A collection of smart and entertaining fictional essays from one of the world's most celebrated authors, in the genre of her popular books Good Bones and Murder in the Dark, punctuated with wonderful illustrations by the author. Chilling and witty, prescient and personal, delectable and tart, these highly imaginative, vintage Atwoodian essays speak on a broad range of subjects, reflecting the times we live in with deadly accuracy and knife-edge precision.
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Margaret Atwood is the author of more than forty volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction, but is best known for her novels, which include The Edible Woman (1969), The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), The Robber Bride (1994), Alias Grace (1996), and The Blind Assassin, which won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000. A book of short stories called Stone Mattress: Nine Tales was published in 2014. Her novel, MaddAddam (2013), is the final volume in a three-book series that began with the Man-Booker prize-nominated Oryx and Crake (2003) and continued with The Year of the Flood (2009). The Tent (mini-fictions) and Moral Disorder (short fiction) both appeared in 2006. A volume of poetry, The Door, was published in 2007. In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination, a collection of non-fiction essays appeared in 2011. Her non-fiction book, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth was adapted for the screen in 2012. Ms. Atwood’s work has been published in more than forty languages, including Farsi, Japanese, Turkish, Finnish, Korean, Icelandic and Estonian.
Margaret Atwood lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.
Why the hunger for these? If it is a hunger. Maybe it’s more like bossiness. Maybe we just want to be in charge, of the life, no matter who lived it.
It helps if there are photos. No more choices for the people in them — pick this one, dump that one. The livers of the lives in question had their chances, most of which they blew. They should have spotted the photographer in the bushes, they shouldn’t have chewed with their mouths open, they shouldn’t have worn the strapless top, they shouldn’t have yawned, they shouldn’t have laughed: so unattractive, the candid denture. So that’s what she looked like, we say, connecting the snapshot to the year of the torrid affair. Face like a half-eaten pizza, and is that him, gaping down her front? What did he see in her, besides cheap lunch? He was already going bald. What was all the fuss about?
I’m working on my own life story. I don’t mean I’m putting it together; no, I’m taking it apart. It’s mostly a question of editing. If you’d wanted the narrative line you should have asked earlier, when I still knew everything and was more than willing to tell. That was before I discovered the virtues of scissors, the virtues of matches.
I was born, I would have begun, once. But snip, snip, away go mother and father, white ribbons of paper blown by the wind, with grandparents tossed out for good measure. I spent my childhood. Enough of that as well. Goodbye dirty little dresses, goodbye scuffed shoes that caused me such anguish, goodbye well-thumbed tears and scabby knees, and sadness worn at the edges.
Adolescence can be discarded too, with its salty tanned skin, its fecklessness and bad romance and leakages of seasonal blood. What was it like to breathe so heavily, as if drugged, while rubbing up against strange leather coats in alleyways? I can’t remember.
Once you get started it’s fun. So much free space opens up. Rip, crumple, up in flames, out the window. I was born, I grew up, I studied, I loved, I married, I procreated, I said, I wrote, all gone now. I went, I saw, I did. Farewell crumbling turrets of historic interest, farewell icebergs and war monuments, all those young stone men with eyes upturned, and risky voyages teeming with germs, and dubious hotels, and doorways opening both in and out. Farewell friends and lovers, you’ve slipped from view, erased, defaced: I know you once had hairdos and told jokes, but I can’t recall them. Into the ground with you, my tender fur-brained cats and dogs, and horses and mice as well: I adored you, dozens of you, but what were your names?
I’m getting somewhere now, I’m feeling lighter. I’m coming unstuck from scrapbooks, from albums, from diaries and journals, from space, from time. Only a paragraph left, only a sentence or two, only a whisper.
I was born.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. All items inspected and guaranteed. All Orders Dispatched from the UK within one working day. Established business with excellent service record. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000105018
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Book Description Bloomsbury, 2006. Black Cloth. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition - First Impression. 155pp. Brand new. In a similar unclipped dustjacket. Size: 12mo - over 6¾" - 7¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 4003345
Book Description Bloomsbury, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. Bloomsbury, 2006. Hard Cover. Book Condition: NEW. Dust Jacket Condition: NEW. First Edition. First Edition & First Printing. Not price clipped, no inscriptions. Bookseller Inventory # 000288
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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. The Tent Brand new item sourced directly from publisher. Packed securely in tight packaging to ensure no damage. Shipped from warehouse on same/next day basis. Bookseller Inventory # 1111-9780747582250
Book Description Bloomsbury, London, UK, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. First UK Edition, First Printing. This true first edition, first printing (first impression) with the number "1" to the copyright page to indicate a true first print in a New Dust Jacket. SIGNED and Inscribed by Margaret Atwood to the title page. Inscriptions by Atwood are scarce on recent publications. [For Eimear Best Wishes Margaret Atwood]. Signed by Author(s). Bookseller Inventory # 001301
Book Description Bloomsbury, 2006. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # 9780747582250