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The Stone Diaries [Anglais] [Broché]

Carol Shields
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Description de l'ouvrage

27 mars 1997
The Stone Diaries is the story of one woman's life; a truly sensuous novel that reflects and illuminates the unsettled decades of our century.

Born in 1905, Daisy Goodwill drifts through the chapters of childhood, marriage, widowhood, remarriage, motherhood and old age. Bewildered by her inability to understand her own role, Daisy attempts to find a way to tell her own story within a novel that is itself about the limitations of autobiography.
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

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Descriptions du produit


Birth, 1905

My mother's name was Mercy Stone Goodwill. She was only thirty years old when she took sick, a boiling hot day, standing there in her back kitchen, making a Malvern pudding for her husband's supper. A cookery book lay open on the table: "Take some slices of stale bread," the recipe said, "and one pint of currants; half a pint of raspberries; four ounces of sugar; some sweet cream if available." Of course she's divided the recipe in half, there being just the two of them, and what with the scarcity of currants, and Cuyler (my father) being a dainty eater. A pick-and-nibble fellow, she calls him, able to take his food or leave it.

It shames her how little the man eats, diddling his spoon around in his dish, perhaps raising his eyes once or twice to send her one of his shy, appreciative glances across the table, but never taking a second helping, just leaving it all for her to finish up -- pulling his hand through the air with that dreamy gesture of his that urges her on. And smiling all the while, his daft tender-faced look. What did food mean to a working man like himself? A bother, a distraction, perhaps even a kind of price that had to be paid in order to remain upright and breathing.

Well, it was a different story for her, for my mother. Eating was as close to heaven as my mother ever came. (In our day we have a name for a passion as disordered as hers.)

And almost as heavenly as eating was the making -- how she gloried in it! Every last body on this earth has a particular notion of paradise, and this was hers, standing in the murderously hot back kitchen of her own house, concocting and contriving, leaning forward and squinting at the fine print of the cookery book, a clean wooden spoon in hand.

It's something to see, the way she concentrates, her hot, busy face, the way she thrills to see the dish take form as she pours the stewed fruit into the fancy mold, pressing the thickly cut bread down over the oozing juices, feeling it soften and absorb bit by bit a raspberry redness. Malvern pudding; she loves the words too, and feels them dissolve on her tongue like a sugary wafer, her tongue itself grown waferlike and sweet. Like an artist -- years later this form of artistry is perfectly clear to me -- she stirs and arranges and draws in her brooding lower lip. Such a dish this will be. A warm sponge soaking up color. (Mrs. Flett next door let her have some currants off her bush; the raspberries she's found herself along the roadside south of the village, even though it half kills her, a woman of her size walking out in the heat of the day.)

She sprinkles on extra sugar, one spoonful, then another, then takes the spoon to her mouth, the rough crystals that keep her alert. It is three o'clock -- a hot July afternoon in the middle of Manitoba, in the middle of the Dominion of Canada. The parlor clock (adamantine finish, gilded feet, a wedding present from her husband's family, the Goodwills of Stonewall Township) has just struck the hour. Cuyler will be home from the quarry at five sharp; he will have himself a good cheerful wash at the kitchen basin, and by half-past five the two of them will sit down at the table - this very table, only spread with a clean cloth, every second day a clean cloth -- and eat their supper. Which for the most part will be a silent meal, both my parents being shy by nature, and each brought up in the belief that conversing and eating are different functions, occupying separate trenches of time. Tonight they will partake of cold corned beef with a spoonful of homemade relish, some dressed potatoes at the side, cups of sweet tea, and then this fine pudding. His eyes will widen; my father, Cuyler Goodwill, aged twenty-eight, two years married, will never in his life have tasted Malvern pudding. (That's what she's preparing for -- his stunned and mild look of confusion, that tender, grateful male mouth dropping open in surprise. It's the least she can do, surprise him like this.) She sets a flower-patterned plate carefully on top of the pudding and weights it down with a stone. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Revue de presse

"Carol Shields has explored the mysteries of life with abandon, taking unusual risks along the way. The Stone Diaries reminds us again why literature matters."
The New York Times Book Review

"...Shields's storytelling is at its most ambitious and compelling."
The Toronto Star

"A beautiful, darkly ironic novel of misunderstanding and missed opportunites."

