Margaret attwood

(114 Posts)
marissab Thu 25-Apr-13 17:54:09

I adore handmaids tale. I love the futuristic 1984-ish bleak future themes. Are her other books along the same themes? I don't know whether they'll live up to HMT.

mum2jakie Thu 25-Apr-13 17:57:32

None are quite as good as HMT in my opinion but Oryx and Crake is a similar dystopian book which you should enjoy or After the flood - again on similar lines.

Much of her early work is completely different to HMT.

MrsKwazii Thu 25-Apr-13 18:01:45

I love the HMT too, and agree with Mum2 that her others are very different. Oryx and Crake and After the Flood are companion books - characters and events are reflected in each. Best to read O&C first then ATF, they are good.

I also like her short story collections - Wilderness Tips and Blubeard's Egg are very good and would give you a flavour of whether you'd like her other non sci-fi novels. There's always a bleakness of character and situation through all of her work I find, cheery stuff wink

KittenofDoom Thu 25-Apr-13 19:30:48

I enjoyed The Handmaid's Tale, but couldn't get into Oryx and Crake at all and abandoned it without much hesitation.

Loved After The Flood, which I read after Handmaid's Tale.

Didn't get on with Oryx & Crake though. Not read any others yet but definitely recommend ATF. Stayed with me a long time after reading smile

FringeEvent Thu 25-Apr-13 19:41:52

Oooh, I'm reading The Handmaid's Tale at the moment! And absolutely loving it, it's the most gripping book I've read in ages. Fantastic writing style, it's so poetic. Watching this thread closely for further recommendations...

BrienneOfTarth Thu 25-Apr-13 19:42:45

"Alias Grace" is very good. A chilling twist at the end, very well written.

AnyFucker Thu 25-Apr-13 19:47:17

My favourite author smile

Try "Cat's Eye" too

SanityClause Thu 25-Apr-13 19:49:32

Also The Robber Bride.

But The Handmaid's Tale is my favourite, as well.

JimbosJetSet Thu 25-Apr-13 19:52:21

I love Margaret Attwood. 'The Blind Assassin' is my favourite book of all time I think. I also recommend 'Alias Grace.' Enjoy!

SerenaJoy Thu 25-Apr-13 19:56:08

Handmaid's Tale is one of my favourite books, I re-read it on a regular basis blush

Also love Alias Grace and Cat's Eye. I need to read them again too!

AnyFucker Thu 25-Apr-13 19:58:21

Would it be too boastful to say here that Margaret Atwood once re-tweeted me ?

Oops, too late wink

I really liked HMT and agree that none of her others are anywhere near as good. 'Alias Grace' is good apart from the last couple of chapters, which are silly imho. O&C I disliked intensely, though I quite liked After The Flood.

I gave up on, 'Cat's Eye' because I was really irritated by the characters and gave up on, 'The Blind Assassin' three times because I just can't get into it.

Wonders if I am too insignificant to be next to AnyFucker in this thread. smile

AnyFucker Thu 25-Apr-13 20:02:27

You may post next to me, Remus wink

< seriously was one of the highlights of my online life >

Meringue33 Thu 25-Apr-13 20:03:30

Love them all. Oryx and Crake may be my all time favourite sci fi book

The highlight of mine was Gordon Brown replying to my question on here!

AnyFucker Thu 25-Apr-13 20:04:37

Was it about biscuits, Remus ?

A claim to fame is a claim to fame don't knock it smile

SerenaJoy Thu 25-Apr-13 20:08:27

[jealous of AnyFucker]

I met her at a book signing once, she is amazing. I had to stop myself from clinging to her skirts and begging her to adopt me.

AnyFucker Thu 25-Apr-13 20:10:11

I would do that, Serena, seriously I would. I go into stoopid Hero Worship mode at the mention of her name. The talent of her !

steben Thu 25-Apr-13 20:12:06

I bloody love MA - and really rate both oryx and crake and year of the flood - the final part of the trilogy is out in sept and I am beside myself with anticipation!

Nope, I don't think I'd dribble over Mags. I probably WOULD lose all control in the presence of Germaine Greer though, because I think she is gorgeous.

SerenaJoy Thu 25-Apr-13 20:16:06

Me too AF. It's sort of depressing in a way - I used to harbour aspirations of writing something myself, but reading MA makes me realise how thick I actually am, and how much of a genius she is! grin and sad

chibi Thu 25-Apr-13 20:17:43

my husband knocked her over in london once (by accident) in a church

she was v graceful about it

ThePathanKhansAmnesiac Thu 25-Apr-13 20:17:55

Yes I love her too. The Blind Assassin made me weep, just brilliant,Remus please, please try again, you will just love it.

chibi Thu 25-Apr-13 20:18:31

she is my hands down favourite author

Bunbaker Thu 25-Apr-13 20:20:27

I have tried really hard to like her books but have found them rather depressing.

JoyceDivision Thu 25-Apr-13 20:22:02

I love alias grace! HMT tho, chilling!

