Category Archives: Margaret Atwood

Win Not One, But Two, Signed Copies of Margaret Atwood’s Stone Mattress

My second give away of the day is doubly delightful. You can win not one but two signed copies of Margaret Atwood’s ‘nine wicked tales’ that make up Stone Mattress thanks to the lovely people at Virago and Little Brown. So that is one for you and a friend or family member. (Good Christmas present alert!) If you have yet to read any Atwood (are you mad?) then this would be an ideal introduction, if you are a fan of Atwood then this will just be a treat. Here is a teaser from the tale Dark Lady which is so my cup of tea…

Every morning at breakfast Jorrie reads the obituaries in all three of the papers. Some of the write-ups make her laugh, but to the best of Tin’s knowledge none of them has ever made her cry. She’s not much of a sniveller, Jorrie.
    She marks the noteworthy dead people with an X – two Xs if she plans to attend the funeral or the memorial service – and hands the papers across the table to Tin. She gets the real paper papers, delivered right to their townhouse doorstep, because according to her they skimp on the obituaries in the digital versions.
    “Here’s another,” she’ll say. “‘Deeply missed by all who knew her,’ I think not! I worked with her on the Splendida campaign. She was a sick bitch.” Or else: “‘Peacefully, at home, of natural causes.’ I doubt that very much! I bet it was an overdose.” Or: “Finally! Creepy Fingers! He groped me at a company dinner in the ’80s with his wife sitting right beside him. He was such a lush they won’t even have to embalm him.”

isbn9780349006536-detail

So what do you have to do? Well firstly you have to be from the UK, apologies international readers, and secondly you have to leave a comment telling me what your favourite short story collection AND fairy tale is. Two book recommendations which could win you two signed copies of a wonderful book (which I am now popping in my case for a weekend at Ilkley Book Festival!) You have until midnight GMT on Monday the 5th of October 2015 – this is a day extension as Monday is a busy day on the blog. Good luck!

33 Comments

Filed under Give Away, Margaret Atwood

The Tent – Margaret Atwood

Sometimes you need to turn to a favourite author don’t you? One author who I always feel I can turn to is Margaret Atwood. I actually think that a love for Margaret Atwood is something that lives and breathes in my DNA; my Gran loves her, my mother loves her and if you read this blog regularly you will know that I love her too. I wasn’t in the mood for one of her tomes, though I did consider reading ‘Alias Grace’ or giving ‘The Robber Bride’ a second chance (why didn’t I love that book?) and so I thought, having had success with ‘Murder in the Dark’ and ‘Good Bones’, I would give another of her fictional essay collections, ‘The Tent’ a whirl.

Bloomsbury Publishing, paperback, 2007, fiction, 176 pages, from my personal TBR

Collections such as ‘The Tent’ are always really difficult to review as they are a delightful hotchpotch of snippets of an author’s work that aren’t quite long enough to be a short story collection. In fact this collection is brimming with a whopping thirty-five mini works. Mind you what could be better than almost forty pieces of Margaret Atwood’s brainstorming and idea’s? Nothing frankly, if we are being honest! If you haven’t read any Atwood then this is actually a rather wonderful collection of hers to start with as you really do get a flavour of what a versatile author she is.

One such short I must highlight straight away is ‘Three Novels I Won’t Write Soon’. Here Atwood takes a couple and greats a basic story and then turns it on its head, with varying twists, styles and genres and giving them different names like ‘Worm Zero’, ‘Spongedeath’ and ‘Beetleplunge’. It’s fascinating example of how an author might randomly have a stab at a novel and then make errors and changes as they go, whilst also just being a very entertaining read.

‘The Tent’ is set into three parts and I could try and feign some academic understanding of why the tales are in the parts they are, and indeed the order they are. Instead, actually, I just enjoyed them. ‘Orphan Stories’ made me laugh as I too have often wondered why on earth most stories have an orphan at their heart, its wry and dark but also a little moving and to do that in five pages is very clever. ‘Voice’ is a very clever analogy of why we were given a voice and the good and bad we can do with it. There’s almost a fable element to it.

My very favourite of the stories all had rather magical and fairytale like elements to them. ‘Chicken Little Goes Too Far’ is a hilarious modern take on the old fable, I am imagining that this might just be the sort of stories she writes in ‘Bluebeard’s Egg’ which I really must read. It’s the original mini tales that I loved the most of all. ‘It’s Not Easy Being Half Divine’ and ‘Salome Was A Dancer’ both are very modern tales yet they read in that way you loved as a child at bedtime. I think ‘Winter’s Tales’ is one of the funniest modern fairytales I have read, how could you not love a story that starts with…

‘Once upon a time, you say, there were germs with horns. They lived in the toilet and could only be defeated by gallons and gallons of bleach. You could commit suicide by drinking this bleach, and some women did.’

