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Publisher's Summary

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.
This audiobook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.
©2014 O.W. Toad, Ltd. (P)2015 Audible Inc.
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3 out of 5 stars
By Wras on 08-10-16

Bitter, bitter old age tales that sting

I love Margaret Atwood's work but lately she is putting out some tales that are so full of disappointment in the human condition it is hard to like them.

Three of the stories are connected through characters and the rest in despair and reflections on life from the view of older bitter people, the magical tale is not so magic All the sex is tainted in use and abuse and so is therefore the love we get to see, even brotherly or asexual love are presented as a form of resignation.

Perhaps is me, but I find that she confuses bitterness with satire. And when it is spread so thickly it distorts everything into bleakness.

The writing is good and the plots are interesting, but the negativity gives no place to enjoy even the revenges or the past memories of the characters that feel cheated and used by their past loves making all an exercise in desperation for older character that discover or are very aware of their mortal coil.

It is good reading if you like Margaret Atwood but with the caveat that it is not happy reading or life affirming.

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