A recently widowed fantasy writer is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband. 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. A woman born with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire, and a crime committed long ago is revenged in the Arctic via a 1.9 billion-year-old stromatalite.
‘Calling a piece of short fiction a “tale”,’ says Margaret Atwood, ‘removes it at least slightly from the realm of mundane works and days, as it evokes the world of the folk tale, the wonder tale, and the long-ago teller of tales.’ Several stories in this collection are themselves concerned with ‘tales’: in ‘Alphinland’, a famed writer of high fantasy keeps the man who wronged her many years earlier walled up inside her elaborate imaginary world; ‘Revenant’ and ‘Dark Lady’ reveal more of that shared ancient history; in ‘The Dead Hand Loves You’, a bargain made by an aspiring novelist turns out to have cost him more than he could ever have imagined Irreverent, audacious, self-aware, these pieces often concern age, revenge, the rounding out of life. Black humour figures, as does Atwood’s love of the gothic and the dystopian, but whether serious or playful, the writing is always pin-sharp.
'One of the most important writers in English today.'
'Margaret Atwood is the quiet Mata Hari, the mysterious, violent figure ... who pits herself against the ordered, too clean world like an arsonist Michael Ondaatje. It's easy to appreciate the grand array of Margaret Atwood's works ... in all their power and grace and variety. When I think of it, and put it together with her writerly gifts and achievements, it takes my breath away Alice Munro Atwood is a poet. Scarcely a sentence of her quick, dry yet avid prose fails to do useful work'
- John Updike
Publication date: 28/08/2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
|Publication date:||28th August 2014|
|Publisher:||Bloomsbury Publishing PLC|
|Genres:||Literary Fiction, Shorter Reads,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario and Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master's degree from Radcliffe College. She is the author of more than twenty-five volumes of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction and is perhaps best known for her novels, which include The Edible Woman, The Handmaid's Tale, The Robber Bride and Alias Grace. Her novel, The Blind Assassin, won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000. Margaret Atwood currently lives in Toronto with novelist Graeme Gibson. Author photo &...More About Margaret Atwood