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Murder in the Dark: Short Fictions and Prose Poems

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* 'Direct, unpretentious, humorous' SUNDAY TIMES


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30 review for Murder in the Dark: Short Fictions and Prose Poems

  1. 4 out of 5

    F

    Some stories better than others. Just not for me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Sumi

    Most people know Margaret Atwood as a novelist (The Blind Assassin, The MaddAddam Trilogy, Cat’s Eye, most recently The Heart Goes Last). But she’s also an excellent short story writer, poet and essayist. This slim volume from 1983 feels like a hybrid of those last three genres; the writing’s looser than in her poetry collections, but the pieces aren’t long enough to be considered stories. Vignettes? Perhaps. “Prose poems” is an apt description, but many of them are as chock full of ide Most people know Margaret Atwood as a novelist (The Blind Assassin, The MaddAddam Trilogy, Cat’s Eye, most recently The Heart Goes Last). But she’s also an excellent short story writer, poet and essayist. This slim volume from 1983 feels like a hybrid of those last three genres; the writing’s looser than in her poetry collections, but the pieces aren’t long enough to be considered stories. Vignettes? Perhaps. “Prose poems” is an apt description, but many of them are as chock full of ideas as her essays. The subjects range from childhood reminiscences – making poison with her brother; finding a grandfather’s collection of Boys Own Annuals in the attic; her history of fainting – to a series of riffs on finding “the real” Mexico, not the tourist version. The strongest section contains the title story, in which a parlor game becomes a metaphor for the writer/reader dynamic, as well as "Women's Novels," a clever look at gender and genre fiction. "Simmering" is an amusing speculative fiction piece (she wrote it before her first SF book, The Handmaid's Tale) about men taking over the kitchen. My favourite piece is a deadpan meditation on narrative possibilities called “Happy Endings.” The story “Liking Men” starts with a funny, sly look at men and sexual politics and transforms into a disturbing comment on rape, power and genocide. The final piece, “Instructions For The Third Eye,” is about the subversive power and vision of the writer – something this clever author, with this unique book, has just demonstrated yet again.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    This is a collection of Attwood’s shorter fictions and some of it is very short pieces indeed; prose poems, or as one critic put in; flash fiction. There is quite a variety of fictions; childhood reminiscences, gender, men, some speculative fictions and food and cookery! These are more clearly feminist than some of Attwood’s other work. There are several recurring motifs, one being; “Is this the man through whom all men can be forgiven?” The title piece “Murder in the Dark” is based on the child This is a collection of Attwood’s shorter fictions and some of it is very short pieces indeed; prose poems, or as one critic put in; flash fiction. There is quite a variety of fictions; childhood reminiscences, gender, men, some speculative fictions and food and cookery! These are more clearly feminist than some of Attwood’s other work. There are several recurring motifs, one being; “Is this the man through whom all men can be forgiven?” The title piece “Murder in the Dark” is based on the childhood game and Attwood plays with it in quite a clever way. “Simmering” is a brilliant twist on gender relations where the men stay at home and do the chores and cooking and women go out to work. Inevitably the kitchen becomes the domain of men who become competitive about their recipes and the sharpness of their knives. So perhaps the issue with gender isn’t roles but rather the nature of men! “Women’s novels is a clever analysis of the nature of male and female novels done in a satirical and amusing way in a series of brief vignettes; “Men favour heroes who are tough and hard: tough with men, hard with women. Sometimes the hero goes soft on a woman but this is always a mistake. Women do not favour heroines who are tough and hard. Instead they have to be tough and soft. This leads to linguistic difficulties. Last time we looked, monosyllables were male, still dominant but sinking fast, wrapped in the octopoid arms of labial polysyllables, whispering to them with arachnoid grace: darling, darling.” “Happy Endings” takes a sideways look at plot and the problems and limitations the novelist has and is a delight to read. It starts from the simple premise “John and Mary meet. What happens next?” Then there are six outline plots which cover most of literature and finally a limiting end point: “John and Mary die?” Death being a limiting factor for most plots. It’s clever and enjoyable and I think I like Attwood better in short form than long form.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Abbie | ab_reads

