Friday, September 22, 2017

'The Box Garden' by Carol Shields

22 September 2017

I had forgotten how much I like the work of the Canadian novelist Carol Shields. Very much like Anne Tyler, Carol Shields (who died in 2003) wrote domestic dramas where something threatens to disrupt the pattern of day-to-day family life forcing the main character to reflect on her life and her future. I have just read ‘The Box Garden’ - a 1977 novel by Carol Shields which I found in a charity shop and it has rekindled my enthusiasm for her books. It is a very subtly but cleverly plotted novel. You are not sure where it is going to take you but by the time something dramatic happens to challenge the status quo the various members of the family at the heart of the story have been so well drawn that you can predict how each of them will react to the situation. It’s a beautifully written tale and has made me want to return to some of my favourite Carol Shields novels such as ‘Larry’s Party’ and ‘The Stone Diaries’.



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