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The Robber Bride Paperback – 13 Oct 1994

4.1 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Virago; Reprint edition (13 Oct. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853817228
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853817229
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 3.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


It stirs depths that CAT'S EYE did not reach, and grants deeper, stronger powers to women's friendship in distress (Marina Warner)

Margaret Atwood's new novel is a fairy tale of malicious simplicity. Fay Weldon's SHE-DEVIL meets John Updike's WITCHES OF EASTWICK...Vividly written, acutely observed and very likely the most intelligently tongue in cheek novel of the year. (Salman Rushdie, INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

Excitements, wit and insight sizzle across the pages. Atwood's survey of impulses that bedevil life seethes with imagination, inventiveness and intelligence. Even she has never written better than in this novel of glittering breadth and dark, eerie depths. (SUNDAY TIMES)

The virtuosity with which Margaret Atwood's prose moves between rage and wit, poignancy and suspense, fantasy and realism makesTHE ROBBER BRIDE a stimulating read. THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH


'Moving amid these three women, touching up their portraits with one perfect detail after another, conjuring Zenia from their memories and tears, Atwood is in her glory. What a treasure she is, and what a fine new book she has written.' (Newsweek)

'A provocative version of the war between the sexes; entertaining, imaginative and suspenseful, it finds Atwood in rare form.' (Publishers Weekly) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
'The Robber Bride' is the story of three women and their friend, Zenia, who uses them to her advantage.

This is the second time reading 'The Robber Bride' and I enjoyed it more than I did the first time I read it (but I think I gave it the same rating).

What can I say about Zenia? Love her or hate her, she makes an impression, how she manages to become part of Tony, Charis & Roz's lives is nothing short of remarkable, she sees their weakness, use it against them then destroyed their lives by having affairs with the three women's significant others, as Zenia admits herself, she shown them how weak willed their men are, whilst using the women's fears against them.

As always Margaret Atwood writes vivid characters, characters who are easy to relate to which makes for more interesting reading. Tony, Charis and Roz are strong women and you learn about them from their backgrounds and they learn more by their experience with Zenia.

Zenia is a enigma, you never find out where she is from, is her name really Zenia? She tells so many stories, it's difficult to believe what is true. Zenia also makes Tony, Charis and Roz sees themselves for who they are, they all have the best of intentions helping Zenia, at the same time, they are human, they feel pleased that they have helped her, it doesn't make them bad people, its just that Zenia uses it as a weakness against them.

A memorable story which I will read again.
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Format: Kindle Edition
At first glance, this novel would appear to be about Zenia, an enigmatic woman, as told through the perspective of the three characters whom she victimizes and betrays. There’s Tony, the no-nonsense military historian, Charis, the otherworldly spiritual waif, and Roz, large of heart and body, who masks her insecurities beneath her loud voice and laughter, and corporate success.

As the story progresses, we discover that Zenia is a composite character conjured up by the three women because she embodies a different (if similarly malevolent) personality to each of them. Zenia betrays all three of them – she assumes sisterhood with these women, but instead steals from them, though her acts are seemingly unaccountable. When Charis wonders about a pointless bloody act, besides possibly stealing her lover Billy away from her, Tony says: “Because she’s Zenia…. Don’t fret about motives. Attila the Hun didn’t have motives. He just had appetites. She killed them. It speaks for itself”.

Tony’s assessment of Zenia is not unwarranted. Her husband West,an ex-boyfriend of Zenia, was also wrested from her, and she concludes that “Zenia likes challenges. She likes breaking and entering, she likes taking things that aren’t hers. Billy, like West, was just target practice. She probably has a row of men’s dicks nailed to her wall, like stuffed animal heads.”

While it seems that Zenia has a predatory and parasitic relationship with the three of them, in reality, the nature of it is more symbiotic. It is Zenia who binds them together against her. But what is more complex is that they need Zenia in order to define themselves.
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By Alison TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 22 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
The Robber Bride is a story of the connections and relationships between three women (Tony, Charis and Roz) and Zenia, a femme fatale character. Zenia's sole interest in befriending each of the three women seems to be to take whatever she can. Each of the characters has a very different relationship with Zenia, although all are similarly destructive. The stories that Zenia tells about who she is, what she has been doing and what she is currently doing is different with each of the women.

The backstories of Tony, Charis and Roz are detailed and take up the majority of words in The Robber Bride. While their characters are well explored the character of Zenia is somewhat of a mystery. Even the conclusion of the book is not well defined and has an air of mystery. Throughout the book, things are not really all that they appear to be in each of the women. How much is each of them responsible for the events that happened?

This is a book that requires some thinking about to really fully appreciate its messages that Atwood is conveying. While Tony, Charis and Roz appear to loathe Zenia but they are obviously strongly connected to her and even demonstrate loyalty to her. I think The Robber Bride would make an excellent book club choice as it would easily provoke a lot of discussion about the relationships between the four women.
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Format: Paperback
I have just re-read this, one of my very favourite contemporary novels, and consider it to be an extraordinary achievement.
Its major strength surely lies in the highly skilful interlocking of themes and narrative technique and structure. The lives of three different women, Toni, Charis and Roz, have been ransacked in various unsavoury ways by the baleful influence of the mysterious Zenia. The reader is given ample opportunity to see things from the points of view of three characters with highly contrasted personalities and attitudes to life in general, and as a result is gradually led to realise that, while all three women are in many ways likeable, none of them is perhaps one hundred per-cent trustworthy...
Many articles and reviews have set out to establish what "really" happens in this novel, who, if anyone, is "really" responsible for what happens in the end. This surely misses the point, which is that subjective interpretations of "reality" inevitably and by definition clash with and contradict one another. And, after all, perhaps Zenia, like the witches in "Macbeth", doesn't "really" exist as any more than a personification or metaphor of the neuroses, uncertainties and vulnerabilities of the other characters?
Margaret Atwood heaps up the images which correspond to the chaos and fragility of our inner lives, and alludes very deftly to the fact that so much of what we do and how we behave corresponds to largely anarchic impulses, rather than to rational, planned behaviour.
I haven't yet read "Oryx and Crake", but I put this firmly at the top of the list of Atwood's novels. Although it wasn't shortlisted - five of her others have been, including "Oryx and Crake" and "The Blind Assassin", which went on to win in 2000 - this, for me, is the one that really deserved the Booker.
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