    If anyone can make me give a collection of 1-5 page short stories 4 stars it is Atwood.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Shweta

    Thoughtful, experimental. Stories examining the nature of stories and more...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dani Dányi

    That was a surprising read. A lot of these Atwood prose texts are so genre-fluid, the "short fictions and prose poems" epithet seems almost apologetically inadequate. I would exaggerate to call all of these experiments exciting: they are dense and intense yes, poetry or at least poetic in that way. Often they seem reconfigured experiments of the same basics, and this quickly becomes as uninteresting. Also it's as often poetry tripped of its might, the distinctive poetic form strung out into pros That was a surprising read. A lot of these Atwood prose texts are so genre-fluid, the "short fictions and prose poems" epithet seems almost apologetically inadequate. I would exaggerate to call all of these experiments exciting: they are dense and intense yes, poetry or at least poetic in that way. Often they seem reconfigured experiments of the same basics, and this quickly becomes as uninteresting. Also it's as often poetry tripped of its might, the distinctive poetic form strung out into prose instead of line breaks, just doesn't do for me what "proper" non-prose poems do. (Of Atwood's or otherwise. This is in fact the first time I commit to such a broad aesthetic statement. Which feels oddly relieving; but back to the book!) Stories, her stories, when told in the way of relatable, almost tactile, palpable narrative; now those kick, or pack a punch, though in fact they struggle to do something less conventionally and metaphorically male. The sensibility of metaphor and gender sensibility come across strong as the images and ideas, no small feat. Keep telling me the story. Write a novel.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Matt Jaeger

    The whole collection is brilliant, but the stories in part 3 are especially poignant and provoking -- "Simmering," "Happy Ending,"Women's Novels," and "Bread."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Olivia Sussex

    flash through of different memories/ new ideas/ commentaries/ stories, and I didn't like them all but who cares!! there were many lines that were so beautiful I had to write them down.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gail Winfree

    I’m a big fan of Margaret Atwood, though I haven’t read anything by her since “Surfacing” many years ago. A few days ago, I was scanning my bookshelves looking for something else when I came across “Murder in the Dark” (that’s the nice thing about having a library of thousands of books; you never know what you might find). This is a thin book, 110 pages, of short fiction and prose poems—27 vignettes that deal with that many subjects, but mostly relationships between things, primarily men and wom I’m a big fan of Margaret Atwood, though I haven’t read anything by her since “Surfacing” many years ago. A few days ago, I was scanning my bookshelves looking for something else when I came across “Murder in the Dark” (that’s the nice thing about having a library of thousands of books; you never know what you might find). This is a thin book, 110 pages, of short fiction and prose poems—27 vignettes that deal with that many subjects, but mostly relationships between things, primarily men and women. Atwood applies her literary intelligence to things like bread, chefs, poison, books, and even a game called Murder in the Dark. I’ve read many of Atwood’s novels and poems, but this is my first read of her short prose. It’s a quick read. I think I spent more time thinking about what she wrote than I spent reading the book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bruce

