From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Handmaid's Tale
In this extraordinary collection, Margaret Atwood gives us nine unforgettable tales that reveal the grotesque, delightfully wicked facets of humanity. “Alphinland,” the first of three loosely linked tales, introduces us to a fantasy writer who is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband. In “Lusus Naturae,” a young woman, monstrously transformed by a genetic defect, is mistaken for a vampire. And in the title story, a woman who has killed four husbands discovers an opportunity to exact vengeance on the first man who ever wronged her. By turns thrilling, funny, and thought-provoking, Stone Mattress affirms Atwood as our greatest creator of worlds—and as an incisive chronicler of our darkest impulses.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Margaret Atwood’s collection of short stories features a pioneer in fantasy fiction, a cantankerous scholar, and an Arctic explorer with a grudge, among other engaging characters. The loosely connected tales that make up Stone Mattress explore themes of mortality, aging, memory, and retribution. Atwood pulls you in with her crisp prose, flesh-and-bone personas, and a sense of humor that propels the often-dark material in surprising directions. With a range of voices at her command, the revered Canadian writer delivers a delightfully masterful and contemplative work of literature.
Atwood, a bestselling master of fiction, delivers a stunning collection her first since 2006's Moral Disorder. Most of the nine stories feature women who have been wronged as girls but recover triumphantly as adults. Atwood brings her biting wit to bear on the battle of the sexes. The first three stories in the book "Alphinland," "Revenant," and "Dark Lady" are linked by a pretentious poet and his girlfriends, who best him professionally and personally as he ages into an impotent, disgruntled old man with a wife 30 years his junior: "He probably has more horns on his head as the bard would say than a hundred headed snail." Corpses are found, as in "The Freeze-Dried Groom" or not found, as in the title story, set on an Arctic cruise, in which a woman takes her revenge on the high school "Mr. Hearthrob, Mr. Senior Football Star, Mr. Astounding Catch... Mr. Shit" of 50 years before. Readers love Atwood's women, despite, or because of, who they are and what they do. Add in her wild imagination women conversing with dead husbands; genetic missteps that produce a girl with yellow eyes, pink teeth, and "long, dark chest hair"; and costumed "little people" who appear to an elderly nursing home resident and it's clear that this grande dame is at the top of her game.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Like many, my first exposure to Margaret Atwood’s writing was The Handmaid’s Tale during my late teens. Since then I’ve been hooked and this collection of short stories was no different. I love her sense of place, people and most of all her wicked sense of humor when approaching both of those things.
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