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Two novels in one, Happenstancetells the story of a marriage from the individual perspectives of a husband and wife at a turning point in their relationshipWhen we meet Brenda Bowman in The Wife s Story, the forty-year-old mother of two is preparing to fly to Philadelphia to attend a craft convention that will feature one of her quilts. She already has the flight memorized: leaving Chicago at 8:35, arriving at Philadelphia at 1:33. This will be her first trip solo, her first time away from her husband, Jack, in their decades-long marriage. She s nervous, excited . . . and tempted when she meets an intriguing stranger. The Husband s Story introduces Jack Bowman, a historian who is left at home with his troubled son and overweight daughter while his wife, Brenda, attends a craft convention. Not used to coping on his own, he s suddenly confronted with domestic calamities, including the disintegration of his best friend s marriage. And when he learns that an old flame has published a book on the same topic that Jack has been laboring on for years, Jack s self-doubt reaches crisis proportions.Happenstanceis an intimate portrait of a marriage in transition. History, to Jack, is not the story itself. It s the end of the story. "
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About the Author

Carol Shields (1935-2003) was born in Oak Park, Illinois. She studied at Hanover College, the University of Exeter in England, and the University of Ottawa. In 1957, she married Donald Shields and moved to Canada permanently. She taught at the University of Ottawa, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Manitoba, and served as chancellor of the University of Winnipeg. She wrote ten novels and three short story collections, in addition to poetry, plays, criticism, and a biography of Jane Austen. Her novel The Stone Diaries won the Pulitzer Prize, the Governor General's Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award; it was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Shields was further recognized with a Canada Council Major Award, two Canadian National Magazine Awards, the Canadian Authors Association Award, and countless other prizes and honors.

Reviews

"A perfect little gem of a novel." --Toronto Star "As Shields handily demonstrates here, a marriage is the culmination of a million tiny moments, and she strings them together with intense cumulative power. . . . a tour de force." --Publishers Weekly"A delightful portrait of a partnership, full of quirky humour between two people who are at once familiar and strangers to each other. . . . A celebration of marriage." --The Times (London)"Shields is an acute recorder of contemporary mores. . . . Happenstance resounds with a humanity and a generosity that is truly memorable." --The Daily Telegraph A perfect little gem of a novel. Toronto Star As Shields handily demonstrates here, a marriage is the culmination of a million tiny moments, and she strings them together with intense cumulative power. . . . a tour de force. Publishers Weekly A delightful portrait of a partnership, full of quirky humour between two people who are at once familiar and strangers to each other. . . . A celebration of marriage. The Times(London) Shields is an acute recorder of contemporary mores. . . .Happenstanceresounds with a humanity and a generosity that is truly memorable. The Daily Telegraph" A perfect little gem of a novel. "Toronto Star" As Shields handily demonstrates here, a marriage is the culmination of a million tiny moments, and she strings them together with intense cumulative power. . . . a tour de force. "Publishers Weekly" A delightful portrait of a partnership, full of quirky humour between two people who are at once familiar and strangers to each other. . . . A celebration of marriage. "The Times"(London) Shields is an acute recorder of contemporary mores. . . ."Happenstance"resounds with a humanity and a generosity that is truly memorable. "The Daily Telegraph"" "A perfect little gem of a novel." --"Toronto Star ""As Shields handily demonstrates here, a marriage is the culmination of a million tiny moments, and she strings them together with intense cumulative power. . . . a tour de force." --"Publishers Weekly""A delightful portrait of a partnership, full of quirky humour between two people who are at once familiar and strangers to each other. . . . A celebration of marriage." --"The Times" (London)"Shields is an acute recorder of contemporary mores. . . . "Happenstance "resounds with a humanity and a generosity that is truly memorable." --"The Daily Telegraph"

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