In Alias Grace, bestselling author Margaret Atwood has written her most captivating, disturbing, and ultimately satisfying work since The Handmaid's Tale. She takes us back in time and into the life of one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of the nineteenth century.Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer, Thomas Kinnear, and Nancy Montgomery, his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders.Dr. Simon Jordan, an up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness, is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember. What will he find in attempting to unlock her memories? Is Grace a female fiend? A bloodthirsty femme fatale? Or is she the victim of circumstances?From the Trade Paperback edition.
A compilation of the best American short stories from 1989.
"Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge." These words are spoken by Iris Chase Griffen, married at eighteen to a wealthy industrialist but now poor and eighty-two. Iris recalls her far from exemplary life, and the events leading up to her sister's death, gradually revealing the carefully guarded Chase family secrets. Among these is "The Blind Assassin," a novel that earned the dead Laura Chase not only notoriety but also a devoted cult following. Sexually explicit for its time, it was a pulp fantasy improvised by two unnamed lovers who meet secretly in rented rooms and seedy cafés. As this novel-within-a-novel twists and turns through love and jealousy, self-sacrifice and betrayal, so does the real narrative, as both move closer to war and catastrophe. Margaret Atwood's Booker Prize-winning sensation combines elements of gothic drama, romantic suspense, and science fiction fantasy in a spellbinding tale.From the Hardcover edition.
By turns humorous and warm, stark and frightening, Bluebeard's Egg infuses a Canada of the 1940s, '50s and '80s with glowing childhood memories, the harsh realities of parents growing old, and the casual cruelty that men and women inflict on each other. Here is the familiar outer world of family summers at remote lakes, winters of political activism, and seasons of exotic friends, mudane lives and unexpected loves. But here too is the inner world of hidden places and all that emerges from them--the intimately personal, the fantastic and the shockingly real...whether it's what lies in a mysterious locked room or in the secret feelings we all conceal.From the Paperback edition.
Rennie Wilford is a freelance journalist who takes an assignment in the Caribbean in the hopes of recuperating from her recently shattered life. On the tiny island of St. Antoine, she tumbles into a corrupt world where no one is what they seem, where her rules for survival no longer apply. This is a thoroughly gripping novel of intrigue and betrayal, which explores human defensiveness, the lust for power both sexual and political, and the need for a compassion that goes beyond what we ordinarily mean by love. The enigma unfolds as it would for any innocent bystander swept up by events, bringing along the scruples, and the fears, of the past.From the Hardcover edition.
Controversial painter Elaine Risley returns from Vancouver for a retrospective of her work. Here, in Toronto, the city of her youth, she confronts the submerged layers of her past - her unconventional family, her eccentric and brilliant brother, the self-righteous Mrs. Smeath, and the two men Elaine later came to love in diverse and sometimes disastrous ways. But it is the enigmatic Cordelia, once her tormentor, then her best friend, whose elusive yet powerful presence in her life Elaine finally comes to understand. The realm of childhood and growing up, with its secrecies, cruelties, betrayals, and terrors, has never been so brilliantly evoked. By turns disquieting, humorous, compassionate, haunting and mordant, Cat's Eye is vintage Atwood.From the Hardcover edition.
This splendid volume of short fiction testifies to Margaret Atwood's startlingly original voice, full of a rare intensity and exceptional intelligence. Her men and women still miscommunicate, still remain separate in different rooms, different houses, or even different worlds. With brilliant flashes of fantasy, humor, and unexpected violence, the stories reveal the complexities of human relationships and bring to life characters who touch us deeply, evoking terror and laughter, compassion and recognition--and dramatically demonstrate why Margaret Atwood is one of the most important writers in English today.
Dancing Girls is Margaret Atwood's highly praised first collection of short fiction. In it she explores the dark intricacies of the mind, the complexities of human relationships, and the clashes between cultures. In the stories, the mundane and the bizarre intersect in unexpected ways: ex-wives indulge in an odd feast at a psychiatrist's funeral; a young student is pursued by an obsessed immigrant; an old woman stores up supplies against an impending cataclysm. The fourteen stories range in setting from Canada to England, from Mexico to the United States, and portray characters who touch us and arouse in us compassion and understanding. In this astonishing collection, Margaret Atwood maps human motivation we scarcely know we have.From the Hardcover edition.
