Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies
Carol Shields's Magic Wand: Turning the Ordinary into the Extraordinary
Adriana Trozzi, Carol Shields's Magic Wand: Turning the Ordinary into the Extraordinary (Rome: Bulzoni Editore, 2001), 401pp. Paper. 20.66 Euros. ISBN 8-8831-9591-4.
What first took me by surprise in Adriana Trozzi's book of secondary criticism is that it contains no acknowledgements and, more importantly, no introductory chapter. An introduction would be useful as the place in the book where Trozzi explains to her readers why she chose the specific title, how she intends to interpret Shields's writing and what kind of organisation her book has (chronological, thematic).
As it is, the book covers an impressive number of Carol Shields's texts in chronological order, starting from her first published novel Small Ceremonies (1976) and finishing with her last collection of short stories Dressing Up For the Carnival (2000). The analysis of the texts is often self-conscious; the author feels the need to justify the organisation of her chapters and distracts the reader's attention: 'Brenda's perceptiveness . . . will . . . be analysed later on in the next chapter' (p. 56); 'the consequences of such an irruption will be discussed at the appropriate chronological fictional time' (p. …