The Stone Diaries
By Carol Shields
What it’s about?
Widely regarded as a modern classic, The Stone Diaries is the story of one woman’s life; that of Daisy Goodwill Flett, a seemingly ordinary woman born in Canada in 1905.
Beautifully written and deeply compassionate, it follows Daisy’s life through marriage, widowhood, motherhood, and old age, as she charts her own path alongside that of an unsettled century.
A subtle but affective portrait of an everywoman reflecting on an unconventional life, this multi-award-winning story deals with everyday issues of existence with an extraordinary vibrancy and irresistible flair.
What I think:
I have to confess I haven’t finished this book yet. It’s so immersive it just didn’t feel right to rush finishing it.
The Stone Diaries was first published in 1993 and won the Pulitzer Prize. It has been republished with a new forward by Margaret Astwood.
The book tells the story of Daisy Goodwill Fleet, born in Canada in 1905.
Its starts in the first person, in the style of a traditional autobiography, but it soon switches narrative perspectives and becomes a richer and more imaginative exploration of a woman’s life.
The book is divided in 10 sections that chronical Daisy’s life:
Birth,Childhood, Marriage, Love, Motherhood, Work, Sorrow, Ease, Illness and Decline, and Death.
Her birth and childhood and told very much from the point of view of the adults in her life. How they response to her birth and the death of her mother, Mercy, the decisions they make on her behalf and the way the regard her as a child. The everyday details of childhood seem less important from the distance of time and age.
I absolutely loved the descriptions of her mother, Mercy. She is such an unlikely romantic heroine and yet inspires complete devotion from her husband.
This book makes the mundane every day life of people the heart of tale. Birth and death, love and marriage, work and domesticity, loss and grief. The language is beautiful and makes the every day extraordinary.
I am loving this book so far and am so glad I was given the chance to read it.
About the author:
Carol Shields (1935–2003) was born in the United States, and emigrated to Canada when she was 22. She is acclaimed for her empathetic and witty, yet penetrating insights into human nature.
Her most famous novel The Stone Diaries was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, along with the Governor General’s Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Happenstance was praised as her tour de force, masterly combining two novels in one. The international bestseller Mary Swann was awarded with the Arthur Ellis Award for best Canadian mystery, while The Republic of Love was chosen as the first runner-up for the Guardian Fiction Prize.
In 2020, the Carol Shields Prize for Fiction, a North American literary award dedicated to writing by women, was set up in her honor. Her work has been published in over 30 languages.
Thank you World Editions for gifting me a copy of the book and to Anne Cater for inviting me to join this wonderful blog tour.