Larry's Party

Kobo eBook available

read instantly on your Kobo or tablet.

buy the ebook now

Larry's Party

by Carol Shields

Random House Canada | October 27, 1997 | Hardcover

Larry's Party is rated 3.6875 out of 5 by 16.
The Stone Diaries marked a new phase in a literary career already ablaze with achievement. As well as the many international awards it received, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Governor General''s Award, the book also met with universal critical acclaim and topped bestseller lists around the world. "Carol Shields," raved Maclean''s, "has crafted a small miracle of a novel." "The Stone Diaries," said the New York Times Book Review, "reminds us again why literature matters."

The San Diego Tribune called The Stone Diaries "a universal study of what makes women tick." Now, in Larry''s Party, Carol Shields does the same for men.

Larry Weller, born in 1950, is an ordinary guy made extraordinary by his creator''s perception, irony and tenderness. Larry''s Party gives us, as it were, a CAT scan of his life, in episodes between 1977 and 1997 that flash backward and forward seamlessly. As Larry journeys toward the new millennium, adapting to society''s changing expectations of men, Shields'' elegant prose transforms the trivial into the momentous. We follow this young floral designer through two marriages and divorces, his interactions with parents, friends and a son. And throughout, we witness his deepening passion for garden mazes -- so like life, with their teasing treachery and promise of reward. Among all the paradoxes and accidents of his existence, Larry moves through the spontaneity of the seventies, the blind enchantment of the eighties and the lean, mean nineties, completing at last his quiet, stubborn search for self.

Larry''s odyssey mirrors the male condition at the end of our century with targeted wit, unerring poignancy and faultless wisdom.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 339 pages

Published: October 27, 1997

Publisher: Random House Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0679308776

ISBN - 13: 9780679308775

Found in: Fiction and Literature

save 52%

  • Out of stock online

$1.99  ea

Online Price

$3.99 List Price

Cart

This item is eligible for FREE SHIPPING on orders over $25.
See details

Easy, FREE returns. See details

Item can only be shipped in Canada

Downloads instantly to your kobo or other ereading device. See details

All available formats:

