Novelist Reta Winter's idyllic life is shattered when her eldest daughter abandons her life to sit on a gritty street corner with a sign reading "GOODNESS" around her neck, a situation that prompts Reta to uncover what drove her daughter to her new existence.
“Nothing short of astonishing.” — New Yorker“A thing of beauty—lucidly written, artfully ordered, riddled with riddles and undergirded with dark layers of philosophical meditations.” — Los Angeles TimesFor all of her life, 44 year old Reta Winters has enjoyed the useful monotony of happiness: a loving family, good friends, growing success as a writer of light 'summertime' fiction. But this placid existence is cracked wide open when her beloved eldest daughter, Norah, drops out to sit on a gritty street corner, silent but for the sign around her neck that reads 'GOODNESS.' Reta's search for what drove her daughter to such a desperate statement turns into an unflinching and surprisingly funny meditation on where we find meaning and hope. The final book from Pulitzer Prize-winner Carol Shields, Unless, is a harrowing but ultimately consoling story of one family's anguish and healing, proving Shields's mastery of extraordinary fictions about ordinary life.