Various miracles

by Carol Shields

Paper Book, 1985





New York, N.Y. : Penguin Books, 1989, c1985.


The small miracles of our day-to-day lives are on captivating display in this unforgettable collection by Pulitzer Prize winner Carol Shields Various Miracles brings together twenty-one short stories, modern parables that illuminate the mysteries of everyday existence. In the title story, four strangers on a bus are all reading the same book. In “Fragility,” Ivy’s husband reflects on their marriage, the death of their young son, Christopher, and the plane ride that will deliver them to a new life. From “The Metaphor Is Dead – Pass It On” to “Home” to “Others”—in which a couple’s act of generosity is repaid in annual Christmas cards with no return address—this collection is by turns witty, inventive, and moving. Whether portraying a violinist yearning to break free of overprotective parents or an elderly widow mowing her lawn to the thunderous timpani of memory, Carol Shields depicts the struggles of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances. It’s a world where magic coexists with reality, and where leaps of faith and acts of kindness create their own miracles.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member tandah
LIked it, didn't love it. Prefer her novels - which in a sense tie a number of linked short stories together.
LibraryThing member saresmoore
This collection of gentle and engaging stories was a joy to read, cover to cover. Carol Shields highlights ordinary characters in everyday circumstances, but as the title implies, she weaves in an element of the not-quite-normal in each vignette. Her writing in this collection is marked by an optimistic realism with a nod to the idea that coincidences allude to a more significant connections between people and circumstances than we often are willing to observe. It's not all peaches and cream or happy endings, there is reality in the mundanity, but the life of each of the quirky characters is tainted by just a hint of the surreal.

I love Shields' writing style and her attention to detail alongside enduring wisdom is evident in her carefully crafted stories. Some of the stories fell a little flat for me, others grew a bit too monotonous or boring. But each character/life study afforded a perspective from which I wanted to see, and in that, it is a truly impressive and lovely collection.
… (more)


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