Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Carol Shields Memorial Labyrinth -- Introduction


Carol Shields was one of Canada's finest novelists. Born in the USA, she married a Canadian man and came to live in Winnipeg. She worked as an English professor at the University of Manitoba and afterwards was chancellor of the University of Winnipeg. Her novel, The Stone Diaries, won the 1993 Governor General's Award for Literature in Canada and also the 1995 U.S. Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

One of her most beloved novels is Larry's Party, which won the 1998 Orange Prize for Fiction. Set in Winnipeg, the story recounts the life story of Larry Weller, described by Shields as an "ordinary man made extraordinary" by his unique talent for creating mazes and labyrinths.


I have enjoyed reading several of her books, especially Larry's Party. Carol Shields had amazing insight and perception into human nature. A committed feminist, she drew on her own deep understanding and experiences as a woman, wife and mother.

Carol Shields died of breast cancer in 2003 at the age of 68. Her loss was keenly felt right across the country but especially in Winnipeg, of course.

Tomorrow: Memorializing Carol Shields in Winnipeg

25 comments:

Snap said...

I think I still have my copy of The Stone Diaries,

Francie M said...

A well known and respected Canadian author. I haven't read Larry's Party, Debra, but it sounds like an intriguing read. Going to the virtual library today so I'll see if I can track it down.

DEZMOND said...

sorry to hear she died, she was still relatively young.

Jim said...

I have always admired Carol Shields' courage and talent. She set an example for us all to attempt to emulate. I know I have Larry's Party here some where which I haven't read. Thanks for the nudge Debra.

mxtodis123 said...

I've not read any of her works, but what a wonderful memorial you gave to her. She must have been very special.
Mary

Lois said...

I tried, tried, tried to read her but never succeeded. She was such a treasure, maybe I'll try again now that I am older. Lol.

Anne said...

Somehow I have managed to miss reading this author. And as a woman, I should have know about her. I shall rectify that. Lovely tribute and looking forward to tomorrows post.

mrsduncanmahogany said...

The first and only book I read was Larry's Party. It left me so horribly depressed for about a month afterwards, I was scared to read any more of her books! Perhaps I should have started with another?

SUZY8-TRACK said...

I've never read any of her books, but now I'm curious to read Larry's Party.

Betty said...

She had a great smile! I'm going to have to read her books. Thanks!

My Grama's Soul said...

Oh Debra....I loved "The Stone Diaries".....I'm going to read "Larry's Party". She was indeed a wonderful writer and woman.

Jo

Robin Larkspur said...

Debra, you have introduced me to an author I should know about.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Oh, I've never read anything from this author. I must look into this. May she rest in peace...

Elsie said...

What a fantastic tribute, Debra. She looks so familiar...I wonder if I've seen her in a documentary?

LaelShine said...

Larry's Party is on my list of all time favourite books. We sure lost a wonder when she died. So sad. I'm happy to have found her books and enjoyed her work so much.

Laurent said...

I remember her well. Indeed a fine writer.

Jeanne said...

Interesting.... I will have to look up her books. :0)

Sulky Kitten said...

I haven't come across any of her novels, I will have to investigate now because I love discovering new authors.

Joyful Things said...

As well as being a great writer she had a lovely voice and every once in a while she would be on CBC reading excerpts from her books and answering questions about them and I was mesmerized. 5 kids, a house, a job, a husband and she still found time to write great stories. Just typing this makes me feel like a slacker!

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

will try and find the books so I can read them.

Tricky Nag said...

Such a terrific writer who gave us so very many good reads. I saw her at a book reading 20+ years ago and I was riveted. She could have read me the whole book that night.

As for Larry's Party, I read it after I'd heard her interviewed about it. She said she wanted each chapter to stand alone. You didn't need all the chapters and you didn't necessarily need them in order. I was disappointed in the book and didn't like it all -- until my English Lit sister-in-law pointed out that it read much like a maze in that you take a wrong path and need to backtrack over a part of the maze you've already walked. After hearing that, the novel seemed so much more clever!!

Magic Love Crow said...

I am going to have to look into getting some of her books! Thanks so much Debra ;o)

Introverted Art said...

what an amazing author and what a legacy she left behind.

Birdie said...

I read a LOT and don't always remember the books I read but remember Larry's Party.

CraveCute said...

Thanks for introducing me to this fabulous author. She sounds like she was a remarkable person. May she rest in peace. ~Diane~