"A wise and unusual novel that makes the ordinary extraordinary...Shields reveals the mysteries of love, culture and spirituality shimmering beneath the surface of a quiet woman’s life."
Elle --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 361 pages
  • Editeur : Penguin Books; Édition : Reissue (27 mars 1997)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 014023313X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140233131
  • Dimensions du produit: 20,1 x 12,8 x 1,9 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 190.202 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
4.0 étoiles sur 5 livre facile à lire 23 juillet 2009
Par Verron
le livre stone diaries est l'un de mes romans préférés car on y découvre la vie au canada.Deplus l'écriture de carol shields est très subtile. c'est vraiement un livre agréable à lire
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 3.5 étoiles sur 5  211 commentaires
53 internautes sur 57 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Defining a life lived... 15 décembre 1999
Par Marie Rochon - Publié sur
How can one define a life lived? If we had a chance to have our life story written, and then told through the eyes of those who were closest to us, what would they say about us, and more interestingly, how accurate would they be in truly understanding the inner nuances that make each of us tick?
In "The Stone Diaries," Carol Shields attempts to chronicle the life of Daisy Goodwill. It is a life first told through the eyes of Daisy, and then through the eyes of those who presumably knew her best: her friends, children and relatives.
What is extraordinary about this book, is that one can look at a life lived in so many ways. Was Daisy Goodwill's life uneventful, lacking the excitement and freedom of her more worldly friends? Or was it a full, rich life? Only the reader can make this determination. But what is fascinating about "The Stone Diaries" is how the determination of the value of Daisy's life is so different, depending on the perspective that is taken. How much do we really know those people who we love the most? How well do we really know each other? I found this book to be a fascinating read, particularly for women who are living their life in full; however unfascinating and uneventful that may seem.
51 internautes sur 55 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 "Fictional" biography in an amalgam of styles 13 décembre 1998
Par Rick Hunter - Publié sur
Carol Shields The Stone Diaries [Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award 1995] is the story of Daisy Stone Goodwill, a Canadian woman whose mother died in childbirth, was raised by her neighbor's relatives, was widowed twice (the first time on her honeymoon), raised children, worked in a job she loved until she was fired, moved to Florida, and died. Daisy is, in one sense, an absolutely "ordinary" woman, who lives much of her life in the shadow of men. I think that it was for this reason, and the fact that she ends her life separated from her children, that my wife (and other women I know who have read this book) found the novel very depressing. I was not so struck. What came across to me was Daisy's resilience in the face of very difficult circumstances, finding some satisfaction on the world's terms. Undeniably, Daisy was not a "success" as we now view women's lives. However, she formed some successful relationships, and always seemed to put the pieces together to move from one part of her life to the next. The best example of this for me was her Florida bridge group, "The Flowers" (Daisy, Lilly, Myrtle and Glad), who became her final community after she was long widowed, and her childhood friends dead. One can regret that life has brought her to this final community, a circle of old widows in a retirement home, or note how Daisy stays on her feet and moving, from one chapter of life to the end.
One cannot read The Stone Diaries without being struck by the style -- or rather styles -- in which it is written. While clearly fiction, Shields gives the appearance of journalism by including photographs purporting to be of the various characters. The photographs give one pause -- am I reading a novel trying to be non-fiction, or a fictionalized "real life" biography? Shields also changes style, form, and voice as she goes from chapter to chapter. For example, the chapter captioned "work" takes the form of a series of letters by and about Daisy's work as a newspaper writer. There is no "narrator" or chronicler; the story is told by one letter following the next. The chapter "Sorrow" takes the form of first-person opinions, by various persons in Daisy's life, as to why she is depressed. Again, Shields has no omniscient narrator. Other chapters are told by the more conventional, omniscient third-person narrator.
I found this a wonderful book, and recommend it highly. My wife, Carol, disagrees: "I wouldn't say that this is a "bad" book and not worth reading. It just seems to capture in a very stark way the extreme ordinariness of the lives of so many women. Admittedly, not all women are destined to great things, but somehow, even the most mundane of us--provided we have a jot of self awareness--hope (and pray) that our lives have some deeper meaning and that somehow our being alive has made a positive difference. Upon reflection, may be that's what this book is about. But I can't say that I finished it with the impression that the life of Daisy Stone was really that important in the grand scheme of things. For a reader whose life isn't really any more exciting than Daisy's--that was a frightening and frankly unpleasant conclusion."
