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SMALL CEREMONIES by Carol Shields

SMALL CEREMONIES

By Carol Shields

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-14-025145-6
Publisher: Penguin

 The 1995 Pulitzer Prize winner's first novel, originally distributed in the US by McGraw-Hill. To quote the Kirkus review that ran in our May 1, 1976, issue: ``The modest and occasional title quite defines this Canadian writer's debut (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 material of a successful novelist; 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.'' A welcome and well-deserved second life for a story now almost 20 years old.