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Carol Shields

Carol Shields novel Mary Swann is published in this country by Fourth Estate. She teaches at the University of Manitoba.

In Ontario

Carol Shields, 7 February 1991

The Canadian writer Alice Munro once likened a good short story to a commodious house whose every room possesses an exterior door. So accommodating a house, she wrote, is capable of admitting visitors through any number of openings, just as a story can be entered by way of its separate sections or paragraphs or even its individual sentences or words. The rewards for the reader, she suggests, have to do with language rather than with the sequence of narrative, the rhythm and surprise of linguistic persuasion overriding the fortunes of those who populate the pages of novels – what these characters want and what they eventually get.

Carol Shields

Elaine Showalter, 11 July 2002

The debate about women’s writing – is it too restricted, domestic and love-obsessed, in contrast to the more sweeping, historical, socially aware and experimental novels of men?...

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Sunny side up

Penelope Fitzgerald, 9 September 1993

‘The Stone Diaries’ (though there are in fact no diaries, they are said to have been lost) because everyone raised in the Orphans’ Home in Stonewall Township, Manitoba is given...

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Heads and Hearts

Patrick Parrinder, 28 May 1992

‘Last week, in another part of the city, a human head turned up.’ The severed head which opens Peter Conrad’s first novel suggests that contemporary fiction might be defined by...

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Among the quilters

Peter Campbell, 21 March 1991

Asya, the heroine of Michael Ignatieff’s novel of revolution and exile, is born into an aristocratic Russian family in 1900. As a child, she nearly drowns walking out over the thawing ice...

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Mary Swann’s Way

Danny Karlin, 27 September 1990

Jane Austen’s work seems, at first, hospitable to that literary parasite, pastiche: there isn’t much of it, so ersatz continuations or alternative narratives must satisfy the hunger...

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