Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, March 10, 2024

"Pardon" - A Short Story by Carol Shields - Included in The Collected Stories of Carol Shields- 2004

This year, Buried in Print, a marvelous blog I have followed for over ten years,is doing a read through of the short stories of Carol Shields. I hope to participate fully in this event.

The more I read in the stories of Carol Shields the more grateful I am to Buried in Print for turning me on to her work. There are sixty some stories in the collection,it is my hope to read and post on them all in 2024.

"Pardon", a brief three page work, is quite a deviation from the previous eight stories by Carol Shields I have previously read.  The characters are not heavily involved with creating or reading literature.  

The story opens in a small town card shop.  A woman has offended her father-in-law and wants to buy an apology card.

"ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON MILLY STOPPED at Ernie’s Cards ’n’ Things to buy a mea culpa card for her father-in-law, whom she had apparently insulted. “Sorry,” Ernie’s wife said in her testy way. “We’re all out.” Milly found this hard to believe. The card rack was full. You could buy a happiness-in-your-new-home card or a mind-your-own-beeswax card, even a spectacular three-dollar pop-up card announcing to the world that you were feeling underappreciated. Surely there was such a thing as an I’m-sorry card. “You can believe what you want,” Ernie’s wife said. “But we’re sold right out. At the start of the week I had at least a dozen sorry cards in stock. We had a real nice selection"

The story goes into why the store  sold out of apology cards.

"Pardon" has more of a comic tone than the prior stories.

The Carol Shields Literary Trust Website has an excellent biography


1 comment:

Buried In Print said...

This really does seem like another kind of story altogther, doesn't it. I can imagine reading it at the end of a magazine or something (I wonder if it was ever published like that, as Mavis Gallant's stories were.)

But even though it's so short, I still flagged a few lines. Like this one: "By the time the sun burst through, many of the passengers had exchanged names and phone numbers and announced to each other how cleansing a good storm can be, how it sweeps away unspoken hostilities and long-held grudges."