You weren’t expecting that were you? Some of these fictional essays are also rather political. Atwood is becoming better and better known for her worldy wise views and there are elements of this side of her nature in ‘Warlords’, ‘Resources of the Ikranians’ and title story ‘The Tent’. They never preach, there is just a steering of direction and undertone, but not enough to alienate should you not agree with them, and of course I do. If that wasn’t enough there are also poems in the forms of ‘The Animals Reject Their Names and Things Return to Their Origins’ and ‘Bring Back Mom: An Invocation’ plus some of Atwood’s own illustrations too.

‘The Tent’ was just the sort of read you need from a voice, or narrator, that you know well. It also reminded me that whilst I love almost everything that Margaret Atwood writes I don’t always understand it. I can come away a little confused and yet having enjoyed the experience. Oddly that said I would urge people who haven’t tried Atwood before to give this a whirl, it is a really good way of experiencing all the types of ways she writes.

4 Comments

Filed under Bloomsbury Publishing, Margaret Atwood, Review, Short Stories

In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination – Margaret Atwood

I am quite surprised that I have not seen more mention here there and everywhere, though I could have been looking in the wrong places, about Margaret Atwood’s latest book ‘In Other Worlds’. Those of you who visit Savidge Reads will know that I am a huge fan of Atwood’s (indeed with both my mother and Gran loving her it was only time really until I would feel the same) both for her ‘literary fiction’ and for her ‘speculative fiction’ so I was instantly looking forward to this as a read, especially with its subject matter.

Virago Press, hardback, 2011, non-fiction, 272 pages, kindly sent by the publisher

It’s this very thing that lies at the heart of ‘In Other Worlds’ I can’t think of anyone or anything, apart from possibly the Man Booker, which causes such debate about science fiction and ‘literature’ and the divides or lack thereof. I know some people who love her writing and yet feel slightly disappointed she has gone off into these speculative worlds like ‘The Handmaids Tale’ and that she is writing a follow up to ‘Oryx and Crake’ and ‘The Year of the Flood’.

 I remember reading a very negative piece somewhere that claimed Margaret Atwood didn’t want to be labelled as a science fiction writer and thought ‘that’s a bit snobby’ but this was taken out of context. Then came the Ursula K. Le Guin review of Atwood’s last novel ‘The Year of the Flood’ in which she quoted from (are you keeping up) Atwood’s essays ‘Moving Targets’, which I now really want to read, saying that Atwood didn’t believe her books were science fiction because the things in them were possible and may be happening, therefore they are speculative. Longer story shorter, ‘In Other Worlds’ is Margaret Atwood’s response to this and is even dedicated to Le Guin. It is so much more than a simple SFF vs. the rest of the literary world book though.

The book is set into three sections. In the first ‘In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination’ we are treated to three long essays. The first of which Margaret Atwood discusses her love of science fiction, based on the fact that growing up in rural Canada she would read anything and everything and this meant a lot of her father’s science fiction, comic books, pulp, noir, you name it. She went on to draw and create stories of her own superhero’s… flying rabbits, and looks at the myth of the superhero and compares it to science fiction. The second looks at the myths and religions that make up science fiction in varying ways and the third how Margaret Atwood created ‘ustopia’s’ based on merging utopias and dystopias. I loved this section, in part because the way Atwood writes makes it feel like you are sat having a conversation about these things with her (if only), there is a humour and knowingness as you go along, secondly because it shows the forming of a writer which I always find fascinating and thirdly because it made me think. A lot. This isn’t writing you can rush, you need to read it, pause, think a bit, make some mental notes, read on, have a bigger pause, think more. I loved that this was the effect it had on me.

The second section entitled ‘Other Deliberations’ is a selection of reviews and essays about novels or writing that people see is either definitely science fiction, definitely literary fiction with a science fiction twist or seen as speculative fiction. One of the books she covers is ‘Never Let Me Go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro (another book I love) and it’s here I think she shows that really does it matter what genre or pigeon hole books are pushed, good and thought provoking writing is what matters. “Ishiguro isn’t much interested in the practicalities of cloning and organ donation… Nor is this a novel about future horrors: it’s set not in a Britain-yet-to-come but a Britain-off-to-the-side.” Not only did I want to rush and read that again, I found all the books she discussed which i hadn’t read such as H. Rider Haggard’s ‘She’ and ‘Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley are going to be racing up the TBR and being borrowed from the library.

