Margaret Atwood - Curious Pursuits - Little, Brown Book Group

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • E-Book £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9780748113408
    • Publication date:01 Oct 2009

Curious Pursuits

Occasional Writing

By Margaret Atwood

  • Paperback
  • £9.99

Collected essays and journalism from the bestselling author of The Blind Assassin and Oryx and Crake. First publication.

By the author of The Handmaid's Tale and Alias Grace

Curious Pursuits is a collection of personal essays, book reviews and articles from the fierce, ingenious mind of Margaret Atwood, ranging from 1970 to the present.

Atwood remembers moving to London as a starry-eyed teenager in 1964 and her first attempts at gardening; she discusses feminist utopias in fiction, and writes moving odes on beloved classics like Anne of Green Gables.

Personal life and fiction are shelved side by side in this revealing, insightful collection of Atwood's non-fiction writing.

PRAISE FOR Curious Pursuits

'A goldmine' Sunday Times

'Reminds one that Atwood is a superbly funny (as well as serious) writer; her wit is winningly relaxed and genial as well as sharp' Spectator

'The glimpses into the writing process and her reflections on identity will delight fans of her novels, who will also recognise flashes of her mordant wit' Times

Biographical Notes

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. The Handmaid's Tale, Cat's Eye, Alias Grace and Oryx and Crake have all been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The Blind Assassin won the 2000 Booker Prize.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781844081509
  • Publication date: 04 May 2006
  • Page count: 432
  • Imprint: Virago
For admirers of her books, it is a goldmine — Sunday Times
Reminds one that Atwood is a superbly funny (as well as serious) writer; her wit is winningly relaxed and genial as well as sharp — Spectator
The glimpses into the writing process and her reflections on identity will delight fans of her novels, who will also recognise flashes of her mordant wit — Times
Hachette Audio

Outrages

Naomi Wolf
Authors:
Naomi Wolf

The bestselling author of Vagina illuminates a dramatic history - how a single English law in 1857 led to a maelstrom, with reverberations lasting down to our day. That law was the Obscene Publications Act and it was a crucial turning point. Why? Because dissent and morality; 'deviancy' and 'normalcy'; unprintable and printable were suddenly lawful concepts in the modern sense. This new law effectively invented modern obscenity. Before 1857 it wasn't 'homosexuality' - a term that didn't yet exist - that was a crime, but simply the act of sodomy. But in a single stroke, not only was love between men illegal, but anything referring to this love also became obscene, unprintable, unspeakable. And writers, editors and printers became the gatekeepers with a responsibility to uphold the morals of the society - followed by serious criminal penalties if they didn't. And as the act evolved, joined by other laws against sexual representation and speech, making their way to courts, the authors' or artists' intentions were deemed immaterial. What mattered was if the work in question had a 'tendency . . . to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences, and into whose hands a publication of this sort may fall'. Wolf paints the dramatic ways this set of laws and consolidation of what we would call homophobia and censorship, played out among a bohemian group of sexual dissidents, including Walt Whitman in America and the homosexual English critic John Addington Symonds - in love with Whitman's homoerotic voice in Leaves of Grass - decades before the infamous 1895 trial of Oscar Wilde. She retrieves forgotten history of men and even young teenage boys, executed at the Old Bailey for 'sodomy' or even 'the attempt'. Algernon Charles Swinburne, Dante and Christina Rossetti, Walter Pater and painter Simeon Solomon, were among the writers and artists, and countless booksellers and printers, whose lives were shadowed with jeopardy from this emerging network of laws against speech and love. She depicts both a fascinating story and, crucially, an important way of understanding how we arrived at our ideas of 'normalcy' and 'deviancy' - and the idea of the state's purported need and right to police speech - ideas which are with us to this day. Most powerfully, Wolf recounts how a dying Symonds helped write the book on 'sexual inversion' that created our modern understanding of homosexuality. She argues that his secret memoir, mined and explained here fully for the first time, together with a secretly published essay, evolved into what would become the first mainstream gay rights manifesto in the west - proving that the literature of love will ultimately triumph over censorship.

