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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tall Tales and True
This collection contains nine beguiling tales, which Atwood qualifies as being distinct from `stories' in the Acknowledgements section at the end of the book. She says, "We may safely assume that all tales are fiction, whereas a `story' might well be a true story about what we usually agree to call `real life'".

While fantastical, these tales share a sense of...
Published 1 month ago by J. Ang

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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
I love Margaret Atwood BUT was so dissapponted by this book!
Published 1 month ago by christine hilsden


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tall Tales and True, 11 Oct 2014
By 
J. Ang - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stone Mattress: Nine Tales (Kindle Edition)
This collection contains nine beguiling tales, which Atwood qualifies as being distinct from `stories' in the Acknowledgements section at the end of the book. She says, "We may safely assume that all tales are fiction, whereas a `story' might well be a true story about what we usually agree to call `real life'".

While fantastical, these tales share a sense of realism that makes them all the more spellbinding because they are entirely believable. And of course, Atwood's trademark wit and wicked humour are in full force here, making acerbic jibes at human nature that betray them as social commentaries that show up the "social realism" that Atwood claims is the territory of `stories' only. But that sounds just right and fitting with her reputation as a wilful transgressor of genres, conspiratorial wink and all.

The first three tales are interconnected. In the first, "Alphinland", Constance, whom we discover is a former muse of an aspiring poet, Gavin, in the following tale `Revenant', is a successful pulp fantasy author, and her storyworld Alpinland, contains more than just her characters. `Revenant' tells us more of her backstory with Gavin, while a character Jorrie from their shared past, tells her version in "Dark Lady". The following pieces delve into the realm of folklore ("Lusus Naturae") and psychological thrillers with a twist ("The Freeze-Dried Groom" and "Stone Mattress"), a return of characters from an earlier novel "The Robber Bride" ("I Dream of Zenia with the Bright Red Teeth") and an dystopian tale set in an old folks' home ("Torching the Dusties").

Atwood's (by now) signature `fiction-within-fiction' story structures and interest in genre fiction, most distinctly seen in her Booker winner "The Blind Assassin", is featured here not just in "Alphinland", but also in "The Dead Hand Loves You", where a tardy would-be-writer is pressured into finishing his novel by his housemates to pay his part of the rent, and enters into a hasty contract, which comes back to haunt him with surprising results in his later years.

In all these pieces, Atwood addresses the foibles of human nature and their monstrous behaviour head on. However, it is not the obvious monsters that she finds objectionable, but the victimisation that forces them to assume these roles that she pays attention to. As the female protagonist in "Lusus Naturae" says, "when demons are required someone will always be found to supply the part, and whether you step forward or are pushed is all the same in the end."

Delicious in every way.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just stunning, 6 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Stone Mattress: Nine Tales (Kindle Edition)
I give five stars reluctantly. Four stars means "this is a very good book and I recommend it" whereas five stars means "this is superlative--an exceptional, out of the ordinary book and a must-read." I cannot deny that fifth star to Stone Mattress. Margaret Attwood is a fine writer--we know that. There are many fine writers. What marks her out is her ability to write excellent books without writing what is effectively the same book over and over again. I sometimes wonder just what sort of person could possibly come up with these ideas, but I cannot hide my admiration for a writer who combines such a vivid imagination with quite brilliant execution. I know that not everyone likes the short story form; if you like short stories, you owe it to yourself to read this stunning collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wickedly delightful, 7 Nov 2014
This was given to me as a present. The stories are Margaret Attwood at her best. The short stories are brilliant, original, darkly humorous and perfectly crafted. The use of language is literary, lyrical and poetical. It is never dull. Her writing can be savoured like a good wine. Wickedly delightful.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre, plausible and wonderful, 1 Sep 2014
By 
E. Harley (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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A simply wonderful collection of tales. Atwood has a gift for creating bizarre scenarios that seem completely plausible - case in point 'Torching the Dusties', the last tale in the collection and my personal favourite - all the while guiding you through each turn of events with a lovely wry humour.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another fine mix from the master of the short story!, 20 Nov 2014
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Atwood never lets you down! A great mix of stories and themes, I especially like the way she gives you alternate perspectives across a number of tales as she did in Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood and Maddadam.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 11 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Stone Mattress: Nine Tales (Kindle Edition)
It was great to read a work by Margaret Atwood. Clever, sharp and engaging selection of short stories. Excellent read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 15 Nov 2014
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This book is absolutely brilliant. I'm a big Atwood fan and this new offering more than lives up to expectations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection of short stores, 6 Nov 2014
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Just started reading this book. Great collection of short stores, Atwood never fails to impress me!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stone Mattress!, 18 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Stone Mattress: Nine Tales (Kindle Edition)
Loved this book and if you're a fan of Atwood or excellent writing you will too! Read this to day
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 22 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Stone Mattress: Nine Tales (Kindle Edition)
These stories are really engaging. Her story telling is, as always, spot on.
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Stone Mattress: Nine Tales by Margaret Atwood
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