All her life Reta Winters has enjoyed the useful monotony of happiness with a loving family and growing success as a writer. Then her eldest daughter suddenly withdraws from the world to sit on a street corner, uncommunicative but for a sign around her neck bearing one word: GOODNESS.
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Lorelei King reappears as sole narrator of the novel which won a coveted gold at last week's Spoken Word Publishers' Association awards, the audio Oscars. The book is Unless (HarperCollins £12.99), the last to be written by the late Carol Shields. Its narrator has three teenage daughters, the oldest of whom has taken to begging on a street-corner. By the end we know why. Nothing else, to speak of, happens. Yet these few hours of listening offer an intensity of distilled wisdom. Strung out on the tension of dread, Shields writes – and King reads – with consummate discretion, profundity, humour and elegant precision about ambition, family and the desperation of helpless love – though such clunking terms do little justice to this chiselled masterpiece of anguish and appreciation. Suffice to say that you just might lend this audio to your very best friend. But you will certainly fret until you get it back. Audiobooks: By Sue Gaisford 28 September 2003.From the Back Cover:
'I'm not interested, the way some people are, in being sad. I've had a look, and there's nothing down that road… Well now! What about the ripping sound behind my eyes, the starchy tearing of fabric, end to end; what about the need I have to curl up my knees when I sleep?'
Reta Winters, aged 44, has started a new sort of life. She has discovered the meaning of loss for the first time.
For all of her days, Reta has enjoyed the useful monotony of happiness: a loving family, good friends, growing success as a writer of light fiction, novels 'for summertime'. Then her eldest daughter suddenly withdraws from the world, abandoning university, family and loving boyfriend to sit on a street corner, uncommunicative but for a sign around her neck bearing one word, 'GOODNESS'. The anguish of her loss leads Reta into a desperate search for the possible causes of her daughter's retreat. Casting her net ever wider, her enquiry turns into an unflinching, often very funny meditation on our society and where we find meaning and hope.
Warmth, passion and wisdom come together in Shield's remarkably supple prose. At once the discomforting, ultimately consoling story of one family's anguish and a searing portrait of life at the dawn of the twenty-first century 'Unless' is a dazzling and daring novel from the undisputed master of extraordinary fictions about so-called 'ordinary' lives.
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Book Description HarperCollins AudioBooks. 4 Cassettes. Book Condition: VG. Audiobook. Read by Lorelei King. Hard plastic cases that hold 2 cassettes each have some rubbing; no outer box (if it ever had one); cassettes in good shape. Bookseller Inventory # 21428
Book Description HarperCollins AudioBooks. 4 Cassettes. Book Condition: VG. Dust Jacket Condition: na. Audio Book. VG na 4 Cassettes Read by Lorelei King. Hard plastic cases that hold 2 cassettes each have some rubbing; no outer box (if it ever had one); cassettes in good shape. Bookseller Inventory # 8994