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Moral Disorder and Other Storiesby Margaret Atwood
Synopses & Reviews
Margaret Atwood is acknowledged as one of the foremost writers of our time. In Moral Disorde, she has created a series of interconnected stories that trace the course of a life and also the lives intertwined with it—those of parents, of siblings, of children, of friends, of enemies, of teachers, and even of animals. As in a photograph album, time is measured in sharp, clearly observed moments. The ’30s, the ’40s, the ’50s, the ’60s, the ’70s, the ’80s, the ’90s, and the present —all are here. The settings vary: large cities, suburbs, farms, northern forests.
By turns funny, lyrical, incisive, tragic, earthy, shocking, and deeply personal, Moral Disorder displays Atwood’s celebrated storytelling gifts and unmistakable style to their best advantage. As the New York Times has noted: "The reader has the sense that Atwood has complete access to her people's emotional histories, complete understanding of their hearts and imaginations.”
“The Bad News” is set in the present, as a couple no longer young situate themselves in a larger world no longer safe. The narrative then switches time as the central character moves through childhood and adolescence in “The Art of Cooking and Serving,” “The Headless Horseman,” and “My Last Duchess.” We follow her into young adulthood in “The Other Place” and then through a complex relationship, traced in four of the stories: “Monopoly,” “Moral Disorder,” “White Horse,” and “The Entities.” The last two stories, "The Labrador Fiasco" and "The Boys at the Lab," deal with the heartbreaking old age of parents but circle back again to childhood, to complete the cycle.
Moral Disorder is fiction, not autobiography; it prefers emotional truths to chronological facts. Nevertheless, not since Cat’s Eye has Margaret Atwood come so close to giving us a glimpse into her own life.
A new collection of short fiction presents ten stories that capture important moments in the course of a life and in the lives intertwined with it, in a volume that ranges from the 1930s to the 1980s, is set in a variety of locales, and includes such works as "The Bad News," "The Art of Cooking and Serving," "My Last Duchess," "The Boys at the Lab," and the title tale. Reprint. 75,000 first printing.
Margaret Atwood’s latest brilliant collection of short stories follows the life of a single character, seen as a girl growing up the 1930s, a young woman in the 50s and 60s, and, in the present day, half of a couple, no longer young, reflecting on the new state of the world. Each story focuses on the ways relationships transform a character’s life: a woman’s complex love for a married man, the grief upon the death of parents and the joy with the birth of children, the realization of what growing old with someone you love really means. By turns funny, lyrical, incisive, earthy, shocking, and deeply personal, Moral Disorder displays Atwood’s celebrated storytelling gifts and unmistakable style to their best advantage.
About the Author
\Margaret Atwood's books have been published in over thirty-five countries. She 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 -- shortlisted 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, and her most recent, Oryx and Crake -- shortlisted for the 2003 Booker Prize. She lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.
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