Review of 'The Stone Diaries'

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

stone_diaries.jpg A truly imaginative and troubling novel telling the fictional story of Daisy Goodwill from her traumatic birth in rural Canada to her not so dramatic death in Florida. Daisy's story is generally unremarkable but for the people her live touches and the tragedy she experiences. Her initial marriage cut short by her husband's death while they were on honeymoon then her more long-term second marriage to a much older man who cared for Daisy as a child after the death of her mother. We learn of her breakdown after the death of her second husband as she tried to find her place in the world leading to a short career taking up writing a gardening column from her dead spouse. When the column is taken from her she once again suffers a crisis in figuring out where next.

I found the novel quite confusing as to whether this was fact or fiction particularly with the photographs in the middle of the book and the general autobiographical nature of the material. The story is told by a somewhat distant narrator and often by Daisy herself though there are sections containing the internal thoughts of others. There are yet other chapters containing nothing but letters. All of this means the book is much more interesting to read than you might expect. Most of the time the reader is left to put the story together by the evidence presented piece by piece after the fact.

The story is one of a woman troubled by a life of tragedy struggling to find her place and a purpose in her life. A fascinating read and very well written, recommended – if not a bit cautiously if you expect to read a normal novel narrative…

Rating:

Review Date: 2018-04-07


Genre: General Fiction

Publisher: Fourth Estate

Publication Date: 1993

ISBN: 1857022254