A collection of highly imaginative short pieces that speak to our times with deadly accuracy. Vintage Atwood creativity, intelligence, and humor: think Alias Grace.
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.
"Witty and frequently biting ... this book’s stories offer characters a chance to put their own understandings of gallantry, courage and revenge to the test, in ways both mundane and extraordinary." —The New York Times Book Review
"In Stone Mattress [Atwood is] having a high old time dancing over the dark swamps of Horror on the wings of satirical wit ... Look at these tales as eight icily refreshing arsenic Popsicles followed by a baked Alaska laced with anthrax, all served with impeccable style and aplomb. Enjoy!" —Ursula K Le Guin, Financial Times
"These exuberantly told tales are a tour de force of wit, style, and discernment." —O Magazine
"Eclectic, funny, vibrant, terrifying, beautiful, and utterly delightful." —Boston Globe
"[These] stories have the caustic wit and giddy deviance ... along with the probing interiority and flinty insights of Atwood’s novels." —Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Stylish, acerbic and wickedly funny ... With wit, sympathy and precision, Atwood draws readers into a reflective frame of mind." —Miami Herald
"Stunning ... Atwood brings her biting wit to bear on the battle of the sexes." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Shrewdly brilliant, gleefully mischievous, and acerbically hilarious ... Atwood has the raptor's penetrating gaze, speed, and agility and never misses her mark." —Booklist, starred review
"Clever tales about writers and lovers ... Atwood is a playful, sharp-edged, and politically alert author." —Kirkus Reviews
Margaret Atwood, whose work has been published in thirty-five countries, is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. In addition to The Handmaid's Tale, her novels include Cat's Eye, short-listed for the Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; Oryx and Crake, short-listed for the 2003 Man Booker Prize; The Year of the Flood; and her most recent, MaddAddam. She is the recipient of the Los Angeles Times Innovator's Award, and lives in Toronto with the writer Graeme Gibson.