Bluebeard's Egg and Other Stories

Bluebeard's Egg and Other Stories

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by Margaret Atwood
     
 

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By turns humorous and warm, stark and frightening, Bluebeard's Egg infuses a Canada of the 1940s, '50s and '80s with glowing childhood memories, the harsh realities of parents growing old, and the casual cruelty that men and women inflict on each other. Here is the familiar outer world of family summers at remote lakes, winters of political activism, and

Overview

By turns humorous and warm, stark and frightening, Bluebeard's Egg infuses a Canada of the 1940s, '50s and '80s with glowing childhood memories, the harsh realities of parents growing old, and the casual cruelty that men and women inflict on each other. Here is the familiar outer world of family summers at remote lakes, winters of political activism, and seasons of exotic friends, mudane lives and unexpected loves. But here too is the inner world of hidden places and all that emerges from them—the intimately personal, the fantastic and the shockingly real...whether it's what lies in a mysterious locked room or in the secret feelings we all conceal.

Editorial Reviews

Michiko Kakutani
. . .this collection is [not] limited or dully familiar; rather, it attests. . .to Ms. Atwood's range as a writer, her ability to set forth her view of the world in both the capacious form of the novel and the narrower mold of the short story; in both lyrical, meditative tales and wry, crackly satires.
The New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"Conversations in our family were not about feelings,'' recalls the teenage narrator of "Hurricane Hazel' -- 'about her breakup with a boyfriend who "meant what is usually called absolutely nothing to me" -- 'in Atwood's (The Handmaid's Tale, etc.) second collection of shortfiction. Unfortunately, the author's arch cleverness and cool understatement anesthetize the impact of the stories' conversations and gloomy relationships between parents and children, husbands and wives, friends and lovers. Symbols abound and some, reminiscent of Atwood's "edible woman'' cake in the book of the same title, are strained. In "Uglypuss,'' the discordant lovers are political activists; at one point they plan to picket a sock company and dramatize the crucifixion, portraying Christ as a large knitted sock, in red and white stripes. But the collection is somewhat redeemed by the affecting title story, where an egg, a deceptively innocuous object that, according to the legend, ultimately marks as disobedient two of Bluebeard's unfortunate wives, aptly symbolizes the protagonist's premonitions of doom about her marriage to a man she is desperately afraid of losing, although she describes him as obtuse, blundering and predictable.
Robert Towers
Although events occur, these stories are much more analytical than dramatic in their telling, more 'spelled out' than glancing or impressionistic. At times their inspiration seems as much journalistic or sociological as fictional. The distance that Ms. Atwood keeps -- the unblinking detachment with which she views her creations -- means that her readers, while interested and often amused, are not likely to become much involved. Her psychological astuteness is everywhere in evidence, though, whether she is observing a dispirited family on vacation in Trinidad ('Scarlet Ibis') or the sullen evasiveness of an anorexic girl in a hospital ('Spring Song of the Frogs'). Her prose is controlled, her sentences carefully turned to reflect the workings of her finely tuned intelligence.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780395404249
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
04/01/1989
Pages:
281

What People are saying about this

Susan F. Schaeffer
These tales expand in the mind until they become novels. The characters...take on lives of their own; they take over yours.

Meet the Author

Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa in 1939, and grew up in northern Quebec and Ontario, and later in Toronto. She has lived in numerous cities in Canada, the U.S., and Europe.
She is the author of more than forty books - novels, short stories, poetry, literary criticism, social history, and books for children. Atwood's work is acclaimed internationally and has been published around the world. Her novels include The Handmaid's Tale and Cat's Eye - both shortlisted for the Booker Prize; The Robber Bride, winner of the Trillium Book Award and a finalist for the Governor General's Award; Alias Grace, winner of the prestigious Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy, and a finalist for the Governor General's Award, the Booker Prize, the Orange Prize, and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; The Blind Assassin, winner of the Booker Prize and a finalist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; and Oryx and Crake, a finalist for The Giller Prize, the Governor General's Award, the Orange Prize, and the Man Booker Prize. Her most recent books of fiction are The Penelopiad, The Tent, and Moral Disorder. She is the recipient of numerous honours, such as The Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence in the U.K., the National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Literature in the U.S., Le Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France, and she was the first winner of the London Literary Prize. She has received honorary degrees from universities across Canada, and one from Oxford University in England.
Margaret Atwood lives in Toronto with novelist Graeme Gibson.
From theHardcover edition.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Toronto, Ontario
Date of Birth:
November 18, 1939
Place of Birth:
Ottawa, Ontario
Education:
B.A., University of Toronto, 1961; M.A. Radcliffe, 1962; Ph.D., Harvard University, 1967
Website:
http://www.owtoad.com

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Bluebeard's Egg and Other Stories 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well i'm in high school and i had to do a report on a book of hers... So i picked this one well i read it and it was an awesome book. I'm surprized how good it all was!!!