PERSONAL: Daughter of Carol Shields (a writer); married; children: three. Education: University of British Columbia, L.L.B, 1984; University of Cambridge, L.L.M., 1988.
CAREER: Lawyer and journalist. Called to the British Columbia Bar, 1986; called to the Ontario Bar, 1990. Legal counsel for Weyerhaeuser Company Limited, beginning 1994.
The Sad Truth about Happiness (novel), Fourth Estate (New York, NY), 2005.
Author of column for Canada's National Post.
SIDELIGHTS: The daughter of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Carol Shields, Anne Giardini grew up in a family influenced by literary traditions. Trained as an attorney, she began her career in the legal profession before turning to writing herself. Serving as legal counsel for Weyerhaeuser Company Limited since 1994, her legal expertise includes issues of ethics and business conduct. When she published her first novel, The Sad Truth about Happiness, in 2005, the resulting critical reception was very positive.
The story follows Maggie Selgrin, a thirty-two-year-old, single mammography technician who has always been the stable and calm sibling in her quirky family. Maggie seems to be satisfied with the way her life is going. One night, though, she takes a magazine quiz titled "When Will You Die?" Maggie's answers indicate that she might die within the next three months. Catapulted into action, she sets about making changes in her life; in the process, she finds herself romantically pursued by three different men. To add to Maggie's troubles, she finds herself in the middle of a child custody battle between her younger sister and her sister's estranged Italian lover.
Many reviewers noted that Giardini's writing style and tone in The Sad Truth about Happiness make for a compelling read. "Giardini sets out on a quiet, inward-looking path and blends a conversational tone with vibrant prose to create an empathetic novel," according to Robin Vidimos in the Denver Post. Other critics enjoyed the book's character development and in-depth descriptions. As Library Journal contributor Jenn B. Stidham put it, the author has a command for "sensitive handling of rich characters and domestic detail."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Denver Post, June 4, 2005, Robin Vidimos, "An Urgent Quest for a State of Happiness," review of The Sad Truth about Happiness.
Guardian (London, England), February 26, 2005, Lisa Allardice, "Sisters and Mothers," review of The Sad Truth about Happiness.
Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2005, review of The Sad Truth about Happiness, p. 305.
Library Journal, April 15, 2005, Jenn B. Stidham, review of The Sad Truth about Happiness, p. 72.
New York Times, May 22, 2005, Laura Jamison, "All I Survey," review of The Sad Truth about Happiness.
Seattle Times, June 3, 2005, Michael Upchurch, "Debut Novel 'Sad Truth' Shows Writer with Rare Gift."
Washington Post, May 22, 2005, Donna Rifkind, "Narrow Escapes," review of The Sad Truth about Happiness, p. 6.
Canadian Bar Association Web site, http://www.cba.org/ (August 16, 2005), biographical information on Anne Giardini.
Ottawa International Writers Festival Web site, http://www.writersfest.com/ (August 16, 2005), biographical information on Anne Giardini.