Wednesday, January 02, 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.