Various Miracles

Publisher: Vintage Canada
The stories collected here offer an entrancing look at some of the various miracles of everyday life, the quirks of chance and coincidence, life's setbacks and improvisations. Carol Shields deftly draws us into the lives of a broad range of sharply observed characters, from the brilliant young violinist smothered by an overprotective family, to the elderly widow mowing her lawn while a long, passionate life buzzes around in her memory.

Blending wit and compassion, Shields illuminates moments when ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances, declarations of love and revelations that transform their lives. Sharp, skeptical and sympathetic, this collection presents Shields at her inimitable best in twenty-one miracles of the storyteller's art.

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VARIOUS MIRACLES

Several of the miracles that occurred this year have gone unrecorded.

Example: On the morning of January 3, seven women stood in line at a lingerie sale in Palo Alto, California, and by chance each of these women bore the Christian name Emily.

Example: On February 16 four...
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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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PRAISE FOR

"Carol Shield's stories have given me happiness, not just pleasure. They're prismatic; they delight at first by the clear and simple elegance with which they are made, then there's something so bountiful and surprising, like beautiful broken light." —Alice Munro

"Carol Shields is a wonderful writer—wry, witty, wise and fiercely intelligent. Many of the stories in this collection are deliciously funny; all are memorable." —Janette Turner Hospital