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Publisher's Summary

Elaine Risley, a painter, returns to Toronto to find herself overwhelmed by her past. Memories of childhood - unbearable betrayals and cruelties - surface relentlessly, forcing her to confront the spectre of Cordelia, once her best friend and tormentor, who has haunted her for 40 years.
An exceptional novel from the winner of the 2000 Booker Prize.
©1988 O. W. Toad Ltd (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.
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Critic Reviews

”Not since Graham Greene has a novelist captured so forcefully the relationship between school bully and victim... Atwood's games are played, exquisitely, by little girls” (Listener)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Eva O'Donnell on 02-16-14

Careless editing.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

While the reading was perfect, the editing was sloppy. Sentences were frequently repeated as though the reader did a second take but the first attempt was accidentally left in, instead of being discarded. The pauses between chapters were sometimes so short that the final word was almost clipped, and sometimes the pauses were much longer. Both these faults happened often enough to 'break the spell' of the audiobook.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

By Maddy on 08-25-14

Disappointing Reading

It may be that this book is better read than listened to. Certainly it has the acuteness of perception and comment you expect from Margaret Atwood and a density of interesting observation and explorations that pass too quickly when only heard. It is an exploration of memory and how we create our past, of bullies and victims, of time. The fifty year old, successful Elaine looks back to a childhood idyllic until her parents settle in 1940s Toronto and she is confronted by social norms and constraints she has not had to deal with before. The book is almost entirely about her childhood and an extended period of bullying lead by her 'best friend', followed by teenage years when, if roles are not exactly reversed, Elaine at least has the upper hand. We learn little about Elaine's life as an adult, as a painter; that all seems further away than her vivid rehabiting of childhood.
As has been mentioned, the editing is appalling, the worst of any audio book I've listened to, with the breaks between chapters either long, or more usually, non-existent and many sentences repeated as if a mistake has been made and not edited out.
I found the style of the reading uneven. Sometimes it was brilliant, energetic and with great inflection. Mostly, however, the voice of the reader and the tone she adopts for the book injects a kind of Plaintive melancholy to the story that I don't think is an essential part of the book and becomes tedious.
As you'd expect from Margaret Atwood, this is a very interesting book and I would recommend it highly as a read. I'm not sure that I'd recommend this reader, though, she didn't suit me.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Anonymous User on 10-25-17

Narration needs editing

I love this book, as I do all of Atwood’s work. It’s a little spoilt at times, as there doesn’t seem to have been much editing - lots of repeated lines, with different tone or direction. It’s not a deal breaker by any means, but it takes a little of the shine off.

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By Gai on 07-19-17

My new all-time favourite!

I loved this book, it really resonated with me. Accurately described how debilitating childhood bullying can be, how it shapes our older selves. Another side of Margaret Atwood's marvellous storytelling.

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