August 01, 2008

The Stone Diaries - Carol Shields

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields is a book I was reading for both the Orbis Terrarum and the 1% Well-Read Challenges.

I must confess that I have in fact read the book before - as a part of a university english course over 10 years ago. I remember enjoying the book when I read it then but I think I possibly enjoyed (and appreciated) it more this time around.

The Stone Diaries tells the story of Daisy Goodwill - an "ordinary" woman with a seemingly "ordinary" life - but Carol Shields has a way of making the ordinary seem really extraordinary. The books follows Daisy's life from birth in a rural Canadian town in 1905 through her life, two marriages, 3 children and various homes. Sounds ordinary doesn't it?? I think this book is anything but ordinary. At times I don't really connect with the person Daisy is - perhaps it's a time/distance thing - but I want to keep reading her story. I'm connected to what is happening to her.

The book is written in a unique style, narrative interwoven with letters, newspaper clippings, diary entries and lists. These are techniques I really enjoy in novels - it opens up the story for me and brings in various perspectives which wouldn't come across in a one person narrative.

Carol Shields is an amazing author, I would recommend all of her books to people looking for seemingly everyday stories made extraordinary.


Danielle said...

This is one of those books I keep meaning to read. I love the format she writes in. I really do need to get around to it, but I think I've always wondered if maybe the story wasn't just too ordinary and I would get bored. Glad to hear that is not the case.

Karen said...

Hi Danielle - when you look back on the book you do think "what actually happened??" but it certainly doesn't feel like that when you are reading it - you just become absorbed in Daisy's world I think.