The Stone Diaries

The Stone Diaries

Book - 1994
Average Rating:
Rate this:
The Stone Diaries is the story of one woman's life; a truly sensuous novel that reflects and illuminates the unsettled decades of our century. Born in 1905, Daisy Goodwill drifts through the chapters of childhood, marriage, widowhood, remarriage, motherhood and old age. Bewildered by her inability to understand her own role, Daisy attempts to find a way to tell her own story within a novel that is itself about the limitations of autobiography.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 1994.
Edition: 1st American ed.
ISBN: 9780670853090
Characteristics: 361 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
May 21, 2020

This is a story of a woman’s life from birth to death as viewed through the eyes of those who knew her....or thought they knew her. “The self is not a thing carved on entablature”, a line from the book, captures the essence of the story. In addition to being a fascinating novel, the way the story is presented is also interesting...assembled from so many pieces of a life leaving the reader wondering also about who, exactly, this woman is/was. Much of it captures the lives of women today everywhere, a hundred years removed from the birth of the main character.

Mar 13, 2019

This is the life story of Daisy Goodwill from beginning to the end. Daisy becomes a witness to her own life of sorrow and transformation. She becomes a different version of herself through her struggles and triumphs.
It all fits together for the reader.
Quite a book when it was first published in 1993 and still worthy of its Pulitzer prize now.

Apr 19, 2017

Well written and a good story. Unfortunately, I have been working with a lot of people who are legitimately enduring the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. I got a little tired of hearing how tragically this over privileged woman has suffered. I kept thinking "oh boo hoo...." you know nothing of suffering..quit whining and give some of that money that dropped in your lap to the poor and legitimately needy.

Mar 26, 2017

Protagonist Daisy Goodwill claims “she would have to rescue [her life] by a primary act of imagination” and then author Carol Shields proceeds to have her tell her life story from birth to death. She speaks in both the first person and (mostly) third person, making it a kind of historical fiction … which is what we all do when you think about it – we project our own ideas into the minds of others as we selectively recall and narrate our own stories. This is a story about identity and self-concept and, as Daisy says, “Life is an endless recruiting of witnesses”. Carol Shields writes with rich language and imagery as she delves into the inner life of Daisy.

Dec 20, 2016

This is a sad saga but despite that, I really enjoyed it. It made me think of my parents and grandparents. I enjoyed the fact the much of the story took place in Ottawa, where I now live!
I found the family tree unusual but very useful in figuring out all the characters in the novel.
I recently saw a paper version of this novel on display of the Governor General's Award for Literature winners in the lobby of the Canadian Art Bank Building at 150 Elgin Street. This exhibition is well worth a visit!

Apr 19, 2016

May 2016

evaquin Sep 15, 2015

The Stone Diaries is the fictional autobiography of Daisy Goodwill. Since we follow her through most of the 20th Century, the novel serves as a diary of that period of time as well. Daisy’s existence is not an epic one, in the sense that she doesn’t go on great adventures, but it is precisely her mundane anonymity that allows us to deeply connect with her and to discover the uniqueness of her life.

Carol Shields was a very pleasant surprise for me. In this novel, which garnered her the Pulitzer Prize and the Governor General's Award, among others, her writing is so rich and witty that every page of the novel is an absolute delight. If you like authors like Joyce Carol Oates and Margaret Atwood, Carol Shields' The Stone Diaries is a must-read.

Jul 12, 2015

Brilliant. A masterpiece.

AmberKlassen Apr 14, 2015

This book has won several awards for a reason. It is an excellent read for those who have suffered the loss of love from parents, true loves, true friends, and true connections (home). It will make you laugh and out right cry... a lot; however, if you don't share similar experiences this book will not be enjoyed to the full extent... come back to it in ten years :)

Nov 05, 2013

Telling of this tale is circlar, talking in circles. It takes a while to get into the story about Daisy and her history that comes from her parents joining, but also the people who raise her. Now she will have issues of abandonment, love, loss, and finding her way. But as she comes into adulthood she experiences some rough situations, whereby she is trying to find herself. But will a visit back to one of her guardians help her situation? Follow the circle and see where she ends up...OK read.

View All Comments


Add a Summary
Mar 29, 2011

I have trouble relating to this author, I read Unless and was less than impressed, my friends told me to try another book by her and I did, this one was a bit better but I won't be reading any more. I feel like ideas/characters and situations are developed to about 75% and then abruptly stopped.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at BDL

To Top