Bluebeard's Egg

( 2 )

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

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

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

“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 (U.K.)

“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.”
Globe and Mail

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

“Atwood is nothing if not clairvoyant.”
–Kingston Whig-Standard

“Once again Atwood brings her poetic talents, her acute clarity of perception, and her sardonic humour to an examination of the foibles and follies of modern life.”
–David Staines, Canadian Literature

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

“Atwood's prose in Bluebeard’s Egg is powerful, elegant, and mellifluous to an extraordinary degree.”
Quill & Quire

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

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385491044
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 244
  • Sales rank: 640,583
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 8.02 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret  Atwood
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 thirty 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; Alias Grace, winner of the prestigious Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy, and a finalist for the Booker Prize, the Orange Prize, and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; and The Blind Assassin, winner of the Booker Prize and a finalist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her new novel is Oryx and Crake (2003). 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 the Hardcover edition.

Biography

When Margaret Atwood announced to her friends that she wanted to be a writer, she was only 16 years old. It was Canada. It was the 1950s. No one knew what to think. Nonetheless, Atwood began her writing career as a poet. Published In 1964 while she was still a student at Harvard, her second poetry anthology, The Circle Game, was awarded the Governor General's Award, one of Canada's most esteemed literary prizes. Since then, Atwood has gone on to publish many more volumes of poetry (as well as literary criticism, essays, and short stories), but it is her novels for which she is best known.

Atwood's first foray into fiction was 1966's The Edible Woman, an arresting story about a woman who stops eating because she feels her life is consuming her. Grabbing the attention of critics, who applauded its startlingly original premise, the novel explored feminist themes Atwood has revisited time and time again during her long, prolific literary career. She is famous for strong, compelling female protagonists -- from the breast cancer survivor in Bodily Harm to the rueful artist in Cat's Eye to the fatefully intertwined sisters in her Booker Prize-winning novel The Blind Asassin.

Perhaps Atwood's most legendary character is Offred, the tragic "breeder" in what is arguably her most famous book, 1985's The Handmaid's Tale. Part fable, part science fiction, and part dystopian nightmare, this novel presented a harrowing vision of women's lives in an oppressive futuristic society. The Washington Post compared it (favorably) to George Orwell's iconic 1984.

As if her status as a multi-award-winning, triple-threat writer (fiction, poetry, and essays) were not enough, Atwood has also produced several children's books, including Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut (1995) and Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes (2003) -- delicious alliterative delights that introduce a wealth of new vocabulary to young readers.

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

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