Virago

She-Merchants, Buccaneers and Gentlewomen

Katie Hickman
Authors:
Katie Hickman

'Sharply observed, snappily written and thoroughly researched, She Merchants provides a fabulous panorama of a largely ignored area of social history. Katie Hickman successfully challenges the stereotype of the snobbish, matron-like memsahib by deploying a riveting gallery of powerful and often eccentric women ranging from stowaways and runaways through courtesans and society beauties to Generals' feisty wives and Viceroys' waspish sisters. It is full of surprises and new material and completely engaging from beginning to end' William Dalrymple The first British women to set foot in India did so in the very early seventeenth century, two and a half centuries before the Raj. Women made their way to India for exactly the same reasons men did - to carve out a better life for themselves. In the early days, India was a place where the slates of 'blotted pedigrees' were wiped clean; bankrupts given a chance to make good; a taste for adventure satisfied - for women. They went and worked as milliners, bakers, dress-makers, actresses, portrait painters, maids, shop-keepers, governesses, teachers, boarding house proprietors, midwives, nurses, missionaries, doctors, geologists, plant-collectors, writers, travellers, and - most surprising of all - traders. As wives, courtesans and she-merchants, these tough adventuring women were every bit as intrepid as their men, the buccaneering sea captains and traders in whose wake they followed; their voyages to India were extraordinarily daring leaps into the unknown. The history of the British in India has cast a long shadow over these women; Memsahibs, once a word of respect, is now more likely to be a byword for snobbery and even racism. And it is true: prejudice of every kind - racial, social, imperial, religious - did cloud many aspects of British involvement in India. But was not invariably the case. In this landmark book, celebrated chronicler, Katie Hickman, uncovers stories, until now hidden from history: here is Charlotte Barry, who in 1783 left London a high-class courtesan and arrived in India as Mrs William Hickey, a married 'lady'; Poll Puff who sold her apple puffs for 'upwards of thirty years, growing grey in the service'; Mrs Hudson who in 1617 was refused as a trader in indigo by the East Indian Company, and instead turned a fine penny in cloth; Julia Inglis, a survivor of the siege of Lucknow; Amelia Horne, who witnessed the death of her entire family during the Cawnpore massacres of 1857; and Flora Annie Steel, novelist and a pioneer in the struggle to bring education to purdah women. For some it was painful exile, but for many it was exhilarating. Through diaries, letters and memoirs (many still in manuscript form), this exciting book reveals the extraordinary life and times of hundreds of women who made their way across the sea and changed history.

Virago

A Stranger City

Linda Grant
Authors:
Linda Grant

When a dead body is found in the Thames, caught in the chains of HMS Belfast, it begins a search for a missing woman and confirms a sense that in London a person can become invisible once outside their community - and that assumes they even have a community. A policeman, a documentary film-maker and an Irish nurse named Chrissie all respond to the death of the unknown woman in their own ways. London is a place of random meetings, shifting relationships - and some, like Chrissie intersect with many. The film-maker and the policeman meanwhile have safe homes with wives - or do they? An immigrant family speaks their own language only privately; they have managed to integrate - or have they? The wonderful Linda Grant weaves a tale around ideas of home; how London can be a place of exile or expulsion, how home can be a physical place or an idea. How all our lives intersect and how coincidence or the randomness of birth place can decide how we live and with whom.

ATOM

Internment

Samira Ahmed
Authors:
Samira Ahmed

'Samira has created a chilling, powerful, all-too-real near future that's a must-read for everyone's TBR' -- Karen M. McManus, author of One Of Us Is LyingRebellions are built on hope.Set in a horrifying 'fifteen minutes in the future' United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin is forced into an internment camp for Muslim-Americans along with her parents.With the help of newly-made friends also trapped within the camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp's Director and his guards.Heart-racing and emotional, Internment questions the imaginary boundaries that separate us and challenges readers to fight the complicit silence that exists in our society today.'If you enjoyed The Hate U Give, this should be at the top of your TBR pile' -- Culturefly