    The story, "Happy Endings," is an exercise in metafiction. Atwood invites the reader to participate in the making of the story, or at least highlights the reader’s constant role in creating a work of literature. She presents a variety of alternative endings to a brief introductory paragraph involving John and Mary, requiring the reader to select from among the various options, imitating different genres and styles of writing. One option, Option A, is a conventional, fairytale-like, saccharine end The story, "Happy Endings," is an exercise in metafiction. Atwood invites the reader to participate in the making of the story, or at least highlights the reader’s constant role in creating a work of literature. She presents a variety of alternative endings to a brief introductory paragraph involving John and Mary, requiring the reader to select from among the various options, imitating different genres and styles of writing. One option, Option A, is a conventional, fairytale-like, saccharine ending that is implausible and uninteresting. Option B presents Mary as being in love with John, although he does not love her. She is taken advantage of and eventually commits suicide, whereupon John marries Madge. This plot, while clichéd, is at least slightly more interesting. In Option C, John is an older married man philandering with the younger Mary, who in turn loves the young James. John, in a jealous rage, shoots Mary and James, then kills himself. His widow Madge subsequently marries Fred. This plot is not original but is somewhat more complex than Option B. Option D follows Madge and Fred through their misfortunes as they suffer but are “virtuous and grateful.” Too little detail is provided to make this option very interesting, although the subplot has potential. In Option E, Fred dies of a heart attack and Mary devotes herself to doing good works, the reader being left to determine her feelings and attitudes. And in Option F, John and Mary are revolutionaries and counter-espionage agents and have epic adventures. The endings, Atwood points out, all eventually result in the death of the characters. The uniqueness of a story is what happens in the middle, the art of fiction being in the crafting of a narrative that is interesting and unique even if and when the ending is to some extent predictable; as Atwood states it, the “what” of plots are limited and often predictable, the art of story telling being in the how and why. This present work lets the reader not only be aware of the process of the creation of fiction, but it emphasizes the mutual collaborative effort between author and reader that must occur if the work is successful. Atwood uses this artificial form to point out the inventiveness, fun, and art of the writing of fiction.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I like to imagine what it would be like to wander around inside Margaret Atwood's brain. I imagine it is a rich world filled with memories, references to many facets of life, including popular culture, with filtered light and pockets of darkness. I really enjoyed this collection of short stories and poems. Some stories didn't click with me but the stories that did draw me in, I felt an intense connection to. The stories and prose were dark with humorous undertones. I like how she finds a balance b I like to imagine what it would be like to wander around inside Margaret Atwood's brain. I imagine it is a rich world filled with memories, references to many facets of life, including popular culture, with filtered light and pockets of darkness. I really enjoyed this collection of short stories and poems. Some stories didn't click with me but the stories that did draw me in, I felt an intense connection to. The stories and prose were dark with humorous undertones. I like how she finds a balance between light and dark. That is a tension that has always fascinated me. My favourite story was "Making Poison". I loved the vivid description of the narrator's childhood experience of making a concoction with her brother. I especially enjoyed the contrast between innocence and curiosity of the darker aspects of life: "When I was five my brother and I made poison...We kept it in a paint can under somebody else's house and we put all the poisonous things into it that we could think of: toadstools, dead mice, mountain ash berries which may have not been poisonous but looked like it, piss which we saved up in order to add to the paint can. By the time the paint can was full everything in it was very poisonous." This narration is followed by introspection that I felt kinda gave me the chills, as when someone articulates something you've felt but never knew how to word it: "Why did we make poison in the first place? I can remember the glee with which we stirred and added the sense of magic and accomplishment. Making poison is as much fun as making a cake. People like to make poison. If you don't understand this you'll never understand anything." Another moment that I found insightful was in the story "Raw Materials" where Atwood writes: "I'm not afraid of falling: heights go to my head, I start to believe I can really fly." I plan on reading more of her work this year.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Saloni

    Delicious! Clever and funny and ironic and sardonic and wry. And those aren't just synonyms.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Adrianne Mathiowetz

    How much I loved two of these stories: one I immediately handed over to my spouse and demanded he read ("Instructions for the Third Eye") and another has been kicking me in the gut repeatedly since I read it, so I searched around to see if I could share it with a good friend, and when I found it wasn't online anywhere I retyped the whole thing in an email ("Liking Men") with no explanation beyond attribution and just hit send. Published in 1983, these stories could have come out today and be cons How much I loved two of these stories: one I immediately handed over to my spouse and demanded he read ("Instructions for the Third Eye") and another has been kicking me in the gut repeatedly since I read it, so I searched around to see if I could share it with a good friend, and when I found it wasn't online anywhere I retyped the whole thing in an email ("Liking Men") with no explanation beyond attribution and just hit send. Published in 1983, these stories could have come out today and be considered startling -- and, unfortunately for us, writing like "Liking Men" is more relevant than ever. Docking a star on a Goodreads review for Margaret Atwood feels profoundly stupid, but I'm doing it more as a note to myself in comparison with other books of hers I've enjoyed (particularly her poetry). Some of the stories in the first and second sections of this book felt more playfully experimental where there could have been more meat, and especially paired with writing that is both experimental AND meaty in the latter sections, these felt like a meal with the main course excluded.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ivana Books Are Magic