The Door, Margaret Atwood's first book of poetry since Morning in the Burned House, is a magnificent achievement. Here in paperback for the first time, these fifty lucid, urgent poems range in tone from lyric to ironic to mediative to prophetic, and in subject from the personal to the political, viewed in its broadest sense. They investigate the mysterious writing of poetry itself, as well as the passage of time and our shared sense of mortality. Brave and compassionate, The Door interrogates the certainties that we build our lives on, and reminds us once again of Margaret Atwood's unique accomplishments as one of the finest and most celebrated writers of our time.
Marian has a problem. A willing member of the consumer society in which she lives, she suddenly finds herself identifying with the things being consumed. She can cope with her tidy-minded fiancé, Peter, who likes shooting rabbits. She can cope with her job in market research, and the antics of her roommate. She can even cope with Duncan, a graduate student who seems to prefer laundromats to women. But not being able to eat is a different matter. Steak was the first to go. Then lamb, pork, and the rest. Next came her incapacity to face an egg. Vegetables were the final straw. But Marian has her reasons, and what happens next provides an unusual solution. Witty, subversive, hilarious, The Edible Woman is dazzling and utterly original. It is Margaret Atwood's brilliant first novel, and the book that introduced her as a consummate observer of the ironies and absurdities of modern life.
In Good Bones, first published in 1992, Margaret Atwood has fashioned an enthralling collection of parable, monologue, mini-romance and mini-biography, speculative fiction, prose lyric, outrageous recipe and reconfigured fairy tale, demonstrating yet again the play of an unerring wit overseen by a panoramic intelligence. Good Bones is a cornucopia of good things -- precise, witty, wise, and sometimes offbeat Atwood writing, with the funny and the sidelong view of the world which her readers recognize at once.
Margaret Atwood's Good Bones and Simple Murders (published originally as Murder in the Dark) are now available together in this beautiful one-volume collector's edition. This compilation is a concentrated burst of the trademark wit and virtuosity of Atwood's bestselling novels, brilliant stories, and insightful poetry. Among the miniatures gathered here are Gertrude offering Hamlet a piece of her mind, the real truth about the Little Red Hen, a reincarnated bat explaining how Bram Stoker got Dracula all wrong, and five home-economist methods of making a man. Atwood has fashioned an enthralling collection of parables, monologues, prose poems, condensed science fictions, reconfigured fairy tales, and other diminutive masterpieces, punctuated with charming illustrations by the author.A feast of comic entertainment, Good Bones and Simple Murders is Atwood at her wittiest, most thoughtful, and most provoking.From the Hardcover edition.
In this multi-award-winning, bestselling novel, Margaret Atwood has created a stunning Orwellian vision of the near future. This is the story of Offred, one of the unfortunate "Handmaids" under the new social order who have only one purpose: to breed. In Gilead, where women are prohibited from holding jobs, reading, and forming friendships, Offred's persistent memories of life in the "time before" and her will to survive are acts of rebellion. Provocative, startling, prophetic, and with Margaret Atwood's devastating irony, wit, and acute perceptive powers in full force, The Handmaid's Tale is at once a mordant satire and a dire warning.From the Hardcover edition.
The Handmaid's Tale is not only a radical and brilliant departure for Margaret Atwood, it is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States, now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men of its population. The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment's calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions. The Handmaid's Tale is funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best.
'"Time isn't the same in dreams," says Charis, who likes reading about what's going on in her head when she isn't awake, though sometimes, thinks Roz, it's hard to tell the difference. "In dreams, nobody's dead, really. That's what the man who...he says, in dreams the time is always Now."' Long ago, when they were all a lot younger, Zenia stole a man from each of them. Then she died. Now she's come back. Or has she? There's a lot more than one kind of ghost. Margaret Atwood revisits her classic characters from The Robber Bride. This story first appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of The Walrus magazine.
