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January 2, 2008

On A Celibate Season

Carol Shields writes to Eleanor Wachtel: “Mail in Montjouvent is always welcome. (On the odd mail-less day the postman knocks and gives me his condolences.)” From Random Illuminations.

I just finished reading A Celibate Season, and enjoyed it so much, to my relief. For I hadn’t been sure: this was co-authored with Carol Shields and Blanche Howard, as well being an epistolary novel (and I don’t think I’d read such a thing since Heloise and Abelard in an undergrad survey course). Also that it was the last Carol Shields novel I’d left to read, which has me less sad than I thought I’d be, for I am grateful instead that I got to read it at all.

I enjoyed A Celibate Season as much as I’ve loved any book by Carol Shields, which is a lot, and it was especially interesting to read in light of A Memoir of Friendship, which was the collection of Shields’s and Howard’s real-life letters. Friends and letters seem to have been twin stars in Shields’s life, and how wonderful to see their intersection in both these books.

One thought on “On A Celibate Season”

  1. August says:

    Glad to hear that you enjoyed it. I’ve been putting off reading it both because it was co-authored (I once read a quotation, I forget from who, that two people getting together to write a book is like three people getting together to have a baby; somebody is superfluous, and I mostly agree) and because it’s epistolary. I’m less reluctant now.

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