Shields, Carol

Various Miracles

More Canadian Short Fiction? You damned well bet– just check the calendar. On that note, I’m starting to think Carol Shields herself is somewhat of a miracle. For starters, look at this, from an interview on Canada as a landscape for writers:

“We’re not big on heroes, either. The concept of heroes is alien. And I think that’s a very telling piece of our national ethos – no one deserves to be better than anyone else.”

If I didn’t already secretly pine for Canada on an almost daily basis, this tips the scales to metric. And here’s another quote, which (for any Carol Shields scholars) I’d love to find in its original context and in full:

“I’m concerned about the unknowability of other people…. That’s why I love biography and the idea of the human life told or shown. Of course, this is why I love novels, too. In novels, you get to hear how people are thinking. That’s why I read fiction.”

In my (not nonexistent) experience, fiction is worth loving as it brings the reader insight into what an author must think is unknowable about people, which is often extremely dissimilar to what I find unknowable about people. But I think the gist is there.

A disclaimer: You should know that this is the story that opens the collection of the same name. You should also know that the stories in this collection, while not mutually dependent, are definitely mutually more fascinating. Which is just a tip that if this is your cuppa, you should run out and snag yourself a copy, and read every last one.