39 internautes sur 42 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Quiet Poetry 26 juillet 2003
Par James Hiller - Publié sur
It's sad when it takes the death of an author to bring her work to my attention. Carol Shields recent passing, and the accolades by some of my favorite authors about her writing inspired me to select one book of hers to read. Fortunately, I picked the Stone Diaries, and simply could not put it down until the last memorable word.
Shields picks the most unlikely person to feature in a fictional book, Daisy Stone, whose life is mundane if not predictable. After an incredible birth and beginning, we travel with her through different years of her life, somewhat seemingly picked randomly. As we read each chapter, and witness the unveiling of her life, we begin to appreciate and realize that Daisy's life isn't extraordinary, but plain and common.
What is extraordinary is that Shields chooses to give a character like Daisy this incredible voice. Underrepresented in literature, women like these exist, they exist yesterday and will exist tomorrow. Sure, they have moments of brightness in their lives, in which we see in Daisy, but it never goes over the top.
What amazed me about this book was Shields extremely fluid writing style allows you to flow through this story as if it were unfolding before your very eyes. She allows different characters to pick up the story line, and share their viewpoints. Sometimes we hear Daisy, sometimes we hear a third person narrator. Sometimes we aren't even privy to who is speaking. Shields takes amazing leaps in her writing, trusting her reader to make those connections.
I'm saddened by the loss of Carol Shields, but gladdened to know that she's left gifts of literature to discover. In the meantime, if you want a broad, amazing story, pick up Stone Diaries.
21 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A beautiful, stunning study of story-telling 27 janvier 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur
Several years ago, one of my professors recommended that I read The Stone Diaries. I finally got around to reading it last summer. From the first page, I was struck by the beautiful, evocative, almost tangible writing. Carol Shields creates distinct images with her words--I can still see Mercy in her kitchen the day Daisy was born. But the true beauty of the novel is its exploration of the role of the fiction writer. Carol Shields' novel, with its combination of autobiographical and fictive elements, becomes an important study of the way any fiction writer writes. Every writer uses elements of her or his own life, yet every writer also uses "artistic license" in order to add depth and continuity to the story--even the person writing an autobiography. Like Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness, Carol Shields, by relating Daisy's "autobiography" from birth to death, is forcing us to look at the role of the story-teller. Although Daisy is present at all the events in the novel, she isn't witness to them in the way the author describes the scenes. But Daisy possesses an imagination, and, like a writer, she creates these moments. Really, she is rewriting her life, much like any successful fiction author rewrites a life into a book. And are these fictive elements any less important than the autobiographical elements? When The Stone Diaries is declared an autobiography, readers want truth, veracity, realism. But the life Daisy imagines for herself is as real as any "true" life she would relate to the audience. An exploration of the whole of a person's life--birth to death, hard facts to imagined ones--The Stone Diaries is by far the most stunning book I have read this year. If you would like to read a beautiful display of the process of the written word and the process of one's life, read this book.
15 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A masterpiece 26 janvier 2004
Par Un client - Publié sur
Just because a book has won a Pulitzer (like this one) is no guarantee that I'll like it. In fact, I often steer clear of books that have won major awards; it seems that they rarely live up to the hype.
The Stone Diaries is an exception. THis book is worth reading just to experience Shields' prose style. Her voice is like no one else's: incredibly self-assured and intelligent without ever seeming pretentious. She uses words many writers have probably never even heard of (keep your dictionary handy) while managing to keep her work lively and readable.
This is "experimental" fiction (another thing I usually avoid, but again, The Stone Diaries is an exception). At first, the novel seems to have a conventional plot, but as you read, you'll find your expectations are constantly subverted-- one of the great pleasures of this book. In the end, you'll find the book has challenged more than your views about fiction. You may find yourself questioning much deeper beliefs, perhaps asking, along with the protagonist, Daisy Goodwill: "What is the story of a life?".
Like all great novels, this one deals in existential topics. What is life really about? Why are we here? What does an individual life --that seemingly random sequence of events-- really amount to? And, like the masterpiece it is, this book will disturb your mind with questions, without offering easy answers.
If you're looking for a quick read at the airport or the beauty salon, this is not the book for you. But if you appreciate exquisite writing that makes you ponder deeper truths, try the Stone Diaries.
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