Orange Prize and Pulitzer Prize-winning Carol Shields’ tender, funny and wonderfully insightful portrait of two sisters struggling to rediscover themselves amidst the perplexing swirl of family life.
Judith is a biographer whose life is subsumed by others: her eccentric husband, her secretive children and the Victorian novelist who is her subject. Her sister Charleen is a single mother and lapsed poet. While Judith analyses the minutiae of lives past and present, Charleen battles her own past ghosts and wonders desperately what her life has been about. As their mother’s wedding approaches, both sisters must come to terms with the paths they have chosen.
Originally published as two companion novels: Small Ceremonies and The Box Garden.
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‘Carol Shields sings with the charm of a true siren.’ Guardian
‘Carol Shield’s prose is addictive. Her writing is both smoothly intelligent and sensually immediate, conflating concrete domestic realities with the elemental and miraculous.’ Sunday Telegraph
‘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
‘Shields is about the best we have. She does not just express what oft was thought; she snags the shadows of those thoughts, the thoughts we did not know we had. The effect – at once elating and visceral – feels like a conjurer pulling a handkerchief from your heart.’ Daily TelegraphFrom the Author:
I've always thought of my first two books as 'companion' novels, a term I seem to have invented. Small Ceremonies was published in 1976, and, a year later, 1977, came The Box Garden. There is no sense of this second book being a sequel to the first, but a number of threads connect them. Above all, they are about two women, Judith and Charleen, who happen to be sisters.
The mother of the two womem also appears in both novels. Mrs McNinn is an sour, disenfranchised housewife whose only relief is found in the manic redecorating of her small suburban house. Judith, a biographer, is scarecly touched by her mother's narrowness; Charleen, on the other hand, has always been thwarted by her bitter mother.
These are both short novels, and the idea of publishing them together makes sense to me. Each enriches and fills out the other, and together they lead to the sisters' discovery of what their mother really is; an artist who, like themselves, stumbles toward that recognition.
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Book Description Book Condition: New. Depending on your location, this item may ship from the US or UK. Bookseller Inventory # 97800071716750000000
Book Description Fourth Estate, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 400 pages. 7.80x5.43x1.02 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # __0007171676
Book Description HARPER COLLINS, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: NEW. 9780007171675 This listing is a new book, a title currently in-print which we order directly and immediately from the publisher. Bookseller Inventory # HTANDREE0981731
Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0007171676