Front Cover
Fourth Estate, 2003 - American fiction - 320 pages
749 Reviews
The dazzling novel from Carol Shields, author of The Stone Diaries, winner of the Pulitzer prize, and Larry's Party, winner of the Orange prize. 'Breathtaking...a masterpiece.' Geoffrey Wansell, Daily Mail Reta Winters has a loving family, good friends, and growing success as a writer of light fiction. Then her eldest daughter suddenly withdraws from the world, abandoning university to sit on a street corner, wearing a sign that reads only 'goodness'. As Reta seeks the causes of her daughter's retreat, her enquiry turns into an unflinching, often very funny meditation on society and where we find meaning and hope. Unless is a dazzling and daring novel from the undisputed master of extraordinary fictions about so-called 'ordinary' lives.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: Unless

User Review  - Goodreads

Carol Shields' last book, Unless, is an especially droll masterpiece, appealing especially to this reader as both a woman and a writer. Narrator Reta Winters is both, and this book takes a look at ... Read full review

Review: Unless

User Review  - Goodreads

This was a great book with a sort of feeble climax. For all the intense focus that the main character has on her daughter's situation, I would've hoped to see more than a one paragraph wrap up of how ... Read full review


Section 1
Section 2
Section 3

35 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2003)

Carol Shields's novels include Larry's Party (1997), winner of the 1998 Orange Prize; The Stone Diaries (1993), winner of the Pulitzer Prize and shortlisted for the Booker Prize; The Republic of Love (1992); Happenstance (1991) and Mary Swann (1990). Dressing Up for the Carnival, a bestselling collection of short stories, was published in 2000, and a previous collection, Various Miracles, was published in 1994. Born and brought up in Chicago, Carol Shields has lived in Canada since 1957. She was the Chancellor of the University of Winnipeg.

Bibliographic information