The size and severity of the global climate crisis is such that even the most committed environmentalists are liable to live in a state of denial. The award-winning writers collected here have made it their task to shake off this nagging disbelief, bringing the incomprehensible within our grasp and shaping an emotional response to the deterioration of our global habitat. From T. C. Boyle's account of early eco-activists, to Nathaniel Rich's vision of a near future where oil sells for $800 a barrel--these ten provocative, occasionally chilling, sometimes satirical stories bring a human reality to disasters of inhuman proportions.Royalties from I'm With the Bears will go to 350.org, an international grassroots movement working to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Note: The electronic version of this title contains over thirty additional, illuminating eBook-exclusive illustrations by the author.At a time when speculative fiction seems less and less far-fetched, Margaret Atwood lends her distinctive voice and singular point of view to the genre in a series of essays that brilliantly illuminates the essential truths about the modern world. This is an exploration of her relationship with the literary form we have come to know as "science fiction," a relationship that has been lifelong, stretching from her days as a child reader in the 1940s, through her time as a graduate student at Harvard, where she worked on the Victorian ancestor of the form, and continuing as a writer and reviewer. This book brings together her three heretofore unpublished Ellmann Lectures from 2010: "Flying Rabbits," which begins with Atwood's early rabbit superhero creations, and goes on to speculate about masks, capes, weakling alter egos, and Things with Wings; "Burning Bushes," which follows her into Victorian otherlands and beyond; and "Dire Cartographies," which investigates Utopias and Dystopias. In Other Worlds also includes some of Atwood's key reviews and thoughts about the form. Among those writers discussed are Marge Piercy, Rider Haggard, Ursula Le Guin, Ishiguro, Bryher, Huxley, and Jonathan Swift. She elucidates the differences (as she sees them) between "science fiction" proper, and "speculative fiction," as well as between "sword and sorcery/fantasy" and "slipstream fiction." For all readers who have loved The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake, and The Year of the Flood, In Other Worlds is a must. From the Hardcover edition.
Joan Foster is the bored wife of a myopic ban-the-bomber. She takes off overnight as Canada's new superpoet, pens lurid gothics on the sly, attracts a blackmailing reporter, skids cheerfully in and out of menacing plots, hair-raising traps, and passionate trysts, and lands dead and well in Terremoto, Italy. In this remarkable, poetic, and magical novel, Margaret Atwood proves yet again why she is considered to be one of the most important and accomplished writers of our time.
Life Before Man vividly portrays three people in thrall to the tragicomedy some call love. Imprisoned by walls of their own construction, they are forced to make drastic choices - after the rules have changed and the boundaries have become faded. There is Elizabeth, with her controlled sensuality, who seeks solutions in the wrong men; Nate, wry and gentle husband of Elizabeth, racked by an inability to decide; and Lesje, quiet and inexperienced, who prefers dinosaurs to most men. Hanging over all of them is the ghost of Elizabeth's dead lover...and the threat of three lives careering inevitably toward potential catastrophe.From the Hardcover edition.
Months after the Waterless Flood pandemic has wiped out most of humanity, Toby and Ren have rescued their friend Amanda from the vicious Painballers. They return to the MaddAddamite cob house, which is being fortified against man and giant Pigoon alike. Accompanying them are the Crakers, the gentle, quasi-human species engineered by the brilliant but deceased Crake. While their reluctant prophet, Jimmy -- Crake's one-time friend -- recovers from a debilitating fever, it's left to Toby to narrate the Craker theology, with Crake as Creator. She must also deal with cultural misunderstandings, terrible coffee, and her jealousy over her lover, Zeb. Meanwhile, Zeb searches for Adam One, founder of the God's Gardeners, the pacifist green religion from which Zeb broke years ago to lead the MaddAddamites in active resistance against the destructive CorpSeCorps. Now, under threat of an imminent Painballer attack, the MaddAddamites must fight back with the aid of their newfound allies, some of whom have four trotters. At the centre, is the extraordinary story of Zeb's past, which involves a lost brother, a hidden murder, a bear, and a bizarre act of revenge. Combining adventure, humour, romance, superb storytelling, and an imagination that is at once dazzlingly inventive and grounded in a recognizable world, MaddAddam is vintage Margaret Atwood, and a moving and dramatic conclusion to her internationally celebrated dystopian trilogy.
From Booker Prize-winner and #1 national bestseller Margaret Atwood, The MaddAddam Trilogy is so utterly compelling, so prescient, so relevant, so all-too-likely-to-be-true, that readers may find their view of the world forever changed after reading it. This is Margaret Atwood at the absolute peak of her powers. With breathtaking command of her brilliantly conceived material, and with her customary sharp wit and dark humour, she projects us into an outlandish yet wholly believable realm populated by characters who will continue to inhabit our dreams long after the last chapter. In the tradition of The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood envision a near future that is both beyond our imagining and all too familiar: a world devastated by uncontrolled genetic engineering and a widespread plague, with only a few remaining humans fighting for survival. Combining adventure, humour, romance and superb storytelling that is at once dazzlingly inventive and grounded in a recognizable world, MaddAddam is a moving and dramatic conclusion to this internationally celebrated dystopian trilogy.