    Margaret Atwood never disappoints, does she? She is definitely one of my favourite contemporary female writers, and this book has a lot going for it. Murder in the Dark is the name of one of the short stories included in this book but it also serves as the title for this book. If you are no stranger to Atwood's writing, you'll slide right into the writing. If you are reading something of hers for the first time, you might need a bit to get adjusted to Atwood's style. Murder in the Dark is a shor Margaret Atwood never disappoints, does she? She is definitely one of my favourite contemporary female writers, and this book has a lot going for it. Murder in the Dark is the name of one of the short stories included in this book but it also serves as the title for this book. If you are no stranger to Atwood's writing, you'll slide right into the writing. If you are reading something of hers for the first time, you might need a bit to get adjusted to Atwood's style. Murder in the Dark is a short story that refers to a well known game where participants guess who is the murderer. One of the players is a detective, another a murderer and one a victim. Atwood uses this game to comment on the reading process, with murderer being the writer, the victim being the reader and the detective being the critic. It is an interesting story, and the same can be said for the other stories in this collection. What kind of book is this? A collection of prose poems and short stories that differ from one another in theme, subject and style. Nevertheless, all of them feel very much like Margaret's writing. You might say that these short stories and prose poems differ in everything but that elusive quality of brutal sincerity that defines the style of M. Atwood for me. The writing style might vary, but it is always Atwood's writing. Obviously, in a satire short story the writing will be more simple than in a poetry prose work. For instance, there is this satire story called Simmering that describes a world where the gender roles are reversed. In this future world, the men do not allow women to cook because that stands in the way of their manliness. This shows (to me at least) it is not so much roles that need to be reversed as our attitude to them. The writing in Simmering is quite simple, and the point of the story is to question gender identity. In contrast, some of the other stories are more poetic and enigmatic. However, you can always feel it's Atwood who wrote them. Every one of these stories has its own world, beauty, logic and paradox. As I was reading them, I felt like I was sinking into a new world with each one. Seriously, it is impressive how much power such short creations have. Not the author that avoids difficult themes even in short form, Atwood kept things interesting to say at least. Themes range from a child preparing poison to women/man relationships. All in all, I would say that those who like Atwood as a novelist, will probably not be disappointed by "The Murder in The Dark". It seems the Atwood is one of those writers that transit easily from one form to another. If I had to make a visual and personal representation of Atwood's writing style it would be one of a surgeon. I picture her mercilessly picking up some wound, blood rushing, plenty of pain and screams to go along with it- and than finding and removing the object that was berried in the flesh. I would even compare the feeling you get after reading her to that following that kind of surgical procedure. In other words, you feel a bit sick and nauseated but relived. You're relived to see what was that thing that was burning under your skin. It's better to know the truth, even if truth is ugly. That's how I would describe it. I don't really see any agenda while I'm reading her stuff yet she makes me question everything. That is suppose what I like about her books so much. All that complexity just comes naturally in her writing. I never had the feeling Atwood is being morbid just to be morbid. Some of the stories are perhaps a bit bizarre, but there is always something behind it. There just seems to be this great desire in Atwood to get at the bottom of things, find out truths so we could arms us selves against life. That's my impression anyway. I picked up this book in a library years ago, mostly because it was on the bookshelf near where I was sitting and because I needed to rest my hands from taking notes about something (yes, also because it was obviously a short book). While I was reading Murder in the Dark, and just about that time when I got to those stories that could be called feminist, I could hear this two men complaining about women expecting too much and then this woman hushed them up. Women complaining about man, men complaining about women- that's a familiar thing. I don't think it is what these stories that could be called feminist are about, there's about so much more-but there is that complaining part. The thing with Margaret is that she isn't afraid to dig a little deeper. It is never just about complaining. For example in her story, Liking Men you have this feeling like the author almost feels ashamed for liking man. Is this the legacy of feminism? Not being able to like men without feeling a remorse or a guilt of some kind? That's an interesting question. As I said, it's a versatile collection of short stories and prose poems belonging to different genres - yet what ties them all together is the fact that they are written by an intelligent and gifted writer. The sort of a writer that has that sixth sense, the third eye vision or whatever you want to call it. That something is definitely there. If I remember correctly the last story is about the third eye vision, about how important it is to really see things, to have insight and that's how I would describe this book- as an insight into complexities of life. Sad, tormenting, ironic, wonderful and valuable insight. What can I say? I really like this author. Highly recommended!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Richa Bhattarai

