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

Friday, April 12, 2024

"Fragility" - A Short Story by Carol Shields - included in The Collected Short Stories of Carol Shields- 2004

"Fragility"- A Short Story by Carol Shields - included in The Collected Short 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.

The Carol Shields Literary Trust Website has an excellent biography 

"Fragility" is the 12th Short Story by Carol Shields I have the great pleasure of reading.

As the story opens a couple married some twenty years are on a plane, flying over the Rocky Mountains on their way to Vancover..  They are moving there because the husband has been transferred, they are searching for a house to buy,   in January their son died at age 15.

It is not easy to bring a 20 year marriage to life in nine pages but Shields does it brilliantly.

"WE ARE FLYING OVER THE ROCKIES on our way to Vancouver, and there sits Ivy with her paperback. I ask myself: Should I interrupt and draw her attention to the grandeur beneath us? In a purely selfish sense, watching Ivy read is as interesting as peering down at those snowy mountains. She turns the pages of a book in the same way she handles every object, with a peculiar respectful gentleness, as though the air around it were more tender than ordinary air. I’ve watched her lift a cup of tea with this same abstracted grace, cradling a thick mug in a way that transforms it into something precious and fragile."

We follow them as a real estate agent shows them  numerous houses.

Like her other stories the prose is exquisite and the wisdom from a deep source.


Suko said...

Lovely, fine description in this story! I would like to read Shields' short stories now.

Buried In Print said...

I found this story unexpectedly moving. The emotion creeps up on you. Even though you kind of intuit what's happened, she really taps into the heart of it all.

I also appreciate how often she contemplates home and how we belong and what we invest into a space we inhabit over time and what we leave behind us when we go, in a space and in one another's lives.