Larry's Party eBook Ú Hardcover

Larry's Party eBook Ú Hardcover

10 thoughts on “Larry's Party

  1. Paul Paul says:

    45 starsThis is the first novel by Carol Shields that I have read I still need to read The Stone Diaries It is set mainly in Canada and the protagonist is Larry Weller We follow Larry from about 1976 when he is 26 until 1997 It is thematic and each chapter looks at a different aspect of Larry’s life through his two marriages being a father work sex and so on Often we see events at a distance as significant events seem to take place between chapters The last chapter rounds off the whole with a dinner party Shields is writing a man’s life and looking at sections of that life over 20 years and doing a remarkably good job Shields focuses a good deal on work the way it can fulfil and its importance Larry starts off working in a flower shop and moves on to become a maze designer he got his passion for mazes from his first honeymoon in England getting lost in Hampton Court Maze Many of the minor characters are also defined by what they do and there is dignity in work The whole novel is a little like the mazes that Larry designs with lots of paths and byways but pretty much ending up where you started As Eliot said; “And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time” There is a circularity about the wholeIt’s a good story with some interesting reflections on what it is like to be a man I think Shields is subverting traditional notions of masculinity some of which probably only exist in men’s minds and positing multiple masculinities which are fluid and ambivalent Larry’s experience is one of anxiety combined with inadeuacy He is certainly not a “master of the universe” Shields challenges the traditional male notions of aggression rationality and control; these are dead ends in the maze Shields is also playing with traditional modes of biography and identity in complex ways There is a lost and found and doubling back sense that you would find in a maze There is some repetition and you move from chapter to chapter but there is a sense of building rather than repeating One critic has described this as postmodern biographical fiction Shields plays on a feeling of ordinariness and an unexpected social mobility it is mostly rich people who want mazes Larry wonders how he has moved so far from being the son of a working class craftsman The move has disoriented him and there are tensions between the masculinities he was brought up with and the middle class ones of his middle age Usually biography and autobiography consolidate and reinforce the notion of self which has been developed by Western thought read Western white male thought Phyllis Rose has argued that biography is a tool by which the dominant society reinforces its values Shields uestions those values uite consciously by providing a protagonist who is unsure a little muddled and unstable not a subject of public acclaim Nina van Gessel argues this is an essentially feminist type of biography And on top of all that; Larry is rather likeable

  2. Hannah Greendale Hannah Greendale says:

    Meet Larry Weller an ordinary man with an unbridled passion for designing hedge mazes In a series of vignettes Shields explores Larry's conventional life ticking off the usual items like finding a wife and having a child Shields manages to come full circle with Larry's story writing a complete narrative that arrives at a rewarding conclusion one that links beautifully to the central theme of mazes as an analogy for life However Shields often reiterates known information about Larry a problem that escalates around the midpoint when redundancy grows increasingly present It starts to feel like Larry's Party could have been half as long Nonetheless Shields' craft is admirable Her writing is concise and accurate She's attune to fine details and has a way of explaining life's mundane trivialities with remarkable clarity For example Larry's understanding of a pat on the head or shoulder In this small act Larry recognizes its cruel economy and monumental detachment It was the sign of someone who was distracted weary Patting a person was like going on automatic pilot you just reached out and did it There there Has anyone ever explained the subtext of a little pat pat better than that? Well done Ms Sheilds Larry's life reads like one long exposition Traditional narratives reveal the tip of the iceberg Here Shields invites us to dip below the water to see the iceberg in its entirety an author's exploration of a character his background what shapes him and how he came to be A uintessential character study in full This approach is not for everyone and it would have been monumentally less enjoyable had the structure not been propped up by Shields' writing talent Larry's Party is a good fit for readers willing to sacrifice plot for a rote and routine examination of day to day life delivered with insightful lucidity People make mistakes all the time so many mistakes they aren't mistakes any they're just positive and negative charges shooting back and forth and moving you along Like good luck and bad luck Like a tunnel you're walking through with all your pores wide open When it turns you turn too

