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Stone mattress : nine tales

by Atwood, Margaret, 1939-

Format: Print Book 2014
Availability: Available at 31 Libraries 32 of 36 copies
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Summary
A collection of highly imaginative short pieces that speak to our times with deadly accuracy. Vintage Atwood creativity, intelligence, and humor: think Alias Grace .

Margaret Atwood turns to short fiction for the first time since her 2006 collection, Moral Disorder , with nine tales of acute psychological insight and turbulent relationships bringing to mind her award-winning 1996 novel, Alias Grace . A recently widowed fantasy writer is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband in "Alphinland," the first of three loosely linked stories about the romantic geometries of a group of writers and artists. In "The Freeze-Dried Bridegroom," a man who bids on an auctioned storage space has a surprise. In "Lusus Naturae," a woman born with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire. In "Torching the Dusties," an elderly lady with Charles Bonnet syndrome comes to terms with the little people she keeps seeing, while a newly formed populist group gathers to burn down her retirement residence. And in "Stone Mattress," a long-ago crime is avenged in the Arctic via a 1.9 billion-year-old stromatolite. In these nine tales, Margaret Atwood is at the top of her darkly humorous and seriously playful game.
Contents
Alphinland
Revenant
Dark lady
Lusus naturae
The freeze-dried groom
I dream of Zenia with the bright red teeth
The dead hand loves you
Stone mattress
Torching the dusties.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "*Starred Review* Atwood is shrewdly brilliant, gleefully mischievous, and acerbically hilarious in her first short-fiction collection since the superb Moral Disorder (2006). She portrays baby boomers much irked by age's dirty tricks and the rankling of painful memories. Atwood also has good satiric fun mocking the pretension of the writing vocation even as she marvels over its curious felicities. Young Constance began composing fantasy stories to support Gavin, her ne'er-do-well poet lover. Now a wispy new widow gamely venturing out into a ferocious blizzard, she is quite famous for her long-running, movie-adapted Alphinland series and seems to be acquiring the sort of supernatural powers she thought were confined to her imaginary realm. In The Dead Hand Loves You, a feckless college student makes a devil's deal with his roommates concerning the seemingly dim prospects for his cheesy horror tale about a jilted lover's creepy revenge. Atwood's canny adventures with the macabre also involve a grisly discovery in a storage unit, a wry and clever freak of nature, and, in the surprising and supremely satisfying title story, spontaneous retribution in the Arctic. Intimations of worsening environmental disruption appear throughout the collection, culminating in Torching the Dusties, in which personal vendettas give way to mass vigilante justice. Atwood has the raptor's penetrating gaze, speed, and agility and never misses her mark. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Ads and promotional efforts will inspire Atwood's ever-expanding and active reader base, including her hundreds of thousands of social media followers.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2014 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Atwood, a bestselling master of fiction, delivers a stunning collection-her first since 2006's Moral Disorder. Most of the nine stories feature women who have been wronged as girls but recover triumphantly as adults. Atwood brings her biting wit to bear on the battle of the sexes. The first three stories in the book-"Alphinland," "Revenant," and "Dark Lady"-are linked by a pretentious poet and his girlfriends, who best him professionally and personally as he ages into an impotent, disgruntled old man with a wife 30 years his junior: "He probably has more horns on his head-as the bard would say-than a hundred headed snail." Corpses are found, as in "The Freeze-Dried Groom"-or not found, as in the title story, set on an Arctic cruise, in which a woman takes her revenge on the high school "Mr. Hearthrob, Mr. Senior Football Star, Mr. Astounding Catch... Mr. Shit" of 50 years before. Readers love Atwood's women, despite, or because of, who they are and what they do. Add in her wild imagination-women conversing with dead husbands; genetic missteps that produce a girl with yellow eyes, pink teeth, and "long, dark chest hair"; and costumed "little people" who appear to an elderly nursing home resident-and it's clear that this grande dame is at the top of her game. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Authors -- Fiction.
Betrayal -- Fiction.
Man-woman relationships -- Fiction.
Short stories.
Publisher New York :2014
Edition First American edition.
Other Titles Short stories.
Language English
Description 273 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN 9780385539128 (hardcover)
0385539126 (hardcover)
Other Classic View