Angela Carter isvery good. i read The Magic Toyshop for my 6th form english and absolutely loved it.

I think my biggest problem with her is that she lets her seeming disliking of men get in the way of her stories, so the point becomes more important to her than the telling of a decent story. I felt this particularly strongly in, 'Alias Grace' iirc.

marissab Thu 25-Apr-13 20:24:36

Oh i prefer depressing so it's looking good that she's gonna be top of my list. I am definately gonna read some of her others now. Infact if she's so great, i'm embarressed i've not read more before now blush HMT is in my top 5 best books ever. Right up there with 1984 and better than brave new world. Love love love it.

kneedeepindaisies Thu 25-Apr-13 20:26:01

Another recommendation for Alias Grace. I've lost my copy but this thread has prompted me to buy it again.

Bunbaker Thu 25-Apr-13 20:26:36

I agree Remus

BaconAndAvocado Thu 25-Apr-13 20:37:32

Cat's Eye is my fave of MA's. The way she depicts bullying is compelling.

Handmaid's Tale is my fave sci-di novel.

AnyFucker Thu 25-Apr-13 21:00:57

Remus you have it wrong

She is a critiquer du royale of men, but i don't think she "dislikes" them

if she makes you feel a bit uncomfortable, then she is doing something right, you see smile

AnyFucker Thu 25-Apr-13 21:03:15

Bun The Handmaid's Tale is depressing.

But Margaret Atwood foresaw the way women would become the "sex class" in her novel, and there are many parallels in today's society

And yes, it is uncomfortable to comprehend. It doesn't make it any less relevant, or any less so fucking clever though

She doesn't make me feel uncomfortable at all though - she just annoys me a bit.

AnyFucker Thu 25-Apr-13 21:05:17

Why ? Because she nails it so smoothly, elegantly and efficiently ?

Yes, that can be annoying, I guess.

Lazyjaney Thu 25-Apr-13 21:13:04

Love The Penelopiad - looks at Penelope's life maintaining a kingdom while Odysseus was away. Short book too, double bonus.

Nope - you won't convince me. At her best (ie HMT) I think she is sublime - I just don't think she is always at her best.

AnyFucker Thu 25-Apr-13 21:29:56

You are entitled to your opinion smile

CoteDAzur Thu 25-Apr-13 21:43:46

Ian McEwan annoys Remus, too. Maybe I should read some Margaret Attwood wink

CoteDAzur Thu 25-Apr-13 21:44:36

Oh and what does "critiquer du royale" mean? grin

AnyFucker Thu 25-Apr-13 21:46:10

I made it up, cote

You have a problem with that ? grin

CoteDAzur Thu 25-Apr-13 21:53:26

No problem, just funny grin

AnyFucker Thu 25-Apr-13 21:56:26


Have you not read The Handmaid's Tale, Cote? I think you'd like it.

MrsHoarder Thu 25-Apr-13 22:02:01

I do like The Penelopiad. Think its my favourite (although my first was HMT of course). Cats Eyes made the most uncomfortable reading for me.

CoteDAzur Thu 25-Apr-13 22:03:10

DH makes up phrases like that, and he has been living here for 10 years. Your "critiquer" illustrates one of funnier mistakes: In French, -er at the end of a verb makes it infinitive. Aller (to go), manger (to eat), critiqued (to critique).

You should see waiters cringe as he tries to order something from the menu grin

AnyFucker Thu 25-Apr-13 22:05:04

Oh dear smile blush

CoteDAzur Thu 25-Apr-13 22:05:46

No, I haven't read HMT. I read a bit about it and thought I wouldn't like it. I generally don't like books written by women, and among those hold a special distrust for the ones about feminist issues.

Do you really think I would like it?

CoteDAzur Thu 25-Apr-13 22:06:41

Argh, critiquer = to critique, obviously.

madammoose Thu 25-Apr-13 22:06:56

I really enjoyed A Handmaid's Tale & just read Surfacing on holiday which was also good. It wasn't long so I even got to read a second book. We were only away for a week, so I was delerious with happiness - reading is the biggest activity I have missed since having my son in 2010.

I liked it - and (other than the lovely Jane) I tend not to like books by women much either (increasingly so as I get older and fussier/crabbier).

madammoose Thu 25-Apr-13 22:07:31

* delirious

It's quite spare and doesn't waffle on in the way that I think some of her others do.

CoteDAzur Thu 25-Apr-13 22:08:23

Don't worry, AF. I bet you wouldn't pronounce Y as "epsilon" in a French sentence, so you are already much better than DH grin

AnyFucker Thu 25-Apr-13 22:09:11

What a strange pronouncement, to "not like books by women"

Why ever not ?

janx Thu 25-Apr-13 22:10:31

She's my mum

HalfSpamHalfBrisket Thu 25-Apr-13 22:12:16

steben Oh! I didn't know Oryx & Crake/After The Flood was going to be a trilogy. V Excited now! I bloody love Margaret Atwood. <Joins Atwood Hero Worship Quiche>

SorrelForbes Thu 25-Apr-13 22:12:18

She's one of the few authors whose books I re-read frequently. HMT, Alias Grace, O&C and The Penelopiad are amongst her best IMHO. Cats Eyes really affected me. I wept.

