I am reading for the second time a brilliantly written book ‘Unless’ by Carol Shields. It is one of those books which you cant get enough of-the sumptuousness of the words, the palpable-ness of the feelings, just drives me a little crazy because i dont know how to do this book justice. I stop myself every few pages forcing myself to go over what i have read, to make sure i havent missed out on some line of great personal importance. Every idea, every incident in this book has its root in the simple truth and that is why you want to make it your world for as long as possible. I also try copying down certain paragraphs to read later-maybe with tea, or before going to bed. Everytime i am interrupted, i re-read the page.

I open it and i am temporarily disconnected from the world-yet very tuned in to my world.

Sections like, ‘happiness is the lucky pane of glass you carry in your head. It takes all your cunning just to hang on to it, and once its smashed you have to move into a very different sort of life.’ or ‘she had become conscious of the lifelong dialogue that goes on in a person’s head, the longest conversation any of us has. oh hello its me again. and again. The most interesting conversation we’ll ever know and the most circular and repetitive and insane. Please not that woman again. doesnt she ever shut up?’ are so familiar. she puts down very effectively what we all feel and think.

‘if we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.’
George Eliot (used by carol shields as a start to her book)


One thought on “Unless

  1. jammie says:

    i bought this book when you told me a while back that it was something you could imagine relating to me. what i love particularly about it are the chapoter titles. once. nearly. every. yet. all tying up into an unless. love the seductive power of words.

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