Virago

The Veiled Kingdom

Carmen Bin Ladin
Authors:
Carmen Bin Ladin
Virago

Chasm: A Weekend

Dorothea Tanning
Authors:
Dorothea Tanning
Virago

House of Glass

Susan Fletcher
Authors:
Susan Fletcher
Virago

The Wind in My Hair

Masih Alinejad
Authors:
Masih Alinejad
Virago

Love & Fame

Susie Boyt
Authors:
Susie Boyt
Virago

Outsiders

Lyndall Gordon
Authors:
Lyndall Gordon

Outsiders tells the stories of five novelists - Mary Shelley, Emily Brontë, George Eliot, Olive Schreiner, Virginia Woolf - and their famous novels.We have long known their individual greatness but in linking their creativity to their lives as outsiders, this group biography throws new light on the genius they share. 'Outsider', 'outlaw', 'outcast': a woman's reputation was her security and each of these five lost it. As writers, they made these identities their own, taking advantage of their separation from the dominant order to write their novels.All five were motherless. With no female model at hand, they learnt from books; and if lucky, from an enlightened man; and crucially each had to imagine what a woman could be in order to invent a voice of their own. They understood female desire: the passion and sexual bravery in their own lives infused their fictions.What they have in common also is the way they inform one another, and us, across the generations. Even today we do more than read them; we listen and live with them.Lyndall Gordon's biographies have always shown the indelible connection between life and art: an intuitive, exciting and revealing approach that has been highly praised and much read and enjoyed. She names each of these five as prodigy, visionary, outlaw, orator and explorer and shows how they came, they saw and left us changed.

Hachette Audio

Ripley Under Ground

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

Tom Ripley is now the owner of a beautiful estate in France, a wealthy art collector and married to an heiress. The Buckmaster Gallery is staging an exhibition by the celebrated artist, Derwatt, but an American collector claims that the expensive masterpiece he bought three years ago is a fake. It is, of course and he wants to talk to Derwatt - but Derwatt, inconveniently, is dead.Ripley needs the perfect solution to keep his role in the fraud a secret and his reputation clean, but not everyone's nerves are as steady as his. Especially when it comes to murder.Ripley Under Ground is an ingenious novel of masks and identity, illusion and reality, and is followed by Ripley's Game, The Boy Who Followed Ripley and Ripley Under Water.'The No.1 Greatest Crime Writer' The Times

Virago

Talking As Fast As I Can

Lauren Graham
Authors:
Lauren Graham

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERWINNER of the GoodReads Choice Awards 2017 for HumourIn this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood-along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, "Did you, um, make it?" She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood ("Strangers were worried about me; that's how long I was single!"), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge onProject Runway ("It's like I had a fashion-induced blackout").In "What It Was Like, Part One," Graham sits down for an epic Gilmore Girls marathon and reflects on being cast as the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore. The essay "What It Was Like, Part Two" reveals how it felt to pick up the role again nine years later, and what doing so has meant to her.Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she's aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls ("If you're meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you've already set the bar too high"), and she's a card-carrying REI shopper ("My bungee cords now earn points!").Including photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and-of course-talking as fast as you can.

Virago

Darling Days

iO Tillett Wright
Authors:
iO Tillett Wright

I WAS BORN, SEPTEMBER 1985, IN THE VORTEX OF THE LOWER EAST SIDE OF NEW YORK: THERE WERE FEW RULES OF LIFE AND ZERO CONTRAINTS ON BEHAVIOUR. IF YOU WERE NOT ECCENTRIC, YOU WERE WEIRD.It was a tenement building at the centre of the drug-addled, punk-edged, permanent riot that was iO's corner of the Lower East Side of New York City in the '80s and 90's. There iO grew up - or rather scrabbled up - under the broken wing of a fiercely protective, yet wildly negligent mother.Rhonna was a showgirl, actress, dancer, poet. A widow by police murder, she was also an addict. She doted and obsessed over iO, yet lacked an understanding that a child needs food and sleep and safety.Unfolding in animated, crystalline prose, an emotionally raw, devastatingly powerful memoir of one young person's extraordinary coming of age - a tale of gender and identity, freedom and addiction, rebellion and survival in the 1980s and 1990s, when punk poverty, heroin and art collided in the urban bohemia of New York's Lower East Side.Darling Days is also a provocative examination of culture and identity, of the instincts that shape us and the norms that deform us, and of the courage and resilience of a child listening closely to their deepest self. When a group of boys refuse to let the six-year-old play ball, iO instantly adopts a new persona, becoming a boy named Ricky, a choice the parents support and celebrate. It is the start of a profound exploration of gender and identity through the tenderest years, and the beginning of a life invented and reinvented at every step.Alternating between the harrowing and the hilarious, Darling Days is the candid, tough, and stirring memoir of a young person in search of an authentic self as family and home life devolve into chaos until iO escapes to Germany and then England to become an amazingly talented, exciting, edgy artist and wonderful writer.

