Synopses & Reviews
From one of the world's most passionately engaged literary citizens comes Writing with Intent
, the largest collection to date of Margaret Atwood's nonfiction, ranging from 1983 to 2005. Composed of autobiographical essays, cultural commentary, book reviews, and introductory pieces written for great works of literature, this is the award-winning author's first book-length nonfiction publication in twenty years. Arranged chronologically, these writings display the development of Atwood's worldview as the world around her changes.
Included are the Booker Prizewinning author's reviews of books by John Updike, Italo Calvino, Toni Morrison, and others, as well as essays in which she remembers herself reading Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse at age nineteen, and discusses the influence of George Orwell's 1984 on the writing of The Handmaid's Tale. Atwood's New York Times Book Review piece that helped make Orhan Pamuk's Snow a bestseller can be found here, as well as a look back on a family trip to Afghanistan just before the Soviet invasion, and her "Letter to America," written after September 11, 2001. The insightful and memorable pieces in this book serve as a testament to Atwood's career, reminding readers why she is one of the most esteemed writers of our time.
"Atwood is, of course, one of the most famous and prolific Canadian novelists of our time (The Blind Assassin, etc.), and this eclectic collection ably testifies to the scope of her interests and passions. These are occasional pieces, and as such, they form a somewhat odd collection, as when a review of Elmore Leonard's novel Tishomingo Blues is immediately followed by an obituary for a fellow Canadian writer and friend. Atwood has thought long and deeply about the role women have played in the past and continue to play today. But while in the earlier essays she writes of a living revolutionary force that she believed would change the world, the more recent work views the feminist movement as a relic of an earlier time, even if its goals are still forefront in her mind. As responses to specific moments in literary, personal or social history, many of these works don't necessarily deserve to be preserved in perpetuity, but they all skillfully characterize their writer as a woman ravenously curious about the world, witty enough to know her own place in it, fiercely dedicated to language and the art and craft of writing and, even when training a skeptical eye on the world around her, enthusiastic as a child about the very act of living. Agent, Phoebe Larmore." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Although she isn't quite as averse to saying no as John Updike...Atwood remains remarkably assignable. Essays, reviews, introductions, eulogies, afterwords yes, yes, yes. And unlike Updike, she mixes the carrots with the peas." San Francisco Chronicle
"[A] zestful and discerning literary critic....Atwood has a uniquely enlivening voice and point of view, and this exhilarating volume will bolster her standing as a world-class writer of keen intellect and moxie." Booklist
"Atwood is always a gracious writer, stately and polished, though the public persona exemplified here is not nearly as fascinating as her darkly enigmatic literary side. For the die-hard fan." Kirkus Reviews
"Years from now, when readers look back at Margaret Atwood's writing, Writing with Intent
will be a seminal text, read alongside her novels for further insight into her methods, her life, and her perspective on the political and cultural events of her time....Writing with Intent
is an inspiring book that reminds us why the written word is so powerful, and why Margaret Atwood is one of the great literary figures of our time." Alexis Smith, Powells.com
(read the entire Powells.com review
Margaret Atwood's first nonfiction collection in more than twenty years fifty essays and reviews on topics ranging from John Updike, Toni Morrison, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez to the "grunge look" to the author's aunts who encouraged her nascent writing career.
About the Author
Margaret Atwoods books have been published in over thirty-five countries. She is the author of more than thirty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. In addition to THE HANDMAIDS TALE, her novels include CATS EYEshortlisted 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 ORYX AND CAKE. Her previous nonfiction book was SECOND WORDS (Beacon Press, 1984, 0807063584). She lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.