Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Moral Disorder: Margaret Atwood

The Basics: Moral Disorder, Margaret Atwood, 2006, 225 pages, hard cover

How I found it: This is Margaret Atwood's latest work, so I read it as soon as I could get it from the library. If it's by Margaret Atwood and it's fiction, I am required to read it.

What's it about: This is the latest of Atwood's short story collections. All the stories in this book are about the same woman, similar to the way David Bezmozgis structured Natasha. The stories are sometimes told in the first person and sometimes in the third person and range in the period in which they take place. This is the life of one woman from early memories to old age and much in between (but not told in that order).

Did I like it?: Like much of Atwood's work, I loved it. I flew through this book in only a few days. As usual I found I related easily to the protagonist and was interested in her life and the lives of the people around her. Atwood's prose has not diminished as she ages either, and as expected, she is brilliant. The only small quibble I have is that Atwood draws on the same scenarios again and again - the scenario of her childhood: the summers spent in a backwoods cabin while her father studies insects, the often distant older brother, the feelings of isolation and not relating to the city children each fall. We can't rehash the plot points of Surfacing, etc. repeated, although with different characters. It gets a bit old. That's a minor point though - I can't think of anything else to complain about.

Will you like it?: As with some of Atwood's book, this one takes being a woman to fully understand it. It's fairly accessible to the casual reader - it has none of the poetic or academic devices found in some of her books. It is very straight forward, and well written. A good one for book clubs.

But don't take my word for it: The usual round-up from Amazon.ca (including one disgruntled reader review and what looks like a literary review of the audiobook version), one from the Guardian, one from the London Times, and one from the Washington Post.

1 comment:

  1. Wow -- there's a new Margaret Atwood and I missed it. They don't seem to be so into the Atwood over here.