Margaret Atwood - Stone Mattress - Little, Brown Book Group

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    • ISBN:9780349006536
    • Publication date:24 Sep 2015

Stone Mattress

Nine Wicked Tales

By Margaret Atwood

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A collection of highly imaginative short pieces that speak to our times with deadly accuracy.

BY THE AUTHOR OF THE HANDMAID'S TALE AND ALIAS GRACE

A recently widowed fantasy writer is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband. An elderly lady with Charles Bonnet syndrome comes to terms with the little people she keeps seeing, while a newly formed populist group gathers to burn down her retirement residence. A woman born with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire, and a crime committed long ago is revenged in the Arctic via a 1.9 billion-year-old stromatolite.

In these nine tales, Margaret Atwood ventures into the shadowland earlier explored by fabulists and concoctors of dark yarns such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Daphne du Maurier and Arthur Conan Doyle - and also by herself, in her award-winning novel Alias Grace. In Stone Mattress, Margaret Atwood is at the top of her darkly humorous and seriously playful game.

*

Praise for Stone Mattress

'Dark and witty tales from the gleefully inventive Margaret Atwood. Witty verve, imaginative inventiveness and verbal sizzle vivify every page' -SUNDAY TIMES

'Atwood has characters here close to death, dead already, unwittingly doomed or - in one memorable case - freeze-dried; but her own curiosity, enthusiasm and sheer storytelling panache remain alive and kicking. Anyone keen to consign literary fiction to an early grave will have to deal with her first' -INDEPENDENT

'Atwood's prose is so sharp and sly that the effect is bracing rather than bleak' -GUARDIAN

Biographical Notes

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than forty works, including fiction, poetry and critical essays, and her books have been published in over thirty-five countries. She has won many literary awards and prizes.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780349006543
  • Publication date: 24 Sep 2015
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: Virago
Dark and witty tales from the gleefully inventive Margaret Atwood . Witty verve, imaginative inventiveness and verbal sizzle vivify every page — Peter Kemp, Sunday Times
Atwood illuminates heavy themes with a lightness of touch, giving insight not only into the nature of stone but the trials and tribulations of flesh and blood — Anita Sethi, Observer
This collection of short stories is charged with a delightful cheekiness . Atwood has characters here close to death, dead already, unwittingly doomed or - in one memorable case - freeze-dried; but her own curiosity, enthusiasm and sheer storytelling panache remain alive and kicking. Anyone keen to consign literary fiction to an early grave will have to deal with her first — Independent
Realism and ridiculousness, play and deadly seriousness, are held in fine balance throughout. This long view throughout the collection is entirely unsparing, both of the vanished past and the vanishing present, but Atwood's prose is so sharp and sly that the effect is bracing rather than bleak — Guardian
Atwood is as puckish as ever with these 'nine wicked tales' . . . 'Lusus Naturae' is a deliciously gothic treat in which the language is so rich you could lick it and 'The Freeze-Dried Groom' is a spine-tingling mini-thriller — Marcus Field, Independent
Virago

The Heart Goes Last

Margaret Atwood
Authors:
Margaret Atwood

By the author of The Handmaid's Tale and Alias GraceStan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of economic and social collapse. Living in their car, surviving on tips from Charmaine's job at a dive bar, they're increasingly vulnerable to roving gangs and in a rather desperate state. So when they see an advertisement for the Positron Project in the town of Consilience - a 'social experiment' offering stable jobs and a home of their own - they sign up immediately. All they have to do in return for this suburban paradise is give up their freedom every second month, swapping their home for a prison cell. At first, all is well. But slowly, unknown to the other, Stan and Charmaine develop a passionate obsession with their counterparts, the couple that occupy their home when they are in prison. Soon the pressures of conformity, mistrust, guilt and sexual desire take over, and Positron looks less like a prayer answered and more like a chilling prophecy fulfilled.

