FREE UK Delivery on book orders dispatched by Amazon over £10.
Only 3 left in stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Unless has been added to your Basket

Dispatch to:
To see addresses, please
Or
Please enter a valid UK postcode.
Or
FREE Delivery on orders over £10.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Appears to have been read. Missing shrink-wrap, activation codes for bonus online content may be missing or expired. Medium mark / wear on the front cover. Small wrinkle / bend on the front cover. Small mark / wear on the back cover. Small wrinkle / bend on back cover. All purchases eligible for Amazon customer service and a 30-day return policy.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Unless Paperback – 3 Mar 2003

3.4 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
£8.99
£2.47 £0.01
Note: This item is eligible for click and collect. Details
Pick up your parcel at a time and place that suits you.
  • Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
  • Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
How to order to an Amazon Pickup Location?
  1. Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
  2. Dispatch to this address when you check out
Learn more
£8.99 FREE UK Delivery on book orders dispatched by Amazon over £10. Only 3 left in stock. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Special offers and product promotions


Frequently bought together

  • Unless
  • +
  • Too Much Happiness
Total price: £18.97
Buy the selected items together

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.



Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; New Ed edition (3 Mar. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007137699
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007137695
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 147,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
    If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?

Product description

Amazon Review

Unless offers us engrossing proof--if ever we needed it--that Carol Shields is a writer of incomparable creative agility, wit and tenderness. In her eight novels (including Orange Prize-winner Larry's Party and two short-story collections she has continued to combine an extraordinary inventiveness with prose of suppleness and grace. Her terrain is the domestic and her thematic ambitions are delivered with a beguiling lightness of touch that never undercuts a depth and seriousness of intent--the perfect velvet glove over the iron fist.

Towards the end of Unless its central character, fortysomething Reta Winters--wife, mother, editor, translator and recent novelist--takes issue with how an eminent critic has belatedly bestowed status on her first novel, My Thyme is Up. What had been judged until then as her "fresh, bright springtime piece of fiction" has become... 'a brilliant tour de force', says Professor Casey, and this quote will, of course, appear on the jacket of the sequel...in the same size type as the name Reta Winters, but I am trying not to think what that means." This is just one of countless delicious asides (yet none of Shields' asides are ever throwaway) which Reta makes in her light, self-mocking tone; indeed, she sees herself as a woman for whom "tragedy was someone not liking my book".

But into her happy family comes a situation which overshadows all else: the eldest of Reta's three daughters becomes a bag lady on a Toronto street corner, obsessed by goodness, but refusing to speak or be spoken to. This threnody of loss and grief, and Reta's consequent self-questioning, is at the heart of the narrative. Running alongside are chapters taking up Reta's other selves, each narrated in a very different register: Reta as the translator of French feminist texts; Reta as purposeful, and increasingly driven letter writer on the subject of women's exclusion; the frayed author trying to complete her sequel, Thyme in Bloom, in the face of harassment by an editor of woefully dumb and obdurate incomprehension. This woman of many parts allows Shields to reflect--wittily, thoughtfully, playfully, and with wicked subversiveness--on issues of power, on the nature of goodness, the meaning of family, and the place of women. Crucially, she asks how--or even whether--women's voices are heard and "read", how they are (re)interpreted, and given value in the culture. It is these brave and still necessary, if no longer "fashionable", questions, and Carol Shields' enormous capacity to entertain so wisely and unflinchingly, that make Unless such a joy to read.--Ruth Petrie --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

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 the wing. It is her speciality to isolate moments that remain distinct in the mind for years, perhaps for a lifetime.’ Hilary Mantel, Sunday Times

‘Few writers could make a book about what it means to be alone this charming.’ Observer

‘A wonderful, powerful book, written in a style which combines simplicity and elegance. Deeply moving.’ Joanne Harris

‘Shields writes like an angel, awesome in the intelligence of her observations and never less than elegant in expressing them.’ David Robson, Sunday Telegraph

‘It takes the vessel of fiction in its hands and hurls it to the floor…a masterpiece.’ Rachel Cusk, New Statesman

‘As poised and wise a novel as any you will read this year.’ Tim Adams, Observer

‘Our most intelligent and beguiling observer…”Unless” is her most raw and intentful novel yet.’ Penny Perrick, Sunday Times

‘Her wisdom and generosity of spirit are visible at every turn.’ Sunday Times

See all Product description

What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?


Customer reviews

Top customer reviews

on 23 May 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 10 June 2002
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
0Comment| 41 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 November 2002
Format: Hardcover
0Comment| 32 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 1 June 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 20 August 2002
Format: Hardcover
0Comment| 40 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Would you like to see more reviews about this item?

Most recent customer reviews


Look for similar items by category

Where's My Stuff?

Delivery and Returns

Need Help?