    Maybe I don’t understand it. Or I read it at the wrong time. Maybe it was revolutionary when it came out in 1983, but I can’t relate to it now. I just couldn’t warm up to the ‘stories’ or ‘prose poems.’ I can see the intelligent writing, Atwood’s passion and the uniqueness. But I didn’t enjoy the sometimes senseless pieces. Liked ‘Murder in the Dark’, Happy Endings, Bread and Boyfriends. Strange work, though.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tyler Jones

    
They say of the boxer Roy Jones Jr. that he was so fast that in one second he could land ten punches. If they could measure writing the same way, then Margaret Atwood would be crowned the all-time rabbit-punch record holder. She throws lightning fast combinations. What is this? (Bam!) Poetry? (Bam! Bam!) Micro-fiction? (Bam! Bam!) Micro-memoir? (Bam! Bam! Bam!). Which is not to say she can’t throw the knock-out punch; People like to make poison. If you don’t understand this you will never under 
They say of the boxer Roy Jones Jr. that he was so fast that in one second he could land ten punches. If they could measure writing the same way, then Margaret Atwood would be crowned the all-time rabbit-punch record holder. She throws lightning fast combinations. What is this? (Bam!) Poetry? (Bam! Bam!) Micro-fiction? (Bam! Bam!) Micro-memoir? (Bam! Bam! Bam!). Which is not to say she can’t throw the knock-out punch; People like to make poison. If you don’t understand this you will never understand anything. (Kaboom!)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ivana

    A collection of prose poems and short stories that differ from one another in everything but that elusive quality of brutal sincerity that defines the style of M. Atwood for me. Every one of these stories has its own world, beauty, logic and paradox. Seriously, it is impressive how much power such short creations have. Not the author that avoids difficult themes even in short form, Atwood kept things interesting to say at least. Themes range from a child preparing poison to women/man relationshi A collection of prose poems and short stories that differ from one another in everything but that elusive quality of brutal sincerity that defines the style of M. Atwood for me. Every one of these stories has its own world, beauty, logic and paradox. Seriously, it is impressive how much power such short creations have. Not the author that avoids difficult themes even in short form, Atwood kept things interesting to say at least. Themes range from a child preparing poison to women/man relationships. All in all, I would say that those who like Atwood as a novelist, will probably not be disappointed by "The Murder in The Dark". It seems the Atwood is one of those writers that transit easily from one form to another. If I had to make a visual and personal representation of Atwood's writing style it would be one of a surgeon. I picture her mercilessly picking up some wound, blood rushing, plenty of pain and screams to go along with it- and than finding and removing the object that was berried in the flesh. I would even compare the feeling you get after reading her to that following that kind of surgical procedure. In other words, you feel a bit sick and nauseated but relived. You're relived to see what was that thing that was burning under your skin. It's better to know the truth, even if truth is ugly. That's how I would describe it. I don't really see any agenda while I'm reading her stuff yet she makes me question everything. All that complexity just comes naturally in her writing. I never had the feeling she is being morbid just to be morbid. Some of the stories are perhaps a bit bizarre, but there is always something behind it. There just seems to be this great desire in Atwood to get at the bottom of things, find out truths so we could arms us selves against life. That's my impression anyway. I've read this book today in the library. I picked it up because it was on the book shelf near where I was sitting and because I needed to rest my hands from taking notes about something (yes, also because it was obviously a short book). While I was reading it, just about that time when I got to those stories that could be called feminist, I could hear this two men complaining about women expecting too much...and then this woman hushed them up. Women complaining about man, men complaining about women- that's a familiar thing. I don't think it is what these stories are about, there's about so much more- as are all of them in this book. As I said, it's a versatile collection of short stories and prose poems belonging to different genres - yet what ties them all together is the fact that they are written by an intelligent and gifted writer...a writer that has that sixth sense, the third eye vision or whatever you want to call it. That something is definitely there. If I remember correctly the last story is about the third eye vision, about how important it is to really see things, to have insight...and that's how I would describe this book- as an insight into complexities of life. Sad, tormenting, ironic, wonderful and valuable insight.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Karen Powell

