Unless by Carol Shields
A Novel

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Forty-four-year-old Reta Winters, wife, mother, writer, and translator, is living a happy life until one of her three daughters drops out of university to sit on a downtown street corner silent and cross-legged with a begging bowl in her lap and a placard round her neck that says "Goodness."

The final book from Pulitzer Prize-winner Carol Shields, Unless is a candid and deeply moving novel from one of the twentieth century's most accomplished and beloved authors.


About Carol Shields

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Carol Shields is a writer and critic who was born on June 2, 1935 in Chicago and grew up in Illinois. Shields resided in Canada, where she was the Chancellor of the University of Winnipeg, and a professor at the University of Manitoba. Shields's first novel, Small Ceremonies, was published the week of her 40th birthday. Her other works of fiction include The Orange Fish, Larry's Party, Various Miracles, and The Stone Diaries, which received the Governor's General Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Shields has also been awarded the Canadian Bookseller's Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the CBC Prize for Drama. She died on July 16, 2003.
Published March 17, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 340 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Unless

The Guardian

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Unless Carol Shields Fourth Estate £16.99, pp224 Carol Shields has always been a beguiling writer.

May 12 2002 | Read Full Review of Unless: A Novel

The Guardian

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Unless by Carol Shields 224pp, Fourth Estate, £16.99 The chapter headings of Carol Shields's new novel take the form of prepositions and conjunctions - Notwithstanding, Despite, Whatever, etc.

Apr 27 2002 | Read Full Review of Unless: A Novel

Book Reporter

(Shields herself, in a May 1, 2002, interview on National Public Radio, has said that a different experience --- hearing that one of her daughters had been hit by a car --- was decisive.) Diagnosed in 1998, Shields is now at Stage 4 and, according to a profile in the New York Times Magazine by Ma...

Jan 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Unless: A Novel

The Bookbag

Summary: Writer and translator Reta Winters is trying to write a sequel to her first novel when she has to come to terms with the fact that one of her daughter has dropped out and is now begging on a street corner.

Nov 25 2012 | Read Full Review of Unless: A Novel

London Review of Books

Recently Gillian Beer even announced the death of the traditional women’s novel: instead of the masochistic themes of unrequited love, she said at the Hay Festival, ‘women have freed themselves to write more forcefully about much larger networks, wars, families, communities, national change, terr...

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Project MUSE

It's one of several chapter headings she uses with a rationale that doesn't come completely into focus until near the end, when, with her usual delicacy, she writes: A life is full of isolated events, but these events, if they are to form a coherent narrative, require odd pieces of language t...

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