Margaret Atwood turns to short fiction for the first time since her 2006 collection, Moral Disorder , with nine tales of acute psychological insight and turbulent relationships bringing to mind her award-winning 1996 novel, Alias Grace . Read more...
Margaret Atwood turns to short fiction for the first time since her 2006 collection, Moral Disorder, with nine tales of acute psychological insight and turbulent relationships bringing to mind her award-winning 1996 novel, Alias Grace. A recently widowed fantasy writer is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband in "Alphinland," the first of three loosely linked stories about the romantic geometries of a group of writers and artists. In "The Freeze-Dried Bridegroom," a man who bids on an auctioned storage space has a surprise. In "Lusus Naturae," a woman born with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire. In "Torching the Dusties," an elderly lady with Charles Bonnet syndrome comes to terms with the little people she keeps seeing, while a newly formed populist group gathers to burn down her retirement residence. And in "Stone Mattress," a long-ago crime is avenged in the Arctic via a 1.9 billion-year-old stromatolite. In these nine tales, Margaret Atwood is at the top of her darkly humorous and seriously playful game."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-07-28
- Reviewer: Staff
Atwood, a bestselling master of fiction, delivers a stunning collection—her first since 2006's Moral Disorder. Most of the nine stories feature women who have been wronged as girls but recover triumphantly as adults. Atwood brings her biting wit to bear on the battle of the sexes. The first three stories in the book—"Alphinland," "Revenant," and "Dark Lady"—are linked by a pretentious poet and his girlfriends, who best him professionally and personally as he ages into an impotent, disgruntled old man with a wife 30 years his junior: "He probably has more horns on his head—as the bard would say—than a hundred headed snail." Corpses are found, as in "The Freeze-Dried Groom"—or not found, as in the title story, set on an Arctic cruise, in which a woman takes her revenge on the high school "Mr. Hearthrob, Mr. Senior Football Star, Mr. Astounding Catch... Mr. Shit" of 50 years before. Readers love Atwood's women, despite, or because of, who they are and what they do. Add in her wild imagination—women conversing with dead husbands; genetic missteps that produce a girl with yellow eyes, pink teeth, and "long, dark chest hair"; and costumed "little people" who appear to an elderly nursing home resident—and it's clear that this grande dame is at the top of her game. (Sept.)