The Tentby Margaret Atwood
A delightfully pointed m?lange of fictional pieces from one of the world’s most acclaimed and incisive authors, The Tent is a sparkling addition to Margaret Atwood’s always masterful work.Here Atwood pushes form once again, with meditations on warlords, pet heaven, and aging homemakers. She gives a sly pep talk to the ambitious young; writes about the disconcerting experience of looking at old photos of ourselves; and examines the boons and banes of orphanhood. Accompanied by her own playful illustrations, Atwood’s droll humor and keen insight make each piece full of clarity and grace. Prescient and personal, delectable and tart, The Tent reflects one of our wittiest authors at her best.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
- Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Random House
- NOOK Book
- File size:
- 610 KB
Read an Excerpt
By Margaret Atwood
Random HouseMargaret Atwood
All right reserved.
Why the hunger for these? If it is a hunger. Maybe it's more like bossiness. Maybe we just want to be in charge, of the life, no matter who lived it.
It helps if there are photos. No more choices for the people in them -- pick this one, dump that one. The livers of the lives in question had their chances, most of which they blew. They should have spotted the photographer in the bushes, they shouldn't have chewed with their mouths open, they shouldn't have worn the strapless top, they shouldn't have yawned, they shouldn't have laughed: so unattractive, the candid denture. So that's what she looked like, we say, connecting the snapshot to the year of the torrid affair. Face like a half-eaten pizza, and is that him, gaping down her front? What did he see in her, besides cheap lunch? He was already going bald. What was all the fuss about?
I'm working on my own life story. I don't mean I'm putting it together; no, I'm taking it apart. It's mostly a question of editing. If you'd wanted the narrative line you should have asked earlier, when I still knew everything and was more than willing to tell. That was before I discovered the virtues of scissors, the virtues of matches.
I was born, I would have begun, once. But snip, snip, away go mother and father, white ribbons of paper blownby the wind, with grandparents tossed out for good measure. I spent my childhood. Enough of that as well. Goodbye dirty little dresses, goodbye scuffed shoes that caused me such anguish, goodbye well-thumbed tears and scabby knees, and sadness worn at the edges.
Adolescence can be discarded too, with its salty tanned skin, its fecklessness and bad romance and leakages of seasonal blood. What was it like to breathe so heavily, as if drugged, while rubbing up against strange leather coats in alleyways? I can't remember.
Once you get started it's fun. So much free space opens up. Rip, crumple, up in flames, out the window. I was born, I grew up, I studied, I loved, I married, I procreated, I said, I wrote, all gone now. I went, I saw, I did. Farewell crumbling turrets of historic interest, farewell icebergs and war monuments, all those young stone men with eyes upturned, and risky voyages teeming with germs, and dubious hotels, and doorways opening both in and out. Farewell friends and lovers, you've slipped from view, erased, defaced: I know you once had hairdos and told jokes, but I can't recall them. Into the ground with you, my tender fur-brained cats and dogs, and horses and mice as well: I adored you, dozens of you, but what were your names?
I'm getting somewhere now, I'm feeling lighter. I'm coming unstuck from scrapbooks, from albums, from diaries and journals, from space, from time. Only a paragraph left, only a sentence or two, only a whisper.
I was born.
Excerpted from The Tent by Margaret Atwood Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Margaret Atwood's books have been published in over thirty-five countries. She is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. In addition to The Handmaid's Tale, her novels include Cat's Eye -- shortlisted for the Booker Prize -- Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy, The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize, and her most recent, Oryx and Crake -- shortlisted for the 2003 Booker Prize. She lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
- Toronto, Ontario
- Date of Birth:
- November 18, 1939
- Place of Birth:
- Ottawa, Ontario
- B.A., University of Toronto, 1961; M.A. Radcliffe, 1962; Ph.D., Harvard University, 1967
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >
It wats for its next vicctim
The Tent by Margaret Atwood, which helps to fulfill my Project Atwood requirement. The Tent is a short book filled with super short stories (2 pages usually, sometimes less). I have to say I have mixed feelings on these. The book is split up into 3 sections, and I enjoyed the second section the best. The first section I just didn't understand. But I did enjoy some of the satirical quotes from the stories. Here are some of my favorites: "No more photos. Surely there are enough. No more shadows of myself thrown by light onto pieces of paper, onto squares of plastic." - p. 25 "You're not my real parents, every child has thought. I'm not your real child. But with orphans, it's true. What freedom, to thumb your nose authentically!" - p. 29 "What are we do to? The child sex trade is not for us: our children are unattractive and rude, and - due to the knowledge of our history - have a bad habit of mugging prospective customers and shoving them over cliffs." - p. 60 The Tent is super short and a very quick read, so if you're a huge Atwood fan, check it out. Some of the stories were great, some were bizarre.