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

Dancing On the Outskirts

Shena Mackay
Authors:
Shena Mackay

Here is a wonderful collection of short stories by the writer known for 'the Mackay vision, suburban - as kitsch, as unexceptional, and yet as rich in history and wonder as a plain Victorian terrace house, its threshold radiant with tiling and stained-glass birds of paradise encased in leaded lights' - Guardian.Shena Mackay, who first came to fame before the age of twenty with two novellas, is the doyenne of the short form. In this volume of previously uncollected stories - including those read on radio - she constantly surprises with a view of the ordinary world that is not at all ordinary.A grasshopper determinedly takes up residence on a bathroom ceiling; a gecko hiding in a cupboard brings a strange sort of luck; a woman spies from a distance two older women friends after many long years and a memory of how they gallopedin the playground as Starlight Blaze and Pepperpot plays sweetly, suddenly in her mind; pigs are swaddled in blankets, looking like babies in shawls; luggage is packed with youthful hopes and ideals.She observes how people rub along and reveals the best and worst of us all: a disgruntled schoolboy and his hapless teacher conquer mountains and their antipathy for each other; a girl with green eyes and iridescent hair discovers revenge; a race to be the best mushroom-picker creates only losers; and rotten apples, in the right pair of hands, make a loving pie. Shena Mackay is a generous and keen-eyed chronicler of the everyday; she deftly brings wisdom and humour to the worlds she creates, worlds that we suddenly, excitingly see anew. She is an utterly original writer.

Virago

Stone Mattress

Margaret Atwood
Authors:
Margaret Atwood

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

Virago

The Boy Who Followed Ripley

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

The continuing adventures of Ripley, played by Matt Damon in The Talented Mr Ripley.When a troubled young runaway arrives on Tom Ripley's French estate, he is drawn into a world he thought he'd left behind: the seedy underworld of Berlin, involving kidnapping plots, lies and deception. Ripley becomes the boy's protector as friendship develops between the young man with a guilty conscience and the older one with no conscience at all.The Boy Who Followed Ripley is followed by Ripley Under Water.

Virago

Deep Water

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
Virago

The Tremor of Forgery

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

A gripping novel that explores the shifting sands of moral values - is murder still murder when committed in a lawless place?'Highsmith is the poet of apprehension rather than fear . . . Highsmith's finest novel to my mind is The Tremor of Forgery, and if I were asked what it is about I would reply, "apprehension"' Graham GreeneHoward Ingham finds it strange that no one has written to him since he arrived in Tunisia - neither the film director that he is supposed to be meeting in Tunis, nor his lover in New York who is, he hopes, missing him. While he waits around at a beach resort, unable to progress on the film script he is there to write, he starts work on a new novel, about a man living an amoral double life. Howard also befriends a fellow American who has a taste for Scotch and a suspicious interest in the Soviet Union, and a Dane who appears to distrust Arabs intensely. When bad news finally arrives from home, Howard thinks he may as well stay and continue writing, despite the tremors in the air of violence, tensions and ambiguous morals.

Virago

Ripley Under Water

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

Ripley Under Water is a psychological thriller by Patricia Highsmith, the last in her series of five books known as the 'Ripliad'.'The No.1 Greatest Crime Writer' The TimesTom Ripley is quietly living in luxury at his chateau at Villeperce. He has a past, however, that would not bear too much close scrutiny. He is certain that he has covered his tracks where murder and forgery are concerned. But when a certain American couple move in next door, he soon realises his every move is being shadowed. Ripley fears his secrets may be discovered and he will stop at nothing to prevent that from happening . . .'The No.1 Greatest Crime Writer' The Times