Margaret Atwood is my go-to girl when I want to read a book I know will be good. This is a structure I'm interested in--interconnected short stories. Together, they have an overarching theme and arc, but they're complete each in their own right.
Moral Disorder at first glance seems almost haphazard. There's a story set in contemporary times, an d then an ancestor of that main character voices the rest of the collection. The stories weave their way through the decades, from the 30s to the present day. Nell describes her aimless vagabond youth, where she traveled from city to city, never able to settle down. When she finally does settle down, it's in a creaky old farmhouse in the Canadian countryside with another woman's husband. She grows and develops through the story, although she's always a slightly sad, pitiful character.
The stories have an odd feeling to them...whimsical or dreamy, perhaps? They're like memories, with flashes of vivid details, and others that are hazy. Sometimes the endings snap to a close, or they fade and fizzle.
It's a story about family history. Usually, I find those boring. But Atwood writes so well that she could write about the history of carp migrations and I would probably read it.