Virago

On Writers and Writing

Margaret Atwood
Authors:
Margaret Atwood

By the author of THE HANDMAID'S TALE and ALIAS GRACEWhat is the role of the writer? Prophet? High Priest of Art? Court Jester? Or witness to the real world? Looking back on her own childhood and the development of her writing career, Margaret Atwood examines the metaphors which writers of fiction and poetry have used to explain - or excuse! - their activities, looking at what costumes they have seen fit to assume, what roles they have chosen to play. In her final chapter she takes up the challenge of the book's title: if a writer is to be seen as 'gifted', who is doing the giving and what are the terms of the gift?Margaret Atwood's wide and eclectic reference to other writers, living and dead, is balanced by anecdotes from her own experiences as a writer, both in Canada and on the international scene. The lightness of her touch is underlined by a seriousness about the purpose and the pleasures of writing, and by a deep familiarity with the myths and traditions of western literature.Praise for On Writers and Writing: '...a streetwise, erudite suggestive enquiry into problems and myths of the writer's role. Her light touch on hard thoughts, her humour and eclectic quotations, lend enchantment to an argument that has as many undulating tentacles as a well developed sea anemone' -INDEPENDENT'Her witty, occasionally self-deprecating and always ingenious approach is a delight' -SUNDAY TIMES'A witty and profound rumination about writing' -THE TIMES

Virago

MaddAddam

Margaret Atwood
Authors:
Margaret Atwood
Virago

The Year Of The Flood

Margaret Atwood
Authors:
Margaret Atwood

By the author of The Handmaid's Tale and Alias GraceThe sun brightens in the east, reddening the blue-grey haze that marks the distant ocean. The vultures roosting on the hydro poles fan out their wings to dry them. the air smells faintly of burning. The waterless flood - a man-made plague - has ended the world.But two young women have survived: Ren, a young dancer trapped where she worked, in an upmarket sex club (the cleanest dirty girls in town); and Toby, who watches and waits from her rooftop garden. Is anyone else out there?

Virago

Oryx And Crake

Margaret Atwood
Authors:
Margaret Atwood
Virago

In Other Worlds

Margaret Atwood
Authors:
Margaret Atwood

From the author of The Handmaid's Tale and Alias Grace* Rabbit superheroes. A theory of masks and capes. Victorian otherlands.From her 1940s childhood to her time at Harvard, Margaret Atwood has always been fascinated with SF. In 2010, she delivered a lecture series at Emory University called 'In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination.' This book is the result of those lectures. It includes essays on Ursula Le Guin and H G Wells, her interesting distinction between 'science fiction proper' and 'speculative fiction', and the letter which she wrote to the school which tried to ban The Handmaid's Tale. *'Spooky . . . wild' - Telegraph 'Elegant and witty' - Guardian'Eminently readable and accessible . . . The lectures are insightful and cogently argued with a neat comic turn of phrase . . . Her enthusiasm and level of intellectual engagement are second to none' - Financial Times

Virago

Murder In The Dark

Margaret Atwood
Authors:
Margaret Atwood
Virago

Good Bones

Margaret Atwood
Authors:
Margaret Atwood

A treasure trove of collected works from the legendary author of The Handmaid's Tale and Alias GraceQueen Gertrude gives Hamlet a piece of her mind. An ugly sister and a wicked stepmother put in a good word for themselves. A reincarnated bat explains how Bram Stoker got Dracula hopelessly wrong. Bones and Murder is a bewitching cocktail of prose and poetry, fiction and fairytales, as well as some of Atwood's own illustrations. It's pure distilled Atwood: deliciously strong and bittersweet.'A marvellous miniature sample case of Atwood's sensuous and sardonic talents' Times Literary Supplement

Virago

Eating Fire

Margaret Atwood
Authors:
Margaret Atwood

I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. I would like to be that unnoticed and that necessary.From the author of The Handmaid's Tale and Alias Grace Eating Fire brings together three of Margaret's Atwood's key poetry collections: Poems 1965-1975, Poems 1976-1986 and Morning in the Burned House. The landscape of Atwood's poetry is one of bus trips and postcards, wilderness, glass, and fires both savage and tender. Atwood's signature themes resound throughout all of them: the politics of sex, the darkness at the heart of every fairytale, and the pain - and triumph - of existing as a woman. * * * 'Atwood is the quiet Mata Hari, the mysterious, violent figure . . . who pits herself against the ordered too-clean world like an arsonist' - Michael Ondaatje'Detached, ironic, loving by turns . . . poems that sing off the page and sting' - Michèle Roberts

