Small Ceremonies

Publisher: Vintage Canada
The superb first novel from the author of The Stone Diaries, winner of the Governor General's Award, a National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

Judith Gill is a well-respected biographer who desperately wants to write fiction. When she joins her academic husband on sabbatical in Birmingham, she finds on the shelves of their rented flat the notes of a failed novelist. With considerable guilt, Judith decides to plagiarize one of the ideas and brings it home to Canada to work on. Frustrated by the creative process but determined to be more imaginative, Judith attends writing classes and later discovers that her tutor, suffering from writer's block, has ripped off 'her' idea. Once again, Shields focuses her sharp gaze on the small ceremonies of life in this novel of rare intelligence and wit.

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September

Sunday night. And the thought strikes me that I ought to be happier than I am.

We have high tea on Sunday, very Englishy, the four of us gathered in the dining ell of our cream-coloured living room at half-past five for cold pressed ham, a platter of tomatoes and sliced radishes. Slivers of...
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READING GUIDE

1. Carol Shields spoke of becoming a writer because there weren’t enough books that examined women’s friendships and women’s inner lives — or, as she put it, “the kind of book I wanted to read but couldn’t find.” In what ways does Shields’s fiction bring the lives of women...

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