SMALL CEREMONIES by Carol Shields

SMALL CEREMONIES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The modest and occasional title quite defines this Canadian writer's first novel (Mrs. Shields, like her central character-narrator here, has written a biography of Susanna Moodie, a pioneer precursor.) Over a period of several months Judith, an observer, an assimilator of detail she often extends, realizes the middle-aged equilibrium of her marriage. In this case it is not a question of restlessness or boredom, rather of mutual disinterest. She has paid little attention to her professor husband's work on a new pictorial technique of interpreting Milton, his sphere. While she sits back watching the directions her two adolescent children are taking; gathering further evidence against their so-called friend, Furlong, an awful sham and exploiter, who has stolen the materials of a successful novel; spending a month with the flu and its aftermath of depression; adjusting her view of life and other lives as she realizes that it's all a question mark in the eye of the beholder. Mrs. Shields is an astute and agreeable writer, and her book is just right for what it is--annotations of existence, a hiatus for the end of the day.

Pub Date: May 16th, 1976
Publisher: McGraw-Hill