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Good The last chapter in this book is titled “Larry’s Party”. And by the time you get to the end of this book, it’s been quite a party. There are a lot of things that happen to Larry as you read this book. He gets married, he becomes a father, he divorces, he moves to another country, he marries again. But those are just life events that happen to Larry. “Larry’s Party” is much more than life events. It’s about how Larry reacts to these events, how he views his life, how he comes to terms with the things that happen to him, how he comes to accept his life just the way it is and be grateful for the journey he’s been on. Larry is a maze maker. The theme of mazes runs throughout the novel…very aptly I might say. My own mind was a maze as I read…the words taking me back into my own life. There is a very truthful, poetic way that Shields write about the way we “grow up” and the paths we take to getting there.
Date published: 2012-07-26
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Didn't enjoy this one. This is the first book I've read by this author and I don't think I'll try another if this is her typical fare. It's an uninteresting story about an ordinary man with an uninteresting life. I kept hoping to at least see some character growth over the main character's lifetime. But he really doesn't grow much as a person, he just keeps plodding through his dull life. Not one I would recommend.
Date published: 2010-05-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Entertaining and Interesting This is the first novel of Shields' that I've read, and I found her writing to be excellent. Her characters are ordinary people, but her writing makes them extraordinarily fascinating. Although her main character is a man, Larry Weller, this is a book that can be enjoyed by both sexes, as both will be able to identify strongly with Larry's struggle to find his own place in life. The themes of mazes and nicknames are original and fascinating. I read this novel after seeing the musical stage version, and I must say, the creators of the play did an excellent job adapting this work -- if you get a chance, check it out. My only complaint about the novel is that it's written almost like a series of short stories -- each section is capable of standing alone -- but that means that, in the later sections especially, some repetition of explanations and events occurs. It's usually well handled, but on one or two occasions, is a wee bit overdone. Still, a great novel overall and a very fun and thought provoking read.
Date published: 2001-04-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A wo-man book Smart. Full of irony. Nothing less than one of the best novel I have ever read. The exploration of a man's life... made through the eyes of a women. "Larry's Party" is a pure poem relating a 20 years long odyssey : Larry Weller search of self.
Date published: 2001-02-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from What a party This is the warm and touching story of the life of an ordinary modern man. Career moves, relationships, crisis of identity that came with age, the come and go of friendships and a strong desire to get lost and "find oneself" again are all encountered by Larry - an ordinary person whose inconspicuous passions and achievements had made him at once an unremarkable person. Carol Shields' Larry's Party takes us through the life and times of an ordinary person who struggles to understand himself throughout his own dreamy emotions and events, mirror our own. We are introduced to Larry as a young man, beginning his first unpromising job. Shields takes us gently through his life - two marriages, an unexpectedly successful career, fatherhood, the tragedies and joys of family life, and at last, upon the final party of the title. Though Larry eventually turned out to be more successful then he ever seemed to deserve, Larry's story is not much of an endless struggle to achieve a goal or an unstoppable adventure to pursuit a dream. But rather, through Shields' beautiful and sensitive writing, it is more of a real and therefore more deeply touching story of a man whose life happens to him.
Date published: 2000-10-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Larry's Party I had great expectations of this book but they were not satisfied. Kept waiting for something meaningful to happen, but the story was really just a description of a nice guy and his rather boring life. I enjoyed the prose, but without a good story, I am afraid it was not enough for me.
Date published: 2000-09-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Thoroughly "Nice" read It's hard to rate this book because although it is not exciting or impossible to put down the writing is good. Carol Shields writes about nice things in ordinary lives. She writes well, and gives one many pauses for thought throughout the story. I find I can relate to her writing, and indeed, have often wished to have a notebook handy to jot down some of her homegrown "truths". Bottom line: worth reading, but I wouldn't stay up late for it.
Date published: 2000-08-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Predictable I found this book repitious and dull. I decided to read the book based on the fact that I have read many of Sheild's other works and enjoyed them so much. I found this one to be very different from her other books. On a more personal level, I found the main character to be uninteresting and predictable.
Date published: 2000-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Topiary Maze Of A Book If you're looking for an exciting, rollicking, thrilling, laugh-a-minute adrenaline-pumping good read, GO AWAY!! On the other hand, if you're looking for a gentle, quirky, fascinating novel, pick this up. Larry's life is like one of his mazes; it wanders backwards and sideways, but it ends up where it has to go. If you're willing to take this book on its own terms and follow the path without worrying about getting somewhere, it's well worth it.
Date published: 2000-06-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Larry's Party Larry's Party ranks among the most satisfying, intelligent works of fiction I've ever read. I found myself smiling often, laughing out loud, re-reading passages so delightfully perceptive, marvelling at the joyous prose and incisive wit of Carol Shields. 5 stars!
Date published: 2000-06-23
Rated 1 out of 5 by from LARRY'S PARTY THIS BOOK WAS TO SLOW NOTHING HAPPEND.
Date published: 2000-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from You won't put this one down! Larry's Party is a book that the reader is drawn to. The way in which Carol Shield's captures the life of the main character, Larry Weller, is truly incredible. She manages to make the reader identify with and really feel like they know Larry. Wonderful!!!
Date published: 1999-09-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! A book written by a woman, describing a man's life. Quite philosophical, makes you think about your own life and where it's going. I couldn't put it down.
Date published: 1999-05-30
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Repetitious This novel might have been better (and shorter)had Shields not constantly repeated herself . Each chapter seemed to contain whole passages, written almost word for word from previous chapters. It reminded me of NYPD Blue, where at the beginning of each show they run clips from previous shows so that we can follow the current episode. I understand her allegorization of the maze of life but found it deliberate and distracting.
Date published: 1999-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Larry's Party This is Carol Shields' most humourous novel so far, filled with quirky observations. The main character, Larry, builds garden mazes for a living. I enjoyed watching Larry's life unfold. Its twists and turns (not unlike a maze!) take him on a path that comes full circle at the end of the book. Reading this from a woman's perspective, I also found this book's analysis of a man's thoughts and emotions to be interesting and at times, surprising. Recommend this to fans of Anita Shreve or Anne Tyler.
Date published: 1999-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Larry's Party This is the first Carol Shields novel I have ever taken the time to read and I am very impressed. The author has a wonderful mastery of the English language and I thoroughly enjoyed her clever double entendres and creative turns of phrase. This novel tells the story of Larry Weller -- his youth, his marriages, his career (from florist to hedge maze architect), culminating in a wonderful, surprising, provocative dinner party hosted by a very nervous Larry. I will not hesitate to recommend this book.
Date published: 1998-12-14

– More About This Product –

Larry's Party

by Carol Shields

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 339 pages

Published: October 27, 1997

Publisher: Random House Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0679308776

ISBN - 13: 9780679308775

Read from the Book

Chapter One Fifteen Minutes in the Life of Larry Weller 1977 By mistake Larry Weller took someone else’s Harris tweed jacket instead of his own, and it wasn''t until he jammed his hand in the pocket that he knew something was wrong. His hand was traveling straight into a silky void. His five fingers pushed down, looking for the balled-up Kleenex from his own familiar worn-out pocket, the nickels and dimes, the ticket receipts from all the movies he and Dorrie had been seeing lately. Also those hard little bits of lint, like meteor grip, that never seem to lose themselves once they''ve worked into the seams. This pocket -- today’s pocket -- was different. Clean, a slippery valley. The stitches he touched at the bottom weren''t his stitches. His fingertips glided now on a sweet little sea of lining. He grabbed for the buttons. Leather, the real thing. And something else -- the sleeves were a good half inch longer than they should have been. This jacket was twice the value of his own. The texture, the seams. You could see it got sent all the time to the cleaners. Another thing, you could tell by the way the shoulders sprang out that this jacket got parked on a thick wooden hanger at night. Above a row of polished shoes. Refilling its tweedy warp and woof with oxygenated air. He should have run back to the coffee shop to see if his own jacket was still scrunched there on the back of his chair, but it was already quarter to six, and Dorrie was expecting him at six shar
read more read less