    For just a taste of Atwood's insight on women and their relationships with men, these short stories deliver a punch in concentrated prose. One memorable favorite of mine is "Boyfriends," where the only detail about each boy the narrator dated in her youth that can be recalled is what outfit she wore on their date. Another favorite is "Simmering," which tells of the gradual gender role reversal over a long period time until men become bound to the kitchen, and women are forced to work lest they t For just a taste of Atwood's insight on women and their relationships with men, these short stories deliver a punch in concentrated prose. One memorable favorite of mine is "Boyfriends," where the only detail about each boy the narrator dated in her youth that can be recalled is what outfit she wore on their date. Another favorite is "Simmering," which tells of the gradual gender role reversal over a long period time until men become bound to the kitchen, and women are forced to work lest they threaten their man's masculinity by baking a pie. These stories are clever and light, almost teasing in tone in the case of "Simmering."[return][return]Others stories, like "Worship" and "Iconography" are dark, but frightfully honest about courtship and sexual rituals. Some evoke bleakness in only a page and a half of space. These stories feel like exercises in summoning emotion in readers, as if it were practice for Atwood's larger tomes. It's impressive that the author can weild this power just as well in story that's a page long as she can in novel of 600 pages.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cecily

    The prose poems are eloquent and thought provoking and, as with "real" poetry, one has to be careful not to read them too quickly: "I forgot what things were called and saw instead what they are". A couple of the childhood ones are charming (especially collecting all sort of dangerous things to make one big bucket of "poison", without any idea of what to use it for). As the book progresses, the topics tend to get darker and more of them focus on the balance of power between men and women. She's we The prose poems are eloquent and thought provoking and, as with "real" poetry, one has to be careful not to read them too quickly: "I forgot what things were called and saw instead what they are". A couple of the childhood ones are charming (especially collecting all sort of dangerous things to make one big bucket of "poison", without any idea of what to use it for). As the book progresses, the topics tend to get darker and more of them focus on the balance of power between men and women. She's wearing her "feminist" label more obviously than in other books of hers that I have read. "Simmering", is an amusing extrapolation of the effect of role reversal as men take over domestic duties, pushing women out. I liked the phrase "the man through which all men can be forgiven" in another, but many of these were too angry for my taste. Overall, a very mixed bag, but each element is short and the whole book is slim, so it can be a quick read, or one to dip in and out of.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shriya

    Margaret Atwood is an author whose works are full of shifting perspectives-perspectives that sometimes make you ask yourself, 'What am I reading? Does it mean anything?' Throughout your read, you wonder if you're really going to understand the sense behind her dreamlike sentences, her endless metaphors and tons of similes. And yet, you find she delights you while she's annoying you, enlightens you while she's driving you crazy. She's flowery with her language and yet she's unpretentious. Her re Margaret Atwood is an author whose works are full of shifting perspectives-perspectives that sometimes make you ask yourself, 'What am I reading? Does it mean anything?' Throughout your read, you wonder if you're really going to understand the sense behind her dreamlike sentences, her endless metaphors and tons of similes. And yet, you find she delights you while she's annoying you, enlightens you while she's driving you crazy. She's flowery with her language and yet she's unpretentious. Her reveries are relate-able and her messages are crystal clear. 'Murder in the Dark' is another eccentric, humorous and bizarre collection of prose poems and short fictions by this hardcore feminist author which is an ideal read for people who want to stir their brains in an unusual way!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    There is something...I don't know, less important or grandiose at stake in Atwood's shorter fiction. Admittedly, that's probably unfair to hold her to an "everything must be earth-shattering!" standard, but really that is the boon and the bust of being Margaret Atwood. I've read a few of these collections now and they simply feel like writing exercises in-between novels.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Faith Justice

    I love Margaret Atwood and these brief flash fictions and prose poems don't disappoint. From "Mute": "They think you can't talk, they're sorry for you, but. But you're waiting for the word, the one that will finally be right. A compound, the generation of life, mud and light."