The final main section of the book ’Five Tributes’ are works of Atwoood’s which she believes are truly SF works of fiction, they are all slight but all wonderful, I loved everyone of these. I also thought it was particularly clever of her to choose ‘The Peach Women of Aa’A’ from ‘The Blind Assassin’ as the final one. This is a fictional tale written inside her fictional tale at the heart of ‘The Blind Assassin’ and not only reminded me of what an incredible writer she is but how diverse, I smiled to myself that a book which won the Booker does indeed have a science fictional twist in it’s heart and then felt a little cross people forget that. It also reminds the reader that reading shouldn’t be about boundaries people confine them to, in fact all literature should celebrate the fact that the boundaries are endless full stop, so why are we so obsessed with defining it?

I hope that you come away from this long ramble that forms a ‘review’ or set of ‘book thoughts’ with an inclination to pick up this book when you can. It’s a book for book lovers in the fact that it’s overall theme is the celebration of writing, and then looking at the way we take writing in and pass on our thoughts. It also shows once again what a wonderful writer Margaret Atwood is regardless of whatever genre of writer you might feel the need to put her in. ‘In Other Worlds’ is certainly one of my books of the year without a doubt.

So where do you sit on the Margaret Atwood Speculative vs. Science vs. Literary fiction debate and why do we feel the need to pigeon hole and then get defensive over those pigeon holes?

P.S Small note to say this was a hot topic between myself and Gavin on this weeks The Readers podcast which you can listen to here.

21 Comments

Filed under Books of 2011, Margaret Atwood, Non Fiction, Review, Virago Books

Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood

When I chose ‘Cat’s Eye’ by Margaret Atwood for one of my book groups I had no idea that it would become a book that would cause such a reaction in me. I have mentioned a few times on Savidge Reads how sometimes reading a book can become and experience, you live it. Sometimes books can become more than that, they seem to become the subconscious focus of all your thoughts and they bring back emotions and feelings you thought you had long forgotten, and not always the most comfortable ones.

Before I talk about the effect that ‘Cat’s Eye’ has had on me, and the emotional reaction I had, I think that’s its best to set the scene and tell you more about the book itself. When Elaine Risley finds herself back in Toronto after many years, for a retrospective of her paintings and work in one of the galleries, she starts to look back to her childhood there. These are not the sweetest of nostalgic notions, in fact the more we learn about Elaine’s past and her friendship with a trio of girls the more we realise memory lane was a very painful road indeed.

After spending most of her time living a rather secluded life as her parents escape the big towns and cities during the Second World War, moving to Toronto is a whole new lifestyle and adjustment and one made harder by the fact that Elaine has never really felt like a girl (in fact discussing having her own two daughters she admits she wanted sons as she thought she would relate to them better) so when she befriends Grace and Carol it is with relief. That is until after a summer trip away a new girl has arrived in town called Cordelia, and from the moment she joins this group the dynamic changes and the line between friends and foes is no longer black and white.

I could talk more about where the story leads you, how it evokes the difference between the metropolitan and wild parts of Canada, how it looks at the countries history between WWII and the 1980’s and the changes for women in that period – these all linger in the background of ‘Cat’s Eye’ making it a multi-layered read and even more of a masterpiece in some ways. I think it would also give too much away and this is a book you need to go into a little blindly for it to really take hold. At heart though this is a tale of childhood bullying, much worse when done by friends, and how those actions and events can scar us far more than we ever know. It was this part of the book that really got to me and was for me what the book was all about.

“Cordelia and Grace and Carol take me to the deep hole in Cordelia’s backyard. I’m wearing a black dress and a cloak from the dress-up cupboard. I’m supposed to be Mary Queen of Scots, headless already. They pick me up by the underarms and feet and lower me into the hole. Then they arrange the boards over the top. The daylight air disappears, and there’s the sound of dirt hitting the boards, shovelful after shovelful. Inside the hole it’s dim and cold and damp and smells like toad burrows.
    Up above, outside, I can hear their voices, and then I can’t hear them. I lie there wondering when it will be time to come out. Nothing happens. When I was put into the hole I knew it was a game; now I know it is not one. I feel sadness, a sense of betrayal. Then I feel the darkness pressing down on me; then terror.”

