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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sympathetic and very human account of marriage
An unusual book in which the stories of a wife and husband are told separately, the reader being left to choose which to read first. Brenda and Jack have been married for twenty years when they have to spend five days apart. The novel concentrates on their thoughts and experiences while they are separated, describing with bittersweet truthfulness the small compromises...
Published on 1 Dec. 2001

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad
It was a magazine review that made me buy this book. A story about a lasting marriage. Not the usual 'new love' or 'break up' story.
And yes it had some very interesting opinions from the perspective of the husband and the wife. Occasionally it even makes you think about your own relationship and it's future. It's a good read but far less engaging than I hoped for.
Published on 12 Aug. 2008 by K. Mueller


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, 12 Aug. 2008
By 
K. Mueller "so many books" (auckland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Happenstance (Paperback)
It was a magazine review that made me buy this book. A story about a lasting marriage. Not the usual 'new love' or 'break up' story.
And yes it had some very interesting opinions from the perspective of the husband and the wife. Occasionally it even makes you think about your own relationship and it's future. It's a good read but far less engaging than I hoped for.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sympathetic and very human account of marriage, 1 Dec. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Happenstance (Paperback)
An unusual book in which the stories of a wife and husband are told separately, the reader being left to choose which to read first. Brenda and Jack have been married for twenty years when they have to spend five days apart. The novel concentrates on their thoughts and experiences while they are separated, describing with bittersweet truthfulness the small compromises that occur to make marriage last.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happenstance - Carol Shields, 8 Feb. 2015
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RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Happenstance (Paperback)
Shields is one of the unsung heroes of the novel, as far as I'm concerned. I am sad to see her books slowly slipping out of print.

She is a championer of the remarkable in the normal, she gives weight to life, to the mildly contented among us. This novel (or two novels) treads the same kind of lines. It's a novel about a marriage, about how everyday lives are as historic as a won/lost battle. It's knowing and beautiful. She knows men and women and their internal lives so very, very well. Indeed, she writes men better than any other female novelist I've read - the first novel here, and Larry's Party, are my favourites among her work, and I think this is in large part due to the quality of the way she illuminates male minds. Indeed, the second novel here did drag a bit (all that quilting!), but the masterly first part more than made up for that.

She was a great novelist.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mundane, 19 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Happenstance (Kindle Edition)
This book bored me and my entire Book Circle - what was she thinking? Whatever it was she didn't achieve it with this particular book.
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Happenstance
Happenstance by Carol Shields (Paperback - 3 Mar. 2003)
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