Atwood triumphs with these dazzling, personal stories in her first collection since Wilderness Tips.In these ten interrelated stories Atwood traces the course of a life and also the lives intertwined with it, while evoking the drama and the humour that colour common experiences -- the birth of a baby, divorce and remarriage, old age and death. With settings ranging from Toronto, northern Quebec, and rural Ontario, the stories begin in the present, as a couple no longer young situate themselves in a larger world no longer safe. Then the narrative goes back in time to the forties and moves chronologically forward toward the present. In "The Art of Cooking and Serving," the twelve-year-old narrator does her best to accommodate the arrival of a baby sister. After she boldly declares her independence, we follow the narrator into young adulthood and then through a complex relationship. In "The Entities," the story of two women haunted by the past unfolds. The magnificent last two stories reveal the heartbreaking old age of parents but circle back again to childhood, to complete the cycle. By turns funny, lyrical, incisive, tragic, earthy, shocking, and deeply personal, Moral Disorder displays Atwood's celebrated storytelling gifts and unmistakable style to their best advantage. This is vintage Atwood, writing at the height of her powers.From the Hardcover edition.
First published in 1983, Murder in the Dark is Margaret Atwood's seventh work of fiction or her tenth book of poetry, depending on how you slice it. These short prose forms range from fictionalized autobiography through prose-poetry, mini-romance, and mini-science fiction. A feast of comic entertainment, Murder in the Dark is Atwood at her wittiest, most thoughtful, and most provoking.
Dystopian novel about Earth in the wake of mass consumption and genetic engineering
The internationally acclaimed Myths series brings together some of the finest writers of our time to provide a contemporary take on some of our most enduring stories. Here, the timeless and universal tales that reflect and shape our lives-mirroring our fears and desires, helping us make sense of the world-are revisited, updated, and made new.Margaret Atwood's Penelopiad is a sharp, brilliant and tender revision of a story at the heart of our culture: the myths about Penelope and Odysseus. In Homer's familiar version, The Odyssey, Penelope is portrayed as the quintessential faithful wife. Left alone for twenty years when Odysseus goes to fight in the Trojan Wars, she manages to maintain the kingdom of Ithaca, bring up her wayward son and, in the face of scandalous rumours, keep over a hundred suitors at bay. When Odysseus finally comes home after enduring hardships, overcoming monsters and sleeping with goddesses, he kills Penelope's suitors and-curiously-twelve of her maids.In Homer the hanging of the maids merits only a fleeting though poignant mention, but Atwood comments in her introduction that she has always been haunted by those deaths. The Penelopiad, she adds, begins with two questions: what led to the hanging of the maids, and what was Penelope really up to? In the book, these subjects are explored by Penelope herself-telling the story from Hades -- the Greek afterworld - in wry, sometimes acid tones. But Penelope's maids also figure as a singing and dancing chorus (and chorus line), commenting on the action in poems, songs, an anthropology lecture and even a videotaped trial. The Penelopiad does several dazzling things at once. First, it delves into a moment of casual brutality and reveals all that the act contains: a practice of sexual violence and gender prejudice our society has not outgrown. But it is also a daring interrogation of Homer's poem, and its counter-narratives -- which draw on mythic material not used by Homer - cleverly unbalance the original. This is the case throughout, from the unsettling questions that drive Penelope's tale forward, to more comic doubts about some of The Odyssey's most famous episodes. ("Odysseus had been in a fight with a giant one-eyed Cyclops, said some; no, it was only a one-eyed tavern keeper, said another, and the fight was over non-payment of the bill.")In fact, The Penelopiad weaves and unweaves the texture of The Odyssey in several searching ways. The Odyssey was originally a set of songs, for example; the new version's ballads and idylls complement and clash with the original. Thinking more about theme, the maids' voices add a new and unsettling complex of emotions that is missing from Homer. The Penelopiad takes what was marginal and brings it to the centre, where one can see its full complexity. The same goes for its heroine. Penelope is an important figure in our literary culture, but we have seldom heard her speak for herself. Her sometimes scathing comments in The Penelopiad (about her cousin, Helen of Troy, for example) make us think of Penelope differently - and the way she talks about the twenty-first century, which she observes from Hades, makes us see ourselves anew too. Margaret Atwood is an astonishing storyteller, and The Penelopiad is, most of all, a haunting and deeply entertaining story. This book plumbs murder and memory, guilt and deceit, in a wise and passionate manner. At time hilarious and at times deeply thought-provoking, it is very much a Myth for our times.From the Hardcover edition.
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