Carol Shields: Dressing Up for the Carnival

I read The Stone Diaries ages ago and so when I was at the library recently I grabbed Dressing Up for the Carnival off the shelf.  Short stories are actually really good for me right now, because it don’t feel bad returning a book of short stories half-read and I don’t forget what was going on in the plot because they’re easily digestible units.

This is a lovely collection of stories – they mostly deal with identity and how people negotiate it.  The first one, “Dressing up for the carnival” reminded me so much of how I used to actively manage my self-presentation (I wonder if Shields has read The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life?).  I liked “The Scarf” because I had an inkling that all was not going to go well but I wasn’t quite sure how, and “Absence” was just very clever.

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