^DOWNLOAD ⇱ Happenstance: Two Novels in One About a Marriage in Transition ☠ PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB free

Rather than reading the wife s story and then the husband s story or vice versa , I read a few chapters of one and then a few chapters of the other, back and forth, until I reached the end I m glad I read it this way because I enjoyed comparing what each was doing thinking at roughly the same point in time Shields writes both dialogue and interior thought very well Her characters, especially Jack and Brenda, feel completely alive and well fleshed out She makes seemingly ordinary lives interesting I must say that one of my complaints about much contemporary literary fiction is the language I realize that in today s world many people curse use vulgar words frequently, but I grow tired of seeing it in print I think Shield s book would have felt just as authentic minus the cussing. Very odd not being able to find the edition I have but the story was a good one Read the Husband s account first and then his wife s. This is hard to review, mainly because I really enjoyed the husband s story which I read first , which had humour, pathos, and original and captivating scenes, such as the long walk home though the snow, and the sub plot of Bernie Koltz s marital woes Then I read the wife s story, and found Brenda Bowman and her quilts and her not an actual affair and no real damage done dalliance with Barry Ollershaw to be really tedious Odd Same author, same novel, but one half immensely enjoyable, and the other an unrewarding chore Carol Shields is a great writer, and I loved all the retro details very well done and the parents struggles to relate to their just become teenaged children So overall this was really good I just felt Brenda Bowman was so bland Even when she turned Barry on with her green polyester blouse, it sadly failed to set my pulse racing. Happenstance is the story of five days in the life of two people Brenda, who is a professional quilter and has left for a craft conference in a different city, and Jack, her husband, a historian who is now alone with their two children for the first time.Originally, these two parts were published separately, but I read a version that combined the two I decided to read the husband s story first In spite of darker elements, this part was a warm bath, just a wonderful place to spend time in because of the family dynamic The wife s story was taking placein her mind her isolation from her family for those few days made her think about her life in retrospect, which is something she otherwise doesn t do Carol Shields did something special here Out of five pretty mundane days on both ends, she creates a marriage, and she is especially good at focussing on what each of them doesn t know or underestimates or doesn t consider about the other person She didn t stick to this too schematically, fortunately, she only pinpoints some aspects that show how people can be married for twenty years and still not know every single thing about each other I also love her sense of humour and irony For example, she creates a historian who doesn t trust the written text and keeps trying to convince his best friend of the lack of reliability that is the historical record Related point Shields is so good at keeping lightness from turning into levity.What I also like is that although she created these characters, Shields doesn t really form any judgment in the two novellas In all their clarity and simplicity, the stories make you consider your own values about life, values, choices, family, and relationships.It s my goal to read every novel Shields has written, but if I ve warmed you to Shields and you only want to read one, please read The Stone Diaries, my favourite of hers so far. Carol Shields is the Midas of the mundane On the cover of my copy, Happenstance is described as two novels in one about a marriage in transition Indeed, depending on which way you turn and open the book, you will get 200 pages narrated by Jack or Brenda Bowman In the husband s story, Jack is at home coping with domestic crises and two uncouth adolescents while immobilized by self doubt and questioning his worth as an historian In the wife s story, Brenda, traveling alone for the first time, is in a strange city grappling with an array of emotions and toying with the idea of an affair It is hardly a tantalizing premise, and spoiler alert absolutely nothing sensational happens Then why read Happenstance, why claim it is exceptional Without glibness or Hobbesian gloom, in the grand scheme of things, human beings fortunate enough to have steady food and shelter will mostly lead small, quietly intricate lives Shields establishes this as a rarity, then renders the details fascinating It is no coincidence that Brenda is a quilt maker, and Jack is a historian Shields gives slow, subtle nods to various catastrophic pasts realities, then seems to asks, what happens when devastating external interferences are peeled away For the vast majority of humanity, the Bowmans exist in a suburban utopia Their problems are pared down to the most inevitable of things losing parents, rearing offspring, struggling to forge connections, processing one s own impending mortality Shields handling of universal hurdles is remarkable No flashy plotlines, no distracting postmodern pretensions Just clear, crisp realist prose with a few brilliant dips into surrealist imagery Another type of two for one Sheilds held double citizenship CanadianUS making it possible for her to win the most prestigious prizes in both counties GGPulitzer She damned well deserved them Forgive the flight of fancy, but when I read her work I am tempted to picture her chucking at aspiring writers, saying Kids, don t try this at home.You will lapse into trite, sentimental, boring, worthless BS Yes, go experiment with regurgitating a dictionary or puncturing new holes in the collective moral code You need superhuman insight to write about mundane things. The Goodreads system ate my review and I don t have time to reconstruct it Too bad it was a good review. This book was a delightful surprise It closely meets my criteria for an enjoyable book movie in being the story of basically dull people to whom nothing much happens in other words, people like me who are changed by life events The book is set during one week in 1978 book was published in 1980 in a Chicago suburb In a rather hokey fashion that I liked, the book is divided into two parts one related by the wife and one by the husband You read one part and then turn the book upside down and read the other part in this way you really are not told which to read first I read the Wife s story first and wonder how the book would have been different it I had read it in the opposite order.Brenda Bowman is a housewife, a bit behind the times she seems to have missed out on women s liberation but recognizes that she is out of sync with, and not particularly interest in, history She attends a craft convention in Philadelphia where, generally non reflective, she has a chance to review her life and marriage I loved her thought that marriage is shared stories.Meanwhile, her husband Jack is back in Chicago with the two children and his job as a historian and has an eventful week Jack is a pseudo intellectual, rather inept at life, and given to reviewing life rather than living it, and defining terms rather than experiencing them The week s events push him a bit closer to life as it happens.Very enjoyable reading Near perfect scene with Jack and his father. Boring Pass Much ado about nothing Banal. These two stories are the lives of ordinary people doing their ordinary things The husband, Jack, is a historian, a father of two teenagers, and a son to aging parents His half of the book is his inner dialogue during a week where his wife is away one of the only times she s been away in their 20 years of marriage The wife, Brenda, is a stay at home spouse, quilter gaining recognition, mother of two teenagers, and only daughter of a now deceased single mother I loved reading the perspectives on a basically happy marriage and happy family that reflected the boredom and annoyance that comes with family life without anything earth shattering or foundation shaking Yes, people can get annoyed with each other, yet still overall be happy with their family and their chosen path Carol Shields makes these characters believable.There s something hopelessly and perhaps wonderfully naive and innocent about these characters Is there anyone today who at 19 would meet a future spouse and not know the details of the mechanics of sex Is there anyone now who would find a book on marital relationships and read it excitedly with her fiance The different memories of past stories and the way those retellings are told over and over so that they become the fabric of a shared history is examined repeatedly in this book Shields captures this often unremarked upon phenomenon with elegance and honesty.Lovely book. ^DOWNLOAD ↲ Happenstance: Two Novels in One About a Marriage in Transition ☔ These Two Unique Novels Tell The Stories Of Jack And Brenda Bowman During A Rare Week Apart In Their Many Years Of Marriage Jack Is At Home Coping With Domestic Crises And Two Uncouth Adolescents, While Immobilized By Self Doubt And Questioning His Worth As A Historian Brenda, Travelling Alone For The First Time, Is In A Strange City Grappling With An Array Of Emotions And Toying With The Idea Of An Affair Intimate And Insightful Yet Never Sentimental, Happenstance Is A Profound Portrait Of A Marriage And The Differences Between The Sexes That Bring Life And A Sense Of Isolation Into Even The Most Loving Of Relationships