STONE MATTRESS: Nine Tales ~Margaret Atwood
I discovered that I could pre-order this book a full month before it would appear on shelves at the library or bookstore, I did just that. I just felt hungry for the incredible writing of Atwood and as though I had been fasting and not indulging for a very long time. I was not disappointed in the least. I have already read the tales twice and will come back again to enjoy.
“A collection of highly imaginative short pieces that speak to our times with deadly accuracy. Vintage Atwood creativity, intelligence, and humor: think Alias Grace.” (From Amazon’s page)
There is a creative psychological component to Atwood’s writing which just holds me to her words and the play she gives them. The first three stories are loosely connected by an early on romance and Alphinland, Revenant, and Dark Lady play with growing old, loss of a partner, and the choices made early on in a life returning to be studied as the body can no longer comply. Ice and snow and winter are big themes as is escape and control.
Lusus Naturae is about a child born with a defect and how she learns to cope with her situation; is it really coping or more the hiding mode? What society fears? As a man is “kicked out” of his relationship he purchases a storage unit at an auction and is amazed to discover its contents and the preserved relationship within its walls. I Dream of Zenia with the Bright Red Teeth and The Dead Hand Loves You are again exploring the writer’s world and where it has taken the author or the character and then brought them back with some kind of protection or blindness to deal with the reality of the moment.
Stone Mattress brought revenge on an artic discovery cruise for a horrible crime perpetrated on a young girl, which radically changed her life and future. The writing was precise, cold and successful; a bit chilling for the reader. Torching the Dusties is about a woman with Macular Degeneration who can only see the periphery of her world, she is living in a senior center that is now under siege by a group calling themselves “Our Turn” and burning down home care buildings and the residents living there. Once again the theme is about growing old and coping, worth and vision, and adversity and control. Fascinating story and I am so glad I read it a second time.
The political climate of the day is so subtle and yet shouts of what we do not hear clearly within all the noise around us in our world.
I am very fond of Margaret Atwood as a writer and she is so prolific I can honestly say I have not read all of her work or even come close – just the highlights. I am very fond of short stories and combining that fondness with this author’s tremendous skill was a gift to my experience. I could not put this book down and just enjoyed it cover to cover several times. I rate this highly and humbly top of the line and believe my readers would not be disappointed and instead relish this book – STONE MATRESS
From the book:
“MARGARET ATWOOD, whose work has been published in over thirty-five countries, is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. In addition to THE HANDMADE’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.”