From the initial little jibes and retorts, sometimes the smallest of incidents can be the most damaging, to larger more threatening events like burying Elaine in the garden as ‘a game’ (which was one of the most vivid moments of the first third of the book but not the worst that they do) Atwood makes the acts of bullying come to life in a way that really takes you back to your own childhood and those awkward moments where friends can be enemies and where someone must become the head of the gang.

I myself was bullied at school, I think most kids are at some point, so maybe that’s why this rang so true with me, but I simply couldn’t shake the feeling of it and it really, really got to me. To me, though rather uncomfortable, that is the sign of a wonderful book and a wonderful writer. Through Elaine’s often distant and removed narrative I was projecting my own experiences and emotions and it, along with Atwood’s creation of course, drove ‘Cat’s Eye’ and hit home. I can feel the emotions again just writing about the book, it’s the strangest and most emotive reading experience I have had in a long time, possibly ever.

If you haven’t read ‘Cat’s Eye’ then you really must. I have ummed and ahhed about whether this is my favourite Atwood so far, despite it disturbing me and my memories quite a lot because it was so powerful, and I think it’s too close to reading it to call. I need to let it stay and settle (or unsettle me) further. It is a book which certainly further proves what an amazing and eclectic author she is and certainly a book I have lived through and should be commended for its many layers, most of all for being one of the most insightful books into bullying and the scars it leaves behind I have ever read. A brilliantly uncomfortable read all in all and one I have found rather personally haunting. 10/10

This is a book I have had for years and years and meant to read… I think I might need to turn to these books more often than I have been doing.

As you can imagine this was a great book group choice with lots to discuss. Who else has read ‘Cat’s Eye’? I would be really interested to see if anyone else who has read it was left feeling like their childhood had been brought right back to the forefront of their brains and if it left them feeling breathless (or even dreaming about it as I did)? I wonder if it is as autobiographical as they say it is. Which other books have you read that hit an emotional part of you really hard or brought an uncomfortable part of your life to the fore?

30 Comments

Filed under Book Group, Books of 2011, Margaret Atwood, Review, Virago Books

Murder in the Dark – Margaret Atwood

Despite still being deep in my reading impasse I do fortunately have quite a few book reviews to catch up on! As you know over the last few weeks I have been interspersing my reading with either shorter books or collections. Some collections you can dip into, or on occasion need to dip into now and again, because it’s nice or necessary to break them up for whatever reason. There are also collections like Margaret Atwood’s ‘Murder in the Dark’ that you could read in bits here and there but if you are like me you will end up taking an hour or so out of your day just to read the whole lot.

Rather than being a collection of short stories ‘Murder in the Dark’ is really a collection of very short fictions, of just two or three pages in some cases. Oh apart from part two which is a full on short story in the form of ‘Raw Materials’. Yes, I mentioned part two because the book is 27 pieces split between four parts. The first part seems to be autobiographical snippets, second part is a short story, the third and fourth parts are further random selections of small pieces. I did try and see if each of the last parts had any themes but I couldn’t personally pick any out they were just fantastic shorts. Speaking of which enough of how the collection is put together and onto what it actually contains.

Atwood being Atwood every novel she writes is completely different in prose, genre and motivation and so with a collection like this you get a whole host of varying themes. Those of you who know her for her feminist views will enjoy shorts such as ‘She’, ‘Liking Men’, ‘Simmering’, ‘Iconography’ and ‘Women’s Novels’. The latter of which I think quite a few publishers themselves could learn from. If you like her subtle and sometime wry humour then ‘Fainting’ will probably make you laugh as much as I did.

In fact ‘Fainting’ came from my all together favourite section which was her more autobiographical jottings. I love ‘Autobiography’ which describes a first memory and the humour of memories of a younger (we assume) Atwood in the darkly comic tales of teenage pranks in ‘Horror Comics’ and ‘Making Poison’. Though they are written by Atwood in recent years they seem to show the younger Atwood you know was brimming with ideas that would form her later works.

“Why did we make poison in the first place? I can remember the glee with which we stirred and added the sense of magic and accomplishment. Making poison is as much fun as making a cake. People like to make poison. If you don’t understand this you will never understand anything.”

There is further darkness in the slightly chilling ‘Murder in the Dark’ from which this collection gets its name with a brilliant last paragraph that if I told you would ruin it so I shall not. There were two particular stand out shorts for me though. ‘Bread’ will both move you and almost give you a wake up call which will leave you looking at your loaves quite differently from now on. There is also the remarkable ‘Happy Endings’ which takes us down the many routes a relationship can go and does it with a big slice of emotion.

