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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When We Pretend that We're Dead
What makes someone a writer? What's the role of the writer in the world today? Should she write just for Art's sake or does she have a social responsibility? Is there a third way? And is there an underlying (and universal) psychological reason behind every writer's desire to put words to paper? Margaret Atwood answers all these questions, and more, in six essays which...
Published on 21 May 2008 by Oliver Redfern

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to what I expected.
I'm afraid my high hopes of Atwood have come rather crashing down. I should have known better I suppose as my son warned me (two English teachers in the same house, eh?). There is - for me - a lack of objectivity between it covers, too much fancy and thus a lack of authenticity. I have to say that I have been forced, for now, to review my thoughts on this author's...
Published on 19 Jun 2011 by Scampo


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When We Pretend that We're Dead, 21 May 2008
This review is from: Negotiating With The Dead: A Writer on Writing (Paperback)
What makes someone a writer? What's the role of the writer in the world today? Should she write just for Art's sake or does she have a social responsibility? Is there a third way? And is there an underlying (and universal) psychological reason behind every writer's desire to put words to paper? Margaret Atwood answers all these questions, and more, in six essays which were originally lectures given at Cambridge University.

The great thing about Atwood is that she doesn't place herself, or anyone else, on a pedestal. Her tone is warm, familiar, self-deprecating and very witty. She weaves quotes and poems into her explanations which give you a better understanding of those original works and even make you wish to go out and buy some of them (I've added Carol Shield's "Mary Swann" to my wish list.) This is the second time I read this book and I feel that I've gained new insight into what happens inside my head when I write. If you are a writer, this book is a must
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'All writers are double' - some are simply magnificent, 22 Sep 2007
This review is from: Negotiating With The Dead: A Writer on Writing (Paperback)
The amount of drivel written on writing has to be experienced to be believed. It is significant that many of the authors of this tripe are not to be found on any best seller list. They're hacks. Their words are tired. Their advice inane. Why any publisher produces their unhelpful prose is a mystery this writer cannot understand. What joy then to read Margaret Atwood's book. It will not give you 36 points on how to become a best selling novelist/poet/non-fiction writer/grafitti artist. It may not help you to write a single line at all. What it will display is great writing, sly wit, it will open a little, the door into the lives of writers and writing. It should inspire you. It should encourage you. It will definitely cause the occasional chuckle, among my favourites: "Wanting to meet an author because you like his work is like wanting to meet a duck because you like pate." And, "all writers are double, for the simple reason you cannot meet the author of the book you just read. Too much time has elapsed between composition and publication, and the person who wrote the book is now a different person." It's worth being a different person. Read this book.
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39 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 15 Nov 2003
This review is from: Negotiating With The Dead: A Writer on Writing (Paperback)
Worth reading for recreation or for research, this book makes literary criticism fun! Negotiating With The Dead is of interest to anyone who has ever wondered what it really means to be a writer, and its a page turner. Educational and interesting, what more could you ask for?!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 20 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Negotiating With The Dead: A Writer on Writing (Paperback)
Margaret Attwood will always be five stars. I found this informative, interesting & enlightening. It's beside my bed and I keep dippig i at random when I need some inspiration.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to what I expected., 19 Jun 2011
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Scampo "Steve C" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Negotiating With The Dead: A Writer on Writing (Paperback)
I'm afraid my high hopes of Atwood have come rather crashing down. I should have known better I suppose as my son warned me (two English teachers in the same house, eh?). There is - for me - a lack of objectivity between it covers, too much fancy and thus a lack of authenticity. I have to say that I have been forced, for now, to review my thoughts on this author's abilities and views.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking, 29 Dec 2011
This review is from: Negotiating With The Dead: A Writer on Writing (Paperback)
Based on a lecture series given by Margaret Attwood, this book tackles the philosophical questions of why write? does a writer have to suffer for his or her art? who is the reader? where does writing come from? Margaret Attwood has an astonishing knowledge of her subject and an all-encompassing source of quotations ranging from Gilgamesh to Flaubert. Her background as a poet is also much in evidence with some very thought-provoking examples that illustrate the debates she analyses.

The book's weaknesses are in its strengths. The debating style leads to weak conclusions and rather protracted analysis which makes parts of the book dry. I wasn't surprised to find the Brown Owl example quoted in other reviews as this is one of the relatively few personal experiences that provide a depth of feeling and inspiration, the book could have done with more of these. Nevertheless, well worth the read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 25 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Negotiating With The Dead: A Writer on Writing (Paperback)
I didn't expect a How to Manual but Ms Atwood seems to be peversely determined not to share any tips at all about writing with her public.The pieces are very clever, lots of quotes and references but ultimately very empty.The best thing about this book is the title.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical insights from a master novelist, 14 April 2007
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Baggy "Baggy" (Herts , England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Negotiating With The Dead: A Writer on Writing (Paperback)
If you love Margaret Atwood's novels then please buy this book. It has the same qualities you will have treasured before - every paragraph has a shaft of humour, an original insight, and a poetic use of language.

I've hesitated before to move from Margaret Atwood's novels into the short stories and poetry - a mistake i'll be rectifying soon. The writing and the level of intelligence in this set of reflections on the artist's life and motivations are as one with the rest of her captivating work.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good read, 21 April 2013
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This review is from: Negotiating With The Dead: A Writer on Writing (Paperback)
she is at her usual best..... it is a fun book where margaret relates her life experiences to writing cleverly
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite up there with the title, 9 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Negotiating With The Dead: A Writer on Writing (Paperback)
Enjoy Margaret Atwood and just starting out on life writing myself so jumped at the title, but only one chapter focuses on this - the last. However, lots of gems along the way as MA generously shares her wisdom and humour - introduced me too to other interesting writers - full of easy unpretentious scholarship.
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Negotiating With The Dead: A Writer on Writing
Negotiating With The Dead: A Writer on Writing by Margaret Atwood (Paperback - 4 Nov 2003)
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