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Synopses & Reviews
One of the world’s most celebrated authors, Margaret Atwood has penned a collection of smart and entertaining fictional essays, 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 mini-fictions speak on a broad range of subjects, reflecting the times we live in with deadly accuracy and knife-edge precision.
In pieces ranging in length from a mere paragraph to several pages, Atwood gives a sly pep talk to the ambitious young; writes about the disconcerting experience of looking at old photos of ourselves; gives us Horatio's real views on Hamlet; and examines the boons and banes of orphanhood. “Bring Back Mom: An Invocation” explores what life was really like for the “perfect” homemakers of days gone by, and in “The Animals Reject Their Names,” she runs history backward, with surprising results.
Chilling and witty, prescient and personal, delectable and tart, The Tent is vintage Atwood. Enhanced by the author’s delightful drawings, it is perfect for Valentine’s Day, and any other occasion that demands a special, out-of-the-ordinary gift.
"Biting anger, humor and interest in the fantastic have marked inimitable Atwood works like The Handmaid's Tale, The Blind Assassin and Oryx and Crake. In this odd set of terse, mostly prose ripostes, Atwood takes stock of life and career — 'this graphomania in a flimsy cave' — and finds both come up short. Staged from behind screens of updated fables and myths ('Salome Was a Dancer' begins 'Salome went after the Religious Studies teacher'), the pieces rage icily against the constraints of gender, age (witheringly: 'I have decided to encourage the young'), fame and even 'Voice': 'What people saw was me. What I saw was my voice, ballooning out in front of me like the translucent green membrane of a frog in full trill.' Along with a few poems and childlike line drawings, what keeps this collection of 30-odd fictions from being a set of rants is the offhanded intimacy and acerbic self-knowledge with which Atwood delivers them: 'The person you have in mind is lost. That's the picture I'm getting.' Threaded throughout are dead-on asides on the tyrannies of time and the limits of truth telling in society, so that when Hoggy Groggy hires Foxy Loxy to silence Chicken Little forever, there is no doubt with whom the author's sympathies lie." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"To dip into its pages is like dipping into a box of assorted candies....More often, they're tart, pungent, spicy, occasionally bittersweet, tasting of strong herbs or laced with spirits that deliver a heady punch." Los Angeles Times
"This slender yet engaging collection....Much of the territory covered here is vintage Atwood, but there are enough twists and fresh takes in these acerbic musings to keep longtime readers interested and, perhaps, to hook those for whom Atwood is unfamiliar." San Francisco Chronicle
"The book includes jabs at popular concepts of God, leadership, the good old days....But most of these pieces are intensely personal, with the author examining her own motives and operations." Portland Oregonian
About the Author
Margaret Atwood is the author of more than thirty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. Her novels include The Handmaid’s Tale, Cat’s Eye, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin, winner of the Booker Award, and, most recently, Oryx and Crake. She lives in Toronto, Canada.
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