Virago

Wilderness Tips

Margaret Atwood
Authors:
Margaret Atwood
Virago

The Edible Woman

Margaret Atwood
Authors:
Margaret Atwood
Virago

Cat's Eye

Margaret Atwood
Authors:
Margaret Atwood
Virago

Moral Disorder

Margaret Atwood
Authors:
Margaret Atwood

By the author of The Handmaid's Tale and Alias GraceThis collection of short stories follows a woman at different points in her life, from the loneliness of childhood, the ardour and confusion of young adulthood, and the mortality we must all eventually face up to. Moral Disorder is Margaret Atwood at her very finest. Praise for Moral Disorder: 'Atwood entices us to flip through the photo album of a Canadian woman who closely resembles herself. Come here, sit beside me, she seems to say. Then she takes us on an emotional journey through loneliness, love, loss and old age' Sarah Emily Miano, The Times'Atwood makes it look so easy, doing what she does best: tenderly dissecting the human heart . . . A marvellous writer' Lee Langley, Daily Mail'A model of distillation, precision, clarity and detail . . . Atwood writes with compassion and intensity not only about her characters but also about the 20th century itself' Mary Flanagan, Independent

Virago

The Door

Margaret Atwood
Authors:
Margaret Atwood

By the author of The Handmaid's Tale and Alias GraceTHE DOOR is Margaret Atwood's first book of poetry since the 1995 MORNING IN THE BURNED HOUSE. Its lucid yet urgent poems range in tone from lyric to ironic to meditative to prophetic, and in subject from the personal to the political viewed in its broadest sense. They investigate the mysterious writing of poetry itself, as well as the passage of time and our shared sense of mortality. As the New York Times has said, 'Atwood's poems are short, glistening with terse, bright images. . . ' A brave and compassionate book, THE DOOR interrogates the certainties that we build our lives on.

Basic Books

Writing with Intent

Margaret Atwood
Authors:
Margaret Atwood

From one of the world's most passionately engaged and acclaimed 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 to 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 Prize-winning 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.

Virago

Curious Pursuits

Margaret Atwood
Authors:
Margaret Atwood
Virago

Strange Things

Margaret Atwood
Authors:
Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood's witty and informative book focuses on the imaginative mystique of the wilderness of the Canadian North. She discusses the 'Grey Owl Syndrome' of white writers going native; the folklore arising from the mysterious-- and disastrous -- Franklin expedition of the nineteenth century; the myth of the dreaded snow monster, the Wendigo; the relations between nature writing and new forms of Gothic; and how a fresh generation of women writers in Canada have adapted the imagery of the Canadian North for the exploration of contemporary themes of gender, the family and sexuality. Writers discussed include Robert Service, Robertson Davies, Alice Munro, E.J. Pratt, Marian Engel, Margaret Laurence, and Gwendolyn MacEwan.This superbly written and compelling portrait of the mysterious North is at once a fascinating insight into the Canadian imagination, and an exciting new work from an outstanding literary presence.

Virago

The Blind Assassin

Margaret Atwood
Authors:
Margaret Atwood

Winner of the Man Booker PrizeBy the author of The Handmaid's Tale and Alias GraceLaura Chase's older sister Iris, married at eighteen to a politically prominent industrialist but now poor and eighty-two, is living in Port Ticonderoga, a town dominated by their once-prosperous family before the First War. While coping with her unreliable body, Iris reflects on her far from exemplary life, in particular the events surrounding her sister's tragic death. Chief among these was the publication of The Blind Assassin, a novel which earned the dead Laura Chase not only notoriety but also a devoted cult following. Sexually explicit for its time, The Blind Assassin describes a risky affair in the turbulent thirties between a wealthy young woman and a man on the run. During their secret meetings in rented rooms, the lovers concoct a pulp fantasy set on Planet Zycron. As the invented story twists through love and sacrifice and betrayal, so does the real one; while events in both move closer to war and catastrophe. By turns lyrical, outrageous, formidable, compelling and funny, this is a novel filled with deep humour and dark drama.

Virago

Alias Grace

Margaret Atwood
Authors:
Margaret Atwood
Virago

Surfacing

Margaret Atwood
Authors:
Margaret Atwood