I should admit I did think from the title that maybe Margaret Atwood had written a fabulous crime thriller that I had not heard off which I would have loved to read. However I am glad I picked it up anyway because again like when I got ‘Good Bones’ from the library I found a delightful array of short fictions I could take a risk on which I don’t know if I would have done, even though its Atwood, in a book shop. Now of course it’s going on a rather long list of books to buy when I can again in 2011. A superb bite size collection of works, it’s a bit like a box of chocolates which you start of with just having one… and then they are all devoured and gone. 8.5/10

And no there’s no ‘a book that will’ or ‘Savidge suggests perfect prose partners’ I couldn’t really sum this collection up in a sentence and bar the aforementioned ‘Good Bones’ I cant think of any other collections of such short fictions. Hmmm, can you recommend any? Have you read this one yet? What other short Atwood pieces (and indeed longer ones) should I try next. I keep saying ‘Cat’s Eye’ will be my next one and then another somehow ends up in my hands first instead.

7 Comments

Filed under Margaret Atwood, Review, Short Stories, Virago Books

Surfacing – Margaret Atwood

An author that seems to be universally loved by three generations of book addicts in the Savidge Family is Margaret Atwood. Both my Gran and my Mother are avid fans and, though it took a little longer with me, I have now followed suit. I was trying to explain on the phone to my Gran at 7am this very morning how I love Atwood’s prose despite the fact that on occasion I find it hard. Not as in hard to read, though that can be true on occasion as she is super intelligent, rather she doesn’t do namby-pamby literary writing, its more focused less floral. Am I making sense, sometimes I can’t tell! Yet with my latest Atwood read ‘Surfacing’ (which I literally picked up on a whim, I was planning on reading Cat’s Eye as my next Atwood read – and yes I do have the lovely green virago edition) I feel like I have seen another side to her work completely.

‘Surfacing’ was Margaret Atwood’s second novel released way back in 1972 and has become something of a cult classic particularly in her homeland of Canada. It tells of an unnamed narrator whose father has disappeared and who has come back to her homeland, a place she visits as rarely as possible, in order to try and find out what has happened to him. She doesn’t come alone but with two close friends, a married couple, Anna and David and her first lover since her divorce Joe. It’s in part the divorce and the shame her family feel that has kept her away though in truth she hates the city she resides in now as much as where she came from.

During her stay in her former childhood home, which is a remote island on a large lake in Northern Quebec and is beautifully drawn for the reader, she inevitably looks back in a mixture of nostalgic joy and regret at her childhood and those formulative years. She then starts to take a greater look at herself, why she only seems to coast in life slightly aimless and never truly contented. That’s at least what you get on the initial surface of the book and yet being Atwood there is so much more to it. It’s a look at what it was to be a woman in Canada after the war and we don’t just see one view, we also get glimpses into Anna’s ‘happy marriage’. It’s a book about nature and what impact it has on the people we are. It’s also about discovery, or rediscovery, of oneself.

It’s a small book with a huge amount to say but Atwood is a true master of getting the most out of a sentence and will produce gems like “that was before we were married and I still listened to what he said” a simple line that conjures up a situation and mood in just those words. She also has the same knack with characters. Often something minimal that a character does is written into the book in such a way that you are instantly given a picture of there personality in one go.

“Anna told us that. Everyone can do a little magic, she reads hands at parties, she says it’s a substitute for conversation. When she did mine she said “Do you have a twin?” I said No. “Are you positive,” she said “because some of your lines are double.” Her index finger traced me: “You had a good childhood but then there’s this funny break.” She puckered her forehead and I said I just wanted to know how long I was going to live, she could skip the rest. After that she told us Joe’s hands were dependable but not sensitive and I laughed, which was a mistake.
From the side he’s like a buffalo on the U.S nickel, shaggy and blunt-snouted, with small clenched eyes and the defiant but insane look of a species once dominant, now threatened with extinction. That’s how he thinks of himself too.: deposed, unjustly. Secretly he would like them to set ip a kind of park for him, like a bird sanctuary. Beautiful Joe.”

I don’t feel that I can do this book justice, which makes me most annoyed with myself, but its such a subtle slow burning book with so much in it that to encapsulate it in less than a thousand words is nigh on impossible. It’s also very, very funny. I cackled a few times especially when Anna would say something terribly un-pc that you yourself would wish to say and follow it with ‘am I awful?’ she’s a great character. I don’t know if its just that Atwood’s style has changed the more she has written or if she has done this with recent books that I haven’t read as yet, but the prose matches the gentle pace, it is almost floral in parts (apt as the book is so much about nature as it is people) but never for the sake of it.