  3. Suzanne Suzanne says:

    I did not finish this I still feel like reviewing and rating though This was odd The narrators voice to me was a mocking tone but I didn't know if it was meant to be and I was mocking the mocker I felt it was slow and things only started to pick up a little when Larry's first wife took a back hoe to his prize shrub maze in the front yard Cue divorce Larry was a florist Larry kept talking about words to describe his penis or his erection Diatribes of word after word after word This happened at the end of a disc then again at the start of the next disc That pretty much did it for me I'm not a prude it was just off odd weird strange silly That was the way he told of his penis but substitute those for pecker Jack Weiner hot rod I'm going to be the final mocker Obviously I don't get it Back to the library this went earlier today

  4. Fabian Fabian says:

    Alas the exuisite mundaneBecause she's from Canada the ultra talented Atwood foil giant Carol Shields garners the bleak in all commonplace poetic UFO that is the unmatched Virginia Woolf as well as the page turning money hungry and brilliant American Novel It gets a good dose of both the little and epic and Larry's Party is almost a lexicon novel an encyclopedia of all things Larry That's right with that name you may even already know this story Only because I dont personally know any Larrys Or Canadians unfortunately

  5. Amy Amy says:

    I can't help it I love Carol Shields I miss her voice in the world I deeply feel her loss to breast cancer 5 years agoLarry's Party is a novel that won Shields the Orange Prize I'm impressed at her tackling an in depth from the inside look at the life of an average North American man I feel she only stumbled by falling into a feminine sensibility in a couple of lines so overall I'm still giving this book 5 stars Basically I want to give all Shields' work 5 starsAnd yes if you're looking for plot look elsewhere Shields even wrote that she grew to distrust plot Instead she uses theme in this novel it's mazes and the main character is a landscape designer of mazes to structure her novel and give it organic movement similar to that of a whole life or lived experience rather than formulaic rising action or narrative arc It seems to me readers either go with Shields' style in this regard and love her or they hate it and find it too boring and plotlessI'm in the first group

  6. Bandit Bandit says:

    After two lovely collections of short stories it seemed only right to check out the author’s long form and it didn’t disappoint Actually it was notably similar unfolding in such a way as to be composed of short interconnected stories right down to the slightly annoying revisits of previous chapters so that each one was logically self sufficient But really this was a proper novel it followed a very average sort of man named Larry Weller for 2 decades of his life from mid 20 to mid 40s Each chapter was arranged chronologically and thematically concentrating on a specific subject andor salient event of Larry’s life Larry is a very mild sort of protagonist unassuming unimposing he goes through life with a sort of innocent bewilderment just riding the waves out as they come The most original thing about him is his obsession with mazes which he eventually turns into a lucrative business Things do occur but much like the author’s short fiction this really isn’t a plot driven narrative or actually like the plot isn’t the main strength that belongs to the writing itself in all its gloriously rendered minutiae of everyday life It’s weirdly hypnotic in a way just being so engaged with these precise lovingly crafted descriptions of the most ordinary things Then again it can get tiresome make a book dense and slow going with dialogue barely entering until the last chapter Definitely something you’d have to be in the mood for but well worth the time There are so many clever observations such awesome wordsmithing almost like making art out of nothing at all at times Just interesting and different perspectives on conventions much like Duchamp’s toilet becoming Fountain the artwork No actually this is as an accomplishment considerably superior to reimagining a toilet Because much like the Truman Show we are all of us stars in our own movies or tv shows and this is the movie of Larry’s life and there’s a vicarious appeal to witnessing a life so meticulously analyzed Larry makes an affable likeable star but in a way he’s almost a placeholder for an average North American white man of a certain age you can view it as a study of changing masculinity concepts and expectations throughout the late 1900s much like an anthropologist or a social sciences buffor you can just enjoy it as a well written novel Either way it works

  7. Sarah Sarah says:

    Carol Shields liked to write about ordinary people with ordinary problems On the face of it that's just about the last thing I'd want to read But hers are not the loud robust common men we hear so much about in country songs These are the unsung ordinary people uietly living their lives The gentle soulsI like Larry and Shields is becoming my favorite novelist

