Small Ceremonies

Carol Shields, Author Penguin Books $12 (194p) ISBN 978-0-14-025145-6
On the surface, there's nothing about Judith Gill that would recommend her as an ideal protagonist. She's ordinary: wife of a rather remote academic, mother of adolescents she no longer really knows, biographer of arcane subjects. But Shields's gift is in making the ordinary compelling. What's surprising in this, her first novel originally published in 1976 and released in the U.S. for the first time, are the almost playful touches, which stand in contrast to the relatively placid rhythm of her Pulitzer Prize-winning The Stone Diaries. Just when Small Ceremonies begins to look like a quiet little story about a middle-class woman in an anonymous Canadian city, Shields tosses in a twist that forces the reader to look at Judith in a new light. It's Shields's repeated juxtaposition of orderliness and spontaneity, the mundane with the unexpected, that makes Judith an appealing subject-though she wouldn't see herself that way. The consummate biographer, Judith focuses more on others than on herself. And while Shields doesn't moralize in this slight novel, if there is a message, it is this: we may think we know the people who fill our lives, but we really only know parts of them-and we're fooling ourselves to think otherwise. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1996
Release date: 01/01/1996
Show other formats
FORMATS
Hardcover - 279 pages - 978-0-7838-1830-6
Ebook - 181 pages - 978-1-4804-5952-6
Hardcover - 179 pages - 978-0-07-082340-2
Paperback - 210 pages - 978-1-4804-5956-4
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 181 pages - 978-1-4804-5955-7
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.