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4 of 5
1 rating
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rated!
list price: $19.95
also available: Paperback Paperback
category: Fiction
published: May 2006
ISBN:9780864923929
imprint: BTC Audiobooks

Unless

by Carol Shields, dramatized by Susan Coyne

reviews: 1
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literary, canadian
4 of 5
1 rating
rated!
rated!
list price: $19.95
also available: Paperback Paperback
category: Fiction
published: May 2006
ISBN:9780864923929
imprint: BTC Audiobooks
Description

Reta Winters leads a picture perfect life. She is a successful romance writer, she has three wonderful daughters, a good-looking husband, a house in the country and a dog named Pet. Everything seems wonderful, until her eldest daughter inexplicably drops out of university to panhandle on the streets of Toronto. As Reta watches helplessly, Norah sits mute on the corner of Bathurst and Bloor, with a sign around her neck that reads "Goodness." Like the novel, this moving full-cast dramatization by Susan Coyne circles back and forth over Reta's recent past as she frantically tries to understand what unhinged her daughter. All the while, she shows the world that she is fine by meeting friends for coffee, keeping up the house and the family routine, and working on the sequel to her best-selling first novel, as she tries to recover the rhythms of her happy former happy life — even if nothing seems sure anymore. Unless was the last novel Carol Shields published before her death. It was originally published as a hardcover by Random House in 2002 and appeared as a Vintage paperback in 2003. Unless was shortlisted for Britain's Booker Prize, the Commonwealth Prize, the Giller Prize, and the Governor General's Award.

About the Authors

Carol Shields

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Susan Coyne

This audio edition of Kingfisher Days is whimsically narrated by the author, Susan Coyne, who delicately transforms herself into a quiet and serious five-year-old without a trace of the forced childlikeness one expects from adults playing children. Susan Coyne has played leading roles at theatres throughout Canada and abroad. She is a founding member of Toronto's Soulpepper Theatre, for whom she co-adapted Anton Chekhov's Platonov (with László Marton). She also adapted Kingfisher Days into a stage play, which was first produced at Tarragon Theatre in February and March 2003.
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Unless by Carol Shields

At forty-three, Reta Winters has settled into a groove of happy living. She lives in a big Ontario farmhouse with her doctor husband, their three daughters, and a greedy Golden Retriever named Pet. When the girls are at school, she writes, mostly English translations of the French feminist Danielle Westerman, who was one of her professors years ago. More recently, however, she has tried her hand at writing novels and has enjoyed some critical acclaim.

And then one awful Saturday morning, Reta's family gets a phone call. The town librarian has spotted Norah, the daughter who is away at university, sitting on a street corner in Toronto, holding a cardboard sign that says “Goodness.” Norah’s hair is matted, she is grubby, and she refuses to speak. More importantly, she refuses to come home. She has left her boyfriend, dropped out of school, and has dedicated herself to some sort of inner quest for goodness that can only be achieved by sitting on the corner of Bloor and Bathurst. Reta’s happiness is shattered, and she applies her newly broken self to understanding her troubled, searching daughter.

A celebration of language and a brilliant examination of goodness, greatness, and a woman’s place in the world, Unless continues in the tradition established by Simone de Beauvoir’s Les Belles Images.

This review also appears on my blog at www.theteatimereader.wordpress.com

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