I'm not interested, the way some people are, in being sad. I've had a look, and there's nothing down that road. Well now! What about the ripping sound behind my eyes, the starchy tearing of fabric, end to end; what about the need I have to curl up my knees when I sleep?
For all of her life, 44 year old Reta Winters has enjoyed the useful monotony of happiness: a loving family, good friends, growing success as a writer of light 'summertime' fiction. But this placid existence is cracked wide open when her beloved eldest daughter, Norah, drops out to sit on a gritty street corner, silent but for the sign around her neck that reads 'GOODNESS.' Reta's search for what drove her daughter to such a desperate statement turns into an unflinching and surprisingly funny meditation on where we find meaning and hope.
Warmth, passion and wisdom come together in Shields' remarkably supple prose. Unless, a harrowing but ultimately consoling story of one family's anguish and healing, proves her mastery of extraordinary fictions about ordinary life.
New York Times Book Review
The Stone Diaries reminds us again why literature matters.
Marvelously idiosyncratic, passionate and wise, Shields' tenth novel rollicks from beginning to end with sauciness and wit.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A fine book, poignant, witty, rich in character, vivid in its sense of place...surprisingly suspenseful.
San Francisco Chronicle
A novel of... assured intelligence and defiant vivacity.
A superb new novel...a graceful coda, an arabesque performed over an abyss.
Starred Review. Often quietly heartbreaking...often, bitingly humorous.
A landmark book that constitutes yet another noteworthy addition to Shields's impressive body of work.
Booklist - Brad Hooper
Shields shares with fellow Canadian Alice Munro not only her Ontario milieu but also a gift for psychological acuity expressed in limpid, shimmering prose.
With yet another delectable investigation into human folly, Shields helps launch a new imprint at HarperCollins.
Anita Shreve, author of Sea Glass
A brave, profound, and quirky novel with an undercurrent of the deeply amusing.
Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat
A wonderful, powerful book, written in a style which combines simplicity and elegance. I found it deeply moving.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Amy B
This book is excellent. Very touching . Carol Shields you did it again . . . You've made the Big One! This book is very compeling and very heart touching.
Rated of 5
by Helen H
I found the book very difficult to engage with, as I felt the author was juggling too many themes and that she had not a clear strategy for combining these themes in order to make the book a complete entitity. The characterization was very... Read More
Rated of 5
by Erin McGrath
Unless will be a book that lives on in my heart. It has touched me deeply in a way I can only try to begin to explain. I started reading this book shortly after I found out my sister was murdered and I thought I would find commonality between Norah... Read More
Rated of 5
by Shirley Johnson
I am so grateful for Carol Shields and her works. I know it can't be true, but it always seems as though the words just pour out onto the page effortlessly. It is difficult to say why a book "hits" you, but one way I judge it for myself... Read More
From Tatiana de Rosnay, author of the New York Times bestseller Sarah's Key, A Secret Kept plumbs the depths of complex family relationships and the power of a past secret to change everything in the present.
Research shows that 90% of Americans value public libraries(Dec 11 2013) According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, about 90% of Americans aged 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an...