponder here. Lots about how society views women, how women's lives changed over the century, and what sort of voice a woman has. The book is titled The Stone Diaries which led me to believe this would be a first person account of a woman's life with lots of personal reflection. But actually, almost everyone gets to comment on Daisy except for Daisy herself. Her friends, children, neighbors all voice observations about Daisy and her life, but only at a few points is Daisy herself allowed a voice about her own life.

Another matter for pondering is the genre of historical fiction itself. This book is set up to make you believe that it is a fictionalized account of real people. There are pictures included of the family, letters that could easily be real, a family tree, etc. So I wondered if Shields was commenting on the genre. She made me think about what is important in historical fiction? How much needs to be true vs. the importance of depicting life in an era whether it's "true" or not. Is Daisy's fictional life any less true than an account of a "real" woman who lived over this era would be?

What I loved about this book is that it can be read on many different levels, one of the marks of a great book for me. ( )
  japaul22 | Jul 8, 2019 |
I enjoyed the story. Daisy Goodwill Barker spent her life responding to events and people, and not really actively making many choices. She lead an average life as so many people do. I enjoyed sharing her life's ride. Shields wove in the voices of many and their views of Daisy and it gave an interesting perspective. ( )
  gayjeg | Apr 25, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 101 (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 (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shields, Carolprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gossije, MarianneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lively, PenelopeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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)
For my sister Babs
First words
My mother's name was Mercy Stone Goodwill.
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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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)
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Voland Edizioni

An edition of this book was published by Voland Edizioni.

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