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Wilderness Tips


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* 'Margaret Atwood deserves an adjective - Atwoodian - in recognition of her vituoso wit ad unmistakable style' CHICAGO TRIBUNE * Reissue, in a wonderful new look, of one of her best collections of short stories

About the Author

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays, and won the Man Booker for THE BLIND ASSASSIN. Her latest novel, THE YEAR OF THE FLOOD is published in Virago paperback in August 2010.


In this newest collection of ten short stories, Atwood looks back over three decades that have wrought great changes in women's lives. The impacts of death, disease, deception, and disappointment are explored; Atwood's characters, with their tenuous personal relationships, always endure a terrible aloneness. The loss of trust in others is a recurring theme. In one story a betrayed woman plays a grisly practical joke on her married lover; in another, a man settles for second choice in love and work and lives in apathy thereafter. An art collector's priceless landscapes only serve to remind her of a tragedy in her adolescence. Atwood's stories are unsettling but unforgettable. Recommended for public libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 8/1/91.-- Marnie Webb, King Cty. Lib. System, Seattle

Set mainly in Toronto or in the Canadian woods, the 10 beautifully controlled tales in Atwood's new collection testify to the unpredictability of life, its missed connections, unsolvable mysteries and the lightning passage of time. Most of them are refracted through the sensibilities and memories of female protagonists, who reflect on the moment when they realized that ``nothing has turned out'' as they expected. Past and present coalesce seamlessly in these stories; Atwood is particularly good at capturing the feelings of adolescence and the exact details that typify the culture of the decades from the '50s to the '90s. Events are seen at a distance, related in emotionally muted but acutely revealing prose. The hard-edged tone of ``Hairball'' perfectly conjures up the ruthless, manipulative protagonist who suddenly realizes that she has been bested by her obnoxious protege. Susanna, in ``Uncles,'' has a similar comeuppance, as she, the consummate trickster who ``can fake anything'' is betrayed by her mentor. In both ``The Bog Man'' (the least successful tale, as here Atwood uncharacteristically veers toward melodrama) and ``The Age of Lead'' a body uncovered long after death serves as a metaphor for buried desires, opportunities and hopes. In the title story, Atwood observes the interrelationships among three sisters and the randy foreigner who has married one of them and made love to the other two. Atwood's ( Cat' s Eye ) uncompromising eye is enhanced by her sinewy, taut prose. (Dec.)

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