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jane Glossil

    So good! I don't know how to describe her writing, but I do know I wish I could write like Margaret Atwood. Favorites: * Murder in the Dark * Simmering * Women's Novels * Happy Endings * Bread * The Page * Mute * Iconography * Strawberries * Hopeless * Hand

  24. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    4.5 ⭐️ This was (unexpectedly!) wonderful reading. I would give 5, but some of those stories didn't give me chills and some of them were just fantastic. (I'm not gonna say which one, you need to find them yourself :D) “Why did we make poison in the first place? I can remember the glee with which we stirred and added the sense of magic and accomplishment. Making poison is as much fun as making a cake. People like to make poison. If you don’t understand this you will never understand anything.” Well 4.5 ⭐️ This was (unexpectedly!) wonderful reading. I would give 5, but some of those stories didn't give me chills and some of them were just fantastic. (I'm not gonna say which one, you need to find them yourself :D) “Why did we make poison in the first place? I can remember the glee with which we stirred and added the sense of magic and accomplishment. Making poison is as much fun as making a cake. People like to make poison. If you don’t understand this you will never understand anything.” Well... where to start. I find writing about a collection of stories much more difficult – I don't want to give away the plot of each tale, especially as some can be as short as two pages or less. So, rather than being a collection of short stories this book is a collection of very short fictions. I recently picked this book (randomly) in a library and oh myy, WHAT A BLAST!!! The reason I love short stories is simple; the author has a lot of work to do, over a VERY SMALL space. Atwood is sooo skillful with words and I fell in love with her style – artistic, dark, sharp, intense, sinister, disturbing, smart. It's certainly a book I will come back to.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Flash Fiction from the erudite Atwood. Before it was thought of as 'Flash Fiction' in 1984 it was thought of as vignettes. Cuts to the bone and gets to the roots of dystopian human nature. Children who love to concoct poison from all those bits and pieces that adults warn them off. Reading dusty volumes stored in cobwebbed attics. The misogyny of the male cook. Formula of 'Women's Novels'. The mystery of the blank page. All those and more are drilled down into the essence of the matter and often Flash Fiction from the erudite Atwood. Before it was thought of as 'Flash Fiction' in 1984 it was thought of as vignettes. Cuts to the bone and gets to the roots of dystopian human nature. Children who love to concoct poison from all those bits and pieces that adults warn them off. Reading dusty volumes stored in cobwebbed attics. The misogyny of the male cook. Formula of 'Women's Novels'. The mystery of the blank page. All those and more are drilled down into the essence of the matter and often tied up in witty prose. Most excellent, glad I final got to it after over a decade on my bookshelf and only because Peggy Atwood is coming to Canberra :D

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marie Smith

    I do love the larger literacy works of Margaret Atwood, so was eager to give this book a go. I found some of the stories quite thought-provoking, others I didn't understand at all. Yet, I feel its worth a second or third read to fully digest the meaning behind these works, or, at least, what they mean to me. These maybe a collection of short works but they need to be given more time.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Pallavi

    ***3.0*** Review soon.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Leo Rain

    Super fun!! Highly recommend if you want to be confused by beautiful prose. Also “Bread” so good!! I want to write a story like Happy Endings! So fun love the idea

  29. 4 out of 5

    Santhi

    Atwood again proves her mastery of artful language to tease, entertain and provoke. While the chapters seemed to meander a little towards the end, this was mostly an enjoyable book. Love it when writers pack a punch with brevity.

  30. 4 out of 5

    dinoserious

    Not my favourite of Atwood's short stories collections as it felt a bit experimental in the free form style most of the pieces had. Although I wasn't a fan of the stories that had an experimental tone, there were a variety of style several with what I would classify as more "typical Atwood" (insightful and clever), which I will always be a fan of!

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