Unlit Spaces: Reviews

An earlier version of Unlit Spaces was long listed for
the Robertson Davies Chapters First Novel Award

February 25th Reading at Octopus Books

View CBC television coverage of Unlit Spaces
on Adrian Harewood’s Feb 25 newscast.

Scroll to find the clip at 27.26 minutes into the newscast.

Ottawa at 11




February 13 Review of Unlit Spaces
Reviewed by Jeanette Rive
Glebe Report

for media“Believable Characters and  Carefully Crafted  Story make Unlit Spaces a Gem”

“Local author Caroline Shepard has written a gem of a novel. She has successfully incorporated all the elements of a good novel – strong characters, vivid imagery, lovely language and a good story….

…Unlit Spaces is a book to be savoured and appreciated. Read it slowly. In re-reading many passages to write this review, I was struck by how well crafted and thoughtfully written this novel is. Initially, I hadn’t been sure I was going to enjoy Unlit Spaces and I ended up loving it.”

Read the complete review…

 Reader response to Unlit Spaces:

“My God girl you are a captivating writer. You got me hooked!”
Missy Burgess, singer songwriter

“I’m impatient at not getting to the unlit places right away. But I guess that’s how you keep me reading. And the characters are so real for me that I need to know what’s unlit. I got to the end listening to classical music and right at the end on comes the Ashokan Farewell. So I had a wee cry and returned to life. Thank you. Excellent book. You really are a good writer.”
MWS, prairie boy

“There are times I feel I am in the place with them. This is astonishing. Yes, I want to know the story, but I’m not in a hurry. Enjoying the banter and building complications. And as an aside, I’m overjoyed to return to the depths of light in amber, as if finding a long lost friend. Thank you.”
Gail Starr, graphic designer

“What a delicious line ‘…the opening bars are like a cool stream flowing over the jagged edges within her’.  Love it! and I love reading Unlit Spaces!!”
Prairie Dog, Lac du Bonnet

“I’m regretting leaving those vivid characters behind; became very involved in the plot and sub-plots, felt such a sense of immediacy in so many of the scenes – one that stands out for me is the meeting with Lucie in the laundromat. Very convincing dialogue throughout the book. Of course I was especially interested in Cailey’s art projects, and the process of their making, with the added dimension of music, to which I certainly relate. Congratulations on having crafted a beautiful book! Keep on writing.”
MLP, from the glass house



 Off Centre: Reviews

Caroline Shepard’s debut collection of short fiction
(Oberon Press, 2004) was short listed for the
2005 Danuta Gleed Award

Off-Centre-cover“Caroline Shepard writes with great assurance and delicacy, moving seamlessly between Africa and North America in her mapping of unexpected cultural, geographical and emotional territory. These are stories to open our hearts as well as our eyes.”
— Jury, 2005 Danuta Gleed Award


from a review of  Off Centre,
Julie Mason, Ottawa Citizen, 2005

“Caroline Shepard’s first collection of short fiction is a wonderfully wry and likeable look at the disorientation of people trying to live their best lives in a world that keeps shifting. Only a talent as mature as Shepard’s could make Ottawa in a winter snowstorm seem exotic.” 

from a review of Off Centre, Paul Keen, Books in Canada, 2005

“Caroline Shepard’s triumph is in recognizing the power of the story as a metaphor for the ways that her own characters struggle to fashion a coherent perspective in unsettling worlds where they consistently find themselves-as the book’s title would suggest-off centre, slightly out of step with their surroundings, caught off guard by their own half-glimpsed emotional impulses.
…Shepard’s recognition that people’s desire to fashion meaningful worlds for themselves inevitably contains the potential to go unexpectedly amiss. Her ability to convey that insight without having to spell it out in heavy-handed ways makes this collection a compelling read.”
The complete review is here…

from a review of Off Centre,  Michelle Desbarats, Glebe Report, 2005

” ‘In the Africa that I love…’  These are the words to meet the reader…tender and honed, which I think describe Caroline Shepard’s quality of writing in her first book….there is a quality of beguiling gentleness which fills the stories, setting up a curious communication between reader and author.”

from a review of  Off Centre,  Michael Haines, OSCAR, 2005

“The skillful writer is able to sidestep, or even utilize the restricted arena [of the short story]. Caroline Shepard has evaded the pitfalls of the short fiction format, while demonstrating her talent at characterization to the fullest….she conveys [her characters’] thoughts and feelings with great finesse. Yet all her characters ring true.”

from Dilshad Engineer, Editor Oberon Press, 2004

“The characters in Caroline Shepard’s stories have an acute awareness of being in the world. They have a tendency to lead their lives according to their principles, which might often be ‘off centre’; or perhaps a better way of putting it would be to say they stay true to what they believe in, even if that’s not always the expected or conventional thing….[This collection of stories] is fresh, invigorating and gives the reader a perspective that’s informed, intelligent and careful. Fiction might be said to do a lot of things but….it’s important that it share a vision. Off Centre does that with grace and flair.”