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Collected Stories [Paperback]

Carol Shields
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Mar 2005

For the first time all of Carol Shields’ remarkable short stories – some previously unpublished – are gathered together in one volume.

‘Carol Shields’ stories have given me happiness, not just pleasure’ Alice Munro

In the Collected Stories we bring together Carol Shields’ original short-story volumes, Various Miracles, The Orange Fish and Dressing Up for the Carnival, as well as many stories not previously published in the UK, including ‘Segue’, her last work.

In these stories the author combines the dazzling virtuosity and wise maturity that won so many readers to her prize-winning novels such as The Stone Diaries and Unless.

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Collected Stories + Mary Swann + Duet
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Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (7 Mar 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007192061
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007192069
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 18.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 412,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'This collection offers a timely reminder of the complexity, subtlety and sheer intelligence of her humane vision. Shield's virtuoso but unflashy skill in handling narrative structure and voice makes it easy to overlook the stories' self-conscious artistry and reflexivity, and they abound with characters who employ second-order creativity to good and bad ends. No one does the gradual dazzle better than Carol Shields.' Samantha Matthews, TLS

'Shields understood misdirection; and she always noticed what was really going on. Like Austen – whose biography was one of her last books – she knew the world's surfaces, but she also knew its depths.' Erica Wagner, The Times

‘When you’ve been reading Carol Shields, you go outside, you listen to a conversation, you think about your own life or a friend’s life, and you notice more. And for this she should be thanked’. Hermione Lee, Guardian

‘What she offers … is a study in eccentricity that relates it to the ordinary, familiar world. That's the world she never loses sight of … in what will endure of her finest fiction.’ Independent

Praise for Carol Shields:

‘Her perceptions are so quick, her style is so acute, that she can tack a breath to the page and skewer a thought on a wing. It is her speciality to isolate moments that remain distinct in the mind for years, perhaps for a lifetime.' Hilary Mantel, Sunday Times

'In her hands we believe anything can happen.' Guardian

About the Author

Carol Shields’s novels include Unless (2003), Larry’s Party (1997), winner of the 1998 Orange Prize; The Stone Diaries (1993), winner of the Pulitzer Prize and shortlisted for the Booker Prize; The Republic of Love (1992); Happenstance (1991) and Mary Swann (1990). Dressing Up for the Carnival, a bestselling collection of short stories, was published in 2000, and a previous collection, Various Miracles, was published in 1994. Born and brought up in Chicago, Carol Shields lived in Canada from 1957 until her death in 2003.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure chest of stories 10 Jun 2005
By A Customer
This is an absolutely wonderful collection of short stories and everyone should read it. Each tale is a jewel in itself. It's a great pleasure to read the work of someone at the top of their form and I'm deeply saddened by the fact that Shields is no longer with us.
Particular favourites of mine were "Mrs Turner Cutting the Grass", a story of an ordinary woman with several extraordinary moments, "Absence" - a work I think of genius, and extremely clever too, and the two stories about the marvellous Meershank. I can really only thoroughly recommend them all - it's such a pleasure to read good quality - no, the best quality - prose in a time when we seem to be offered so much that is sub-standard by publishers. I hope other publishers will follow suit in raising standards!
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing 1 Jan 2006
By imla
I'm not a fan of short stories. I prefer a novel. Short stories are really only novels that have just been shortened.
I had to read as many short stories as possible for my university course and browsing the shelves of the local library thirty minutes before closing I came across this. Carol Shields. The name rang a bell but I couldn't quite place her. I'd certainly not read any of her novels. I decided to get the book out. I liked the cover (I've got a thing for autumn leaves in the way they remind me of cold autumn days - I'm very sentimental like that). Before I got this book out (it was hardback and my bag was already heavy) I decided to read the first short story to ensure lugging it home wouldn't be a waste of time.
I became instantly hooked by the story. It was different, experimental. It kept my interest and I was eager to finish this one story so I could run to my flat and sit down with the whole collection, devouring each story like a greedy woman with a box of chocolates.
The stories appealed to me because they were exquisitely written and of interest. Carol Shields finds interest in the mundane, painting something so ordinary and dull into something magical, a little miracle. All her stories have meanings, little twists at the end. They're touching but but don't lay the sentimentality on with a trowel.
After having taken this collection of short stories back to the library I headed to my local book shop and bought it. I couldn't be without it. Whenever I am bored or low I turn to it. It is my bible.
A good short story can knock you off your feet with its amazingness. Carol Shields has knocked me off my feet and I'm still struggling to stand six months later.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A final bouquet 25 Aug 2005
By LiLa - Published on
From a too-early departed Canadian treasure. Shields could turn a phrase, or take her reader from a wink of an eye to a catch in the throat, like no one else. She was a trickster of a storyteller - start you off slow, comfortable and easy - then wham! Off you'd go into a character, or life, that delights and surprises.

The first two lines of "Pardon":
On Friday afternoon Milly stopped at Ernie's Cards 'n' Things to buy a mea culpa card for her father-in-law, whom she had apparently insulted.
"Sorry," Ernie's wife said in her testy way."We're all out."

I love the off-handed humor and grace of the phrase "apparently insulted". This last collection is a departing gift, and should be read accordingly. Each page turned slowly, each paragraph unwrapped and savored, each word read as though it was the last - "part of the bliss they would one day gladly surrender."
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Languid, Seductive, Insightful 9 Aug 2006
By Linda A. Lavid - Published on
This is a wonderful collection. Each reflective,gentle story pulls you forward with poetic, awe-inspiring detail. A joy at every level.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful stories from a gifted late writer... 3 Feb 2006
By CoffeeGurl - Published on
Carol Shields died of Breast Cancer three years ago, a sad loss of a gifted, wonderful Canadian writer. Collected Stories features several of the most wonderful stories I have read. Her quirky humor comes to life in this wonderful collection. Though the stories may come across as incredibly mundane because it deals with every day, ordinary people, said stories give a wonderful portrayal of characters you can definitely relate to. My favorite stories are "Invitations," "Taking the Train," "Pardon," "Segue," "Fuel for the Fire," and "Our Men and Women." This is a large collection of previously released stories and her last effort before she passed away called "Segue." This is a beautiful collection you won't want to miss. I read The Stone Diaries when it first came out eleven years ago and my impression now is the same one I had when I read the aforementioned novel: Carol Shields was a master storyteller.
4.0 out of 5 stars A reader in Merced 4 July 2014
By David Guzzetta - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An interesting collection of stories. Some are just description of family gatherings and the history of interactions.
2.0 out of 5 stars Just not for me 23 Jun 2014
By Cariola - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've tried several times to read the work of two of Canada's most celebrated woman writers, Carol Shields and Alice Munro. I can't pinpoint exactly why, but I just don't get the rave reviews. What some hail as understated seems to me simply boring. Both women wrote about ordinary people, usually in relatively ordinary situations. They just never really come off the page for me. They're both good at producing realistic contemporary dialogue. But when I realize that I'm turning each page, thinking, "won't this story EVER end?," it's time for me to give up and move on to more interesting writers.
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