October 27, 1997
Random House Canada
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0679308776
ISBN - 13: 9780679308775
Read from the Book
Chapter OneFifteen Minutes in the Life of Larry Weller1977By 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 sharp, and it was rush hou
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, her fictional biography of Daisy
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.
"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.