From the Publisher

The Stone Diaries marked a new phase in a literary career already ablaze with achievement. As well as the many international awards it received, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Governor General''s Award, the book also met with universal critical acclaim and topped bestseller lists around the world. "Carol Shields," raved Maclean''s, "has crafted a small miracle of a novel." "The Stone Diaries," said the New York Times Book Review, "reminds us again why literature matters."

The San Diego Tribune called The Stone Diaries "a universal study of what makes women tick." Now, in Larry''s Party, Carol Shields does the same for men.

Larry Weller, born in 1950, is an ordinary guy made extraordinary by his creator''s perception, irony and tenderness. Larry''s Party gives us, as it were, a CAT scan of his life, in episodes between 1977 and 1997 that flash backward and forward seamlessly. As Larry journeys toward the new millennium, adapting to society''s changing expectations of men, Shields'' elegant prose transforms the trivial into the momentous. We follow this young floral designer through two marriages and divorces, his interactions with parents, friends and a son. And throughout, we witness his deepening passion for garden mazes -- so like life, with their teasing treachery and promise of reward. Among all the paradoxes and accidents of his existence, Larry moves through the spontaneity of the seventies, the blind enchantment of the eighties and the lean, mean nineties, completing at last his quiet, stubborn search for self.

Larry''s odyssey mirrors the male condition at the end of our century with targeted wit, unerring poignancy and faultless wisdom.

About the Author

Born in Oak Park, Illinois, in 1935, Carol Shields moved to Canada at the age of twenty-two, after studying at the University of Exeter in England, and then obtained her M.A. at the University of Ottawa. She started publishing poetry in her thirties, and wrote her first novel, Small Ceremonies , in 1976. Over the next three decades, Shields would become the author of over twenty books, including plays, poetry, essays, short fiction, novels, a book of criticism on Susanna Moodie and a biography of Jane Austen. Her work has been translated into twenty-two languages. In addition to her writing, Carol Shields worked as an academic, teaching at the University of Ottawa, the University of British Columbia and the University of Manitoba. In 1996, she became chancellor of the University of Winnipeg. She lived for fifteen years in Winnipeg and often used it as a backdrop to her fiction, perhaps most notably in Republic of Love . Shields also raised five children — a son and four daughters — with her husband Don, and often spoke of juggling early motherhood with her nascent writing career. When asked in one interview whether being a mother changed her as a writer, she replied, “Oh, completely. I couldn’t have been a novelist without being a mother. It gives you a unique witness point of the growth of personality. It was a kind of biological component for me that had to come first. And my children give me this other window on the world.” The Stone Diaries ,
read more read less

From Our Editors

Pulitzer Prize and Governor General's Award-winning author Carol Shields turns her attention to what makes men click in Larry's Party. The life journey of Larry Weller begins in 1950; we follow him through his interaction with parents, friends, wives and son as the narrative switches seamlessly between 1977 and 1997. Shields' gift for plainly elegant and romantic prose elevates her character's life from the mundane to momentous, revealing the truths that are present in all our lives.

Editorial Reviews

"This triumphant novel runs in delicious counterpoint to Shields'' evocation of Daisy Goodwill''s life in the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Stone Diaries.... The novel glows with Shields'' unsentimental optimism and her supple command of a sweetly ironic and graceful prose." — Publishers Weekly

"Shields'' fiction — intricately plotted machines with ordinary people as the moving parts—seems so modestly designed to give pleasure and diversion, it''s easy to underestimate the artistry.... Shields has taken her place alongside such Canadian writers as Alice Munro and Margaret Atwood." — The Globe and Mail

"Even better than The Stone Diaries.... Shields is brilliant." — The Vancouver Sun

"No more richly satisfying novel, to my knowledge, has been published this year.... In guiding her hero through his maze, Shields demonstrates once again her supreme mastery of emotional geometry." — The Sunday Telegraph (U.K.)

"Larry''s Party is a celebration of manhood, a gently humorous look at the last decades of this century, and a loving embrace of all our muddled lives. Anyone who reads this book will look at their own lives with renewed affection." — Gail Anderson-Dargatz, author of The Cure for Death by Lightning


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Item not added

This item is not available to order at this time.

See used copies from 00.00
  • My Gift List
  • My Wish List
  • Shopping Cart