Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Tent

The Tent, by Margaret Atwood, is a delight to read. Thirty or forty short stories - some not even stories; merely thoughts a couple of pages in length, hints and suggestions of larger stories and issues. The blurb on the back cover calls them "fictional essays", which doesn't seem quite right.

To be honest, it felt like a Dr Seuss book for grown-ups. There was the same delight in language, the twisted-about twirling dance of words, but much darker, more solemn and filled with the sadnesses and mysteries and compromises of adulthood.

The only other book of Atwood's I've read is Oryx and Crake, which is an amazing piece of science fiction*, and one that mesmerized me.

I must read more of her books; The Blind Assassin and The Handmaid's Tale are sitting on my shelves, waiting patiently.

* she claims it isn't science fiction, since the science in it is merely an extrapolation of current trends in science. Genius though she is, she's completely wrong there, confusing "Science Fiction" with "Fictional Science".

1 comment:

K said...

I picked up the Handmaid's Tale a couple of months ago on a whim, thinking I should read more "literature". Thoroughly enjoyed it, very compelling and a good look at how a western society could become rigidly and fanatically divided along gender lines.

I'd have liked a little more detail of the world she created, but that's just my preference as a reader. The lack of detail fits the story the narrator is telling, and certainly helps to create the atmosphere and belief in the world that Atwood is creating.