Bluebeard's Egg

Bluebeard's Egg

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by Margaret Atwood
     
 

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With the publication of the best-selling The Handmaid's Tale in 1986, Margaret Atwood's place in North American letters was reconfirmed. Poet, short story writer, and novelist, she was acclaimed "one of the most intelligent and talented writers to set herself the task of deciphering life in the late twentieth century."*
Of Atwood's first collection of short

Overview

With the publication of the best-selling The Handmaid's Tale in 1986, Margaret Atwood's place in North American letters was reconfirmed. Poet, short story writer, and novelist, she was acclaimed "one of the most intelligent and talented writers to set herself the task of deciphering life in the late twentieth century."*
Of Atwood's first collection of short fiction, Dancing Girls, Anne Tyler wrote in the New York Times Book Review: "Her narrative style is as precise as cut glass; entire plots appear to balance upon a choice phrase, and clearly she writes with an ear cocked for the way her words will sound when read back."
With Bluebeard's Egg, her second short story collection, Atwood covers a dramatic range of storytelling, her scope encompassing the many moods of her characters, from the desolate to the hilarious.
The stories are set in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1980s and concern themselves with relationships of various sorts. There is the bond between a political activist and his kidnapped cat, a woman and her dead psychiatrist, a potter and the group of poets who live with her and mythologize her, an artist and the strange men she picks up to use as models. There is a man who finds himself surrounded by women who are literally shrinking, and a woman whose life is dominated by a fear of nuclear warfare; there are telling relationships among parents and children.
By turns humorous and warm, stark and frightening, Bluebeard's Egg explores and illuminates both the outer world in which we all live and the inner world that each of us creates.
*Le Anne Schreiber, Vogue

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.
Library Journal
In this delightful collection of short stories, Atwood (The Blind Assassin) explores relationships between men and women, parents and children, and people and pets. She also touches on anorexia and adult children of elderly parents. In typical Atwood fashion, the characters and locations are described in detail. Bonnie Hurren transports the listener into the author's world with her excellent pronunciation and slow, well-paced intonation. Each cassette stops at a convenient point in the story rather than whenever the tape ends. While this requires the listener to fast-forward each tape before changing sides, it makes it easier to follow the story line. Recommended for popular fiction collections and any library serving Atwood fans. Laurie Selwyn, San Antonio P.L. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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.
From the Publisher
“Atwood displays polished craftsmanship and rare insight in the stories in this collection. They are the work of an author in full control of her considerable talents.” The Globe and Mail

“An acute and poetic observer of the eternal, universal, rum relationships between men and women.” The Times (UK)

“Margaret Atwood renders visual, aural, and tactile events in such crisp, surprising language that her images crackle off the page.”The Washington Post

“A book to be read and re-read, to be talked about and savored.” London Free Press

“Her stories are sophisticated, reticent, ornate, stark, supple, stiff, savage or forgiving; they are exactly what she wants them to be. They are stories from the prime of life.” Times Literary Supplement

“An outstanding correspondent on the war between the sexes writes as wittily as ever on the hopes and shortcomings of women who bake for poets, sleep with their accountants, attribute their preference for awful men to fearlessness, and don't know how much they scare their own mothers.” The Observer

“This collection of short stories shows her genius with all its sparkle and humour.” Cosmopolitan

“In this impressive collection of astute and reverberating stories, she adds to her already considerable stature as a writer.” Winnipeg Free Press

“The depth and complexity of Atwood's critique of contemporary society are stunning.” Ms.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780544146730
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
11/15/2012
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
281
Sales rank:
600,756
File size:
512 KB

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'S poetry, like her fiction — including The Handmaid’s Tale and the Booker-winning The Blind Assassin -- is known and acclaimed around the world. Her last collection, Morning in the Burned House, won the Trillium Book Award in 1995. The author of more than forty works of fiction, poetry, critical essays, and books for children, Atwood has received top honors and awards in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, and many other countries. She lives in Toronto. In 2008, Atwood was awarded the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award Laureate for Letters, considered to be the Spanish-language Nobel.

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!!!