  8. Antoinette Antoinette says:

    Read this prior to GR

  9. Samir Rawas Sarayji Samir Rawas Sarayji says:

    This novel is the story of Larry and his journey through two divorces a girlfriend and falling again for one of his exes All of which happens to an average person with average desires and an average passion namely designing mazes The result for me was therefore averageIt’s also the first work by Carol Shields that I’ve read but I suppose this may not have been the best place to start I’ve heard good things about her writing which is why my review is focusing on the writing aspectDescriptive powerOne prominent feature in this novel is the intensity of Shields’ descriptive prowess Take the opening page the second paragraph where the reader has just been told that Larry grabbed the wrong jacketHis hand was traveling straight into a silky void His five fingers pushed down looking for the balled up Kleenex from his own familiar worn out pocket the nickels and dimes the ticket receipts from all the movies he and Dorrie had been seeing lately Also those hard little bits of lint like meteor grit that never seem to lose themselves once they’ve worked into the seemsIn one paragraph we learn what Larry is like and already draw some inferences about his relationship to Dorrie and how they spend their time Shields accomplishes this feat beautifully throughout the novel and this alone made it worth reading However what was simultaneously irritating was this constant feat of description The first chapter a short one is set to establish to the reader who Larry is and his current relationship but the reader is swamped with detail about clothes fabrics and the characters’ preferences and choices resulting in an overkill effect where several pages later we’re back to the jacketIt comes to Larry what the noise is It’s the lining of his jacket moving back and forth across his shoulders as he strolls along also the lining material sliding up and down against his shirt sleevesNow I understand that the scene was foregrounded with the jacket and returning several pages to this establishes to the reader the continuation of the scene but is it really necessary to go into that much descriptive detail again I’ve truncated the paragraph above?WhirlwindThe novel tracks Larry’s life from 1977 to 1997 which let’s face it is not that great a time span for a contemporary novel And while the story tackles two marriages a girl friend and Larry’s infatuation with mazes alongside several other characters Shields’ at no point explores in depth Larry’s inner psyche The interactions between characters were much too real with lack of subtext or emotional insight resulting in an overall superficial read This was perhaps the greatest downfall of the novel considering there were ample opportunities and situations to delve deeper into the characters or even into Larry aloneThe focus on descriptions and uick dialogue gave the novel a whirlwind effect where the pace was uick and the story development was at times amusing and at times blasé The reader stays floating above the unfolding scenes and watches the characters interacting in the most common of situations a slice of life effect if you will This added to the effect that Larry was a puppet reacting to the events unfolding around him rather than his being an active participant to events revolving around himConclusionAlthough there are some wonderful descriptive passages and occasional eyebrow raising observations the emotional superficiality and overly realistic dialogue of the characters made it difficult to invest any sympathy towards these characters If you’re looking for an easy contemporary read with strong descriptions then the book can offer this but steer away if you wish to delve deeply into character development

  10. Elizabeth (Alaska) Elizabeth (Alaska) says:

    A few professional reviews likened this to her The Stone Diaries but from a man's viewpoint I did not see the commonality In the Diaries I always felt as if the person was real while in Larry's I never did From the beginning it felt as if a woman trying to write from a man's point of view and not uite making itThroughout Shields repeats parts of the story given in earlier chapters It's almost as if she thinks you will take a long time reading it and might forget what has gone on before so she has to remind you The shining moment in this is the final chapter Sometimes an author doesn't uite know how to end a novel Shields certainly knows and does it in fine styleThat doesn't mean I didn't find this a nice interlude from some of my other reads I did And I'll likely read her again though I think I'll put some space between this and the next one

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Larry's Party [Reading] ➸ Larry's Party ➮ Carol Shields – The San Diego Tribune called The Stone Diaries a universal study of what makes women tick With Larry's Party Carol Shields has done the same for men Larry Weller born in 1950 is an ordinary guy made e The San Diego Tribune called The Stone Diaries a universal study of what makes women tick With Larry's Party Carol Shields has done the same for men Larry Weller born in is an ordinary guy made extraordinary by his creator's perception irony and tenderness Larry's Party gives us as it were a CAT scan of his life in episodes between and that seamlessly flash backward and forward We follow this young floral designer through two marriages and divorces and his interactions with his parents friends and a son Throughout we witness his deepening passion for garden mazes so like life with their teasing treachery and promise of reward Among all the paradoxes and accidents of his existence Larry moves through the spontaneity of the seventies the blind enchantment of the eighties and the lean mean nineties completing at last his uiet stubborn search for self Larry's odyssey mirrors the male condition at the end of our century with targeted wit unerring poignancy and faultless wisdom.

  • Hardcover
  • 340 pages
  • Larry's Party
  • Carol Shields
  • English
  • 25 October 2015
  • 9780670873920