Collected Stories (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
Carol Shields is better known and more respected as a novelist than she is as a short-story writer, having established her reputation with her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Stone Diaries (1993). “Light and breezy” is a phrase often used to describe her short stories. Whereas Shields appears most interested in the realistic exploration of character in her novels, her stories seem primarily intent on examining ideas; these stories are frequently little “what if” concept pieces or considerations of common objects and phenomena. To call Shields’s stories experimental, as many reviewers have, may be to dignify them with more weight than she intended to give them. One critic has described her witty fictional forays as “Borges-lite,” but that, too, may connote more philosophical implications than many of her stories deserve. After all, the word “experimental” perhaps should not be confused with “fooling around” with little narrative essays on the metaphoric significance of such things as keys, or windows, or the weather.
Shields once told an interviewer that her earliest writing began with short stories. Although the form was not one that interested her much, she said that she did not think she could write a novel until she served some sort of apprenticeship in the shorter form. After writing several forgettableas she termed...
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
Atlanta Journal and Constitution, February 13, 2005, p. 6L.
Booklist 101, no. 8 (December 15, 2004): 709.
Kirkus Reviews 73, no. 3 (February 1, 2005): 149.
Library Journal 130, no. 1 (January, 2005): 104.
Los Angeles Times, February 6, 2005, p. R8.
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The San Diego Union-Tribune, February 6, 2005, p. B1.
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