Margaret Atwood

"The Robber Bride"

(Reviewed Judi Clark FEB 10, 1998)

As we begin this novel, we meet three college friends with a common nemesis - their classmate, the beautiful and evil Zenia, whom they believe is comfortingly dead.  That is, until Zenia walks into the restaurant just as alive and beautiful as ever. How can this be? They went to her funeral just to make sure she was dead...

Through The Robber Bride we learn about these three friends and why they preferred the dead Zenia. As usual, Atwood develops some interesting characters with unique occupations. Antoinette (Tony) Fremont is a war historian and a professor at a Toronto university. She likes to stage wars with peppercorns, lentils and Monopoly pieces. Then there is Charis, psychic and a new age mother. And finally there's Roz, a founding editor of a woman's magazine. But the book is really about the evil Zenia.  She's a liar, a man-eater, seductive, inscrutable, so impossibly, fantastically bad, that we just have to keep reading to see what she will do next. Atwood won the 1995 Swedish Humor Association's International Humorous Writer Award for this book.

  • Amazon readers rating: from 124 reviews
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"Lady Oracle"

(Reviewed by Judi Clark APR 14, 1999)

Oh, I almost missed this novel, and what a shame that would have been!  As we begin this humorous account, Joan Foster is in a small villa of Terremoto, Italy.  She has just faked her own death but is so consumed with missing herself and her husband that she almost gives herself away. As she hides, we learn about the trysts and misdeeds, and her uncanny success which is exactly what causes her to need to hide.  We go all the way back to her childhood as a hateful overweight girl.  Foster's occupation is just as fascinating as the rest of her life, she secretly writes gothic novels, of which she is writing her latest throughout the novel.

Interestingly enough, there are some overlapping scenes and characters with Cat's Eye and I highly recommend you read that book as well.

  • Amazon readers rating: from 32 reviews

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About the Author:

Margaret AtwoodMargaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Toronto Canada. Her father was a forest etymologist, thus she spent part of her early years in the bush of northern Quebec.  In 1946, her family moved to Toronto. She was 11 when she first attended school full time. Atwood graduated from high school at the age of 20 and then studied at the University of Toronto.  She won a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and went on to receive her Masters degree from Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1962.  That same year she published her first book of poems. She started her pH.D. in Victorian literature at Harvard, but did not complete it. She worked for a market-research company in Toronto, taught English a the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, held a variety of academic posts and has been writer-in-residence at numerous Canadian and American universities. Margaret Atwood has authored over twenty-five books, including fiction, poetry and essays. Her novel The Blind Assassin won the The Booker Prize in 2000.

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