A leathery bog-man transforms an old love affair; a sweet, gruesome gift is sent by the wife of an ex-lover; landscape paintings are haunted by the ghost of a young girl. This dazzling collection of ten short stories takes us into familiar Atwood territory to reveal the logic of irrational behaviour and the many textures lying beneath ordinary ...
A leathery bog-man transforms an old love affair; a sweet, gruesome gift is sent by the wife of an ex-lover; landscape paintings are haunted by the ghost of a young girl. This dazzling collection of ten short stories takes us into familiar Atwood territory to reveal the logic of irrational behaviour and the many textures lying beneath ordinary life.
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Publishers Weekly, 1991-10-04 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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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