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Dancing Girls and Other Stories [Paperback]

Margaret Atwood
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

26 Sep 1996
Pregnant women, students and journalists; farmers, birdwatchers, ex-wives, adolescent lovers - and dancing girls. All ordinary people - or are they?' Margaret Atwood's distinctive wit and incisive observation of the strangeness of everyday life makes this a delighfully absorbing collection of stories. She portrays each drama with tremendous agility that seems effortless, and makes it impossible to stop at the end of one story without dipping into the next.

Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Vintage; New edition edition (26 Sep 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099744910
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099744917
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 11 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,603,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than thirty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays.

In addition to the classic 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 Oryx and Crake, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Her most recent novel, The Year of the Flood, was published in 2009. She was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature in 2008.

Margaret Atwood lives in Toronto, Canada.

(Photo credit: George Whitside)

Product Description


"An acute and poetic observer of the eternal, universal, rum relationships between men and women" (The Times)

"The mind revealed in this collection of short stories is acutely perceptive, in love with language and capable of seeing significant connections between apparently disparate circumstances" (Sheila MacLeod Evening Standard)

"If anyone has better insight into women and their central problem - men - than Margaret Atwood, and can voice them with as much wit, impact and grace, then they haven't started writing yet" (Daily Mail)

"Margaret Atwood's stories are fierce parables about the horror of city life and the power politics of relationships. The fierceness filters insidiously through the leisurely realism of her domestic interiors, clothes, meals, weather... A remarkable collection" (Victoria Glendinning Sunday Times) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

'A remarkable collection' - Sunday Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous short stories from Atwood 25 April 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Atwood is one of the greatest and most prolific living authors in my opinion. This collection of short stories shows why. Generally I'm not a big fan of the short story format - I prefer something that's long and meaty enough to get my teeth into and really get to know the characters. But I enjoyed this collection of gems thoroughly. Each story is like a photograph - a moment in time - from a life or a collection of lives; a small and privileged glimpse into other people's worlds. Atwood's stories are about the little things in lives: noisy bathrooms, weekend trips, stays in hotel rooms, infatuations - little things in the scheme of things, but things that matter to the people involved. Where Atwood excels is in taking us into the life of the protagonist to such an extent that the reader forgets that the story revolves around something as mundane as a birdspotter missing a bird, or a girl's fleeting attachment with a stranger. What's also great about this collection is that each story is the perfect length for a single sitting before bed, or on the train. This book won't change your life, but it will give several hours of pure and simple pleasure - which, after all, is something that a lot of contemporary authors seem strangely unable to do.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Morsels of Atwood 28 Oct 2009
I've read a fair amount of Atwood by now, but this is my first experience with her short stories. This is one of her lesser-known collections of stories written early in her career. As a hopeful author myself, it was a good insight to see how she has changed and grown as an author over the years.

This early in her career, she's still an incredible writer. Her descriptions are short and sweet. One that for some reason really stuck with me was the girl in "The Man from Mars." She was playing tennis at the beginning of the story and her skin was hot and "felt poached." Such an excellent way to put it! All of the women here are a little strange, a little off, and possibly a little crazy. They are put in odd situations and it's interesting to see how they react.

My one criticism to this collection is a trend with Atwood I see overall. She's really fond of open endings, but some of the stories have too open an ending and are thus a but unsatisfactory. I'd like ones that had a clearer resolution. Overall, though, for Atwood fans, this is another Atwood to chew on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to Margaret Atwood's usual standard 18 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not sure when this was published but I think Margaret Atwood's later books are much better. I finds short stories are ok for dipping into though - stops me from staying up all night to finish a good book!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dancing Words 20 Aug 2005
By Maclen - Published on Amazon.com
Having read Atwood's many excellent novels, I searched for additional works by her. This compilation of early short stories reveals an author testing the literary waters, without plunging in head first. We see early glimpses of Atwood's dark wit and terse descriptions. And we are also treated to many varied and memorable characters, stories and settings. For those of you who believe, as I do, that Atwood is one of the most accomplished authors writing today, these stories, even though not perfect and early in her career, are far more rewarding than most works by mature authors. A must read.
20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic and little-known collection 25 Aug 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I've always liked Margaret Atwood, but with this collection I now have to say I love her. Many typically unsentimental stories with strong women characters, and none one-dimensional. Each story has stayed with me in its own way. This is one to try.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great story collection from Atwood 27 Jun 2006
By Ima Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Atwood's short stories are shocking, vibrant glances at some of her most interesting people. The stories in this collection were published in many journals, from the prestigious *Harper's* to the rarified journals like *Fiddlehead* and *The Malahat Review.* Because many of these pieces were published in smaller journals, they've not been widely read. If you see yourself as an Atwood buff, you need this book to complete your collection.

Stories in *Dancing Girls*:

The War in the Bathroom
The Man from Mars
Under Glass
The Grave of the Famous Poet
Rape Fantasies
Hair Jewellery
When It Happens
A Travel Piece
The Resplendent Quetzal
Lives of the Poets
Dancing Girls
Giving Birth

TK Kenyon
Author of Rabid: A Novel and Callous: A Novel
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fab short stories! Thanks Atwood! 10 Dec 2012
By Love at First Book - Published on Amazon.com
When I picked it up, I had no idea that Dancing Girls by Margaret Atwood was a book of short stories. I'm usually not a short story fan overall, but was excited to read Atwood's take, since I'm a big fan of her.

I'm still working on my Margaret Atwood Challenge, reading one of her novels per month, basically in order of publication, so this is my December book.

While a few of the stories in Dancing Girls had endings that left me stumped, I still enjoyed reading them. But for the most part, they kept me very entertained.

For instance, The War in the Bathroom was told over the course of a week, where a woman feels like her living space is being invaded daily by an elderly man whose bathroom habits can be clearly heard from her room.

Then in The Man from Mars, a strange little foreign man begins to stalk Christine. . .

Rape Fantasies has a dark name, but is a witty story about one woman's ridiculous rape fantasies that somehow turn into love.

Atwood's Dancing Girls has a common theme of obsession with a hint of crazy that touches almost every story in the collection. And of course, you know I'm loving the obsessive/crazy theme with my psychological thriller kick!

If you enjoy Margaret Atwood or enjoy reading short stories, these are some great ones to get into!

Speaking of obsession, what is something you are a little obsessed with?

Thanks for reading,

Rebecca @ Love at First Book
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In the minds of young women 30 May 2009
By LH422 - Published on Amazon.com
In this short story collection Atwood explores the mindset of women in a variety of situations. From an isolated grad student to an expectant mother, to a severely disabled girl at summer camp, these stories find women in deceptively ordinary situations, each with a slight twist. This collection is comprised of stories written early in Atwood's career, and that is clearly reflected in the details. Several stories focus on academic environments, with graduate student characters. The protagonist in the collection's namesake, "Dancing Girls," a Canadian graduate student in Cambridge, certainly brings to mind Atwood's own time at Harvard. Together this collection explores the expectations that follow young women in the late-1970s: sometimes restrictive, sometimes depressing, always present.
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