“The wind starts again, brushing over us, the air warm-cool and fluid, the tree’s behind us moving their leaves, the sound ripples; the water gives off an icy light, zinc moon breaking on small waves. Loon voice, each hair on my body lifting with a shiver; the echoes deflect from all sides, surrounding us, here everything echoes.”

Every word counts and everyone has been carefully picked. Well, that’s the feeling you have when reading it and I think its one of my favourite Atwood reads so far. 9/10

I don’t want to compare this book to any others as I am not sure there are any that I could recommend or would feel fair comparing to. So instead I thought I would leave you with two of my most recent favourite Atwood reading experiences below, both completely different from this one. Which is your favourite Atwood novel? Which one must I turn to next? Has anyone noticed the hardness in some novels (maybe bluntness, no – I can’t get the word exactly) compared to others, maybe it’s the more ‘speculative’ novels that have this? Have you yet to try any Atwood?

Good Bones – Margaret Atwood (a great selection of her shorter works, some essays and some stories, which would be a great way in for a beginner to Atwood, or a delightful addition to any Atwood collection a fan may have)
The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood (her Booker winner and the novel widely described as her masterpiece so far, though all the works of hers I have read have been a delight. Its hard work and needs patience but the reward for your efforts is fantastic)

20 Comments

Filed under Books of 2010, Margaret Atwood, Review, Virago Books

The Labrador Fiasco – Margaret Atwood

It always happens when you go away doesn’t it? You get to your point of destination, in this case my mothers, and you just go to have a look through their bookshelves (an almost instant port of call if I am visiting anyone’s house) and you see a few books that you wouldn’t mind reading. The only thing is you have brought an 800 pager all the way from down south and you haven’t enough time in that weekend to read all the books that you feast your eyes upon and so you pick one… the shortest one. Well I couldn’t find much shorter than The Labrador by Margaret Atwood at 64 pages.

‘The Labrador Fiasco’ isn’t, as I thought it might well be, a delightful short story about a dog. Instead Margaret Atwood manages to write two stories in one in a very limited number of words leaving me once again floored by how clever she is, mind you by now I should be expecting it. One tale is that of a son as he comes home to see his father who has recently had a stroke. He joins his parents as his mother sits down to tell his father his favourite tale that of intrepid yet foolhardy explorers in Labrador in Canada. This is the second tale that also happens to be within the first tale.

Because this delightful ‘Bloomsbury Birthday Quid’ (I now want to look up the whole lot of this series) is so short I won’t go into too much detail about what follows but both tales moved me in a short space of time particularly the main father and son tale. There is a lot of emotion yet in very little words, Atwood somehow casts a spell over the pages and simply makes you feel everything this family is going through without spelling it all out for you. She seems to trust her readers will jin the dots and indeed I did.

I honestly don’t know how Atwood can do this in such a subtle way. Some short stories can race through as much as possible and jam pack as many subjects, themes, thoughts and characters in as possible. Not Atwood, though you could say a story of a family and a story of explorers in the story is a lot, this is a minimalistic and simple tale – or pair of tales – that sticks with you long after you have read it. I have done a little research and it seems that ‘The Labrador Fiasco’ has now ended up in Atwood’s collection ‘Moral Disorder’ which fortunately I own and will be turning my attention too sharpish. 7.5/10

Savidge suggests some perfect prose partners:
Good Bones – Margaret Atwood (great collection of short Atwood works, I should say Moral Disorder but I haven’t read it yet)
Legend of a Suicide – David Vann (for short stories – in a novel, sort of – about fathers and sons and indeed exploring the wilderness)

***

Oh before I go two more things, one how wonderful is the french cover (see left)? I also wanted to mention how this book really took me back. When I opened it I was greeted with the date ‘1996’ and some familiar writing which had inscribed ‘Dear Mummy, I saw this and thought you might like it, Simon’ and it brought many memories back. Mum has always been a big Atwood fan, though am not sure she has read ‘The Year of the Flood’ and I remember how I would look at all the Atwood’s that she owned and think ‘who is Margaret Atwood, why would you want to read that many of her books and being slightly mystified by it all. How things change eh? That could be a post for the future I think, the books we remember from the shelves of our youths! I will take this further soon. Has anyone read any of the other Bloomsbury Quids?

19 Comments

Filed under Bloomsbury Publishing, Margaret Atwood, Review, Short Stories