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 25-Apr-13 22:14:01

I like all of MA's books but as I get older find them a bit naive. Much prefer Rose Tremain

Because I am fed up of women either overwriting and trying to be all 'poetic' on the whole. Maybe I've chosen the wrong women in recent years.

AnyFucker Thu 25-Apr-13 22:17:59

If you are basing your assessment of recent female "authors" on that person that "wrote" 50SOG then I might agree with you, Remus

smile I read one paragraph. It was more than enough.

Love Margaret Attwood although I struggled with Oryx & Crake. Favourites are Robber Bride, Blind Assassin & Edible Woman as I really related to the main character & always hoped for a 'Duncan' to save me (never happened & I had up do it myself).

Might give Oryx & Crake another go, I didn't know it was part of a trilogy.

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 25-Apr-13 22:22:51

I dislike a lot of male authors in particular Ian McEwan who although is a good writer seems to have a very 'male' pov and is also obsessed with sex!

CoteDAzur Thu 25-Apr-13 22:23:37

AF - Because books by women authors tend to focus on feminine issues, bickering between women, and feeeeelings all of which I find profoundly uninteresting on every level.

I just checked my Kindle account now - Out of 37 books I have read last year, only 6 were written by women and I loved 2: Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and Jill Bolte Taylor's My Stroke Of Insight, which is a brain scientist's auto-biographical account of her stroke and subsequent years of recovery.

If you want obsessed with sex, try Pat Barker. 'Still Life' was beyond ridiculous.

AnyFucker Thu 25-Apr-13 22:24:50

Actually, looking back many years, I think I had to have more than one jump at Oryx and Crake to get into it smile

Since then, I have had several

lottieandmia Thu 25-Apr-13 22:25:57

I love Margaret Atwood. IMHO, The Hanmaid's Tale is surpassed by Cat's Eye and The Robber Bride.

KittenofDoom Thu 25-Apr-13 22:26:18

I just have to say that I hate the use of 'critique' as a verb. A critic criticises {something} and the resulting criticisms, taken together, form a critique.

There, now I've got that off my chest.

CoteDAzur Thu 25-Apr-13 22:28:17

If Ian McEwan is "obsessed with sex", what does that make Henry Miller and Charles Bukowski?

AnyFucker Thu 25-Apr-13 22:28:36

kitten, it was a light-hearted, tongue in cheek comment


CoteDAzur Thu 25-Apr-13 22:30:49

Kitten - A critique can be positive, in which case it is not a criticism.

So, you can't really say "A critique criticises something".

KittenofDoom Thu 25-Apr-13 22:32:03

What was? I just hate "critique" used as a verb, it's such an X Factor sort of word. grin

CoteDAzur Thu 25-Apr-13 22:33:17

And AF wasn't even using it as a verb. She was using the word "critiquer" as "someone who criticises", although that word in French would be.....

A critique grin

Literary criticism doesn't demand negativity though.

AnyFucker Thu 25-Apr-13 22:34:32

I think I shall throw some pies at you all now

CoteDAzur Thu 25-Apr-13 22:34:46

I didn't say it does.

Unless it's you talking about Ian McEwan or Cloud Atlas wink

CoteDAzur Thu 25-Apr-13 22:35:02

AF grin

KittenofDoom Thu 25-Apr-13 22:35:22

Criticism doesn't have to be negative. In its broadest sense, it is no different from a review. Literary critics, theatre critics, they have good things to say as well as bad.

KittenofDoom Thu 25-Apr-13 22:37:04

Look, it was just a general comment, it wasn't aimed at anyone in particular. flowers Language moves on, and the meanings of words change. I just don't like this particular usage that has crept in.

Catmint Thu 25-Apr-13 22:38:07

Anything by MA is well worth a read. I did struggle a bit with The Penelopeiad. Sorry have no idea how to spell that.

AnyFucker Thu 25-Apr-13 22:39:15

My only criticism (in the non wanky version of the word) of Margaret Atwood is that she hasn't written enough novels

CoteDAzur Thu 25-Apr-13 22:44:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CoteDAzur Thu 25-Apr-13 22:48:14

And that is my lesson of the evening to you native speakers grin

Now... Would you say Margaret Attwood's writing style is similar to another better known sci-fi author?

seeker Thu 25-Apr-13 22:50:01

Isn't it odd how if somebody doesn't like a book written by a woman they "don't like books written by women". But if they don't like a book written by a man they don't like that book. Or even that author. They never say "I don't like books written by men"!

CoteDAzur Thu 25-Apr-13 22:51:03

Isn't that just what funnys said on this thread?

KittenofDoom Thu 25-Apr-13 22:59:06

Fanx, but I'll stick with the Oxford English Dictionary.

CoteDAzur Thu 25-Apr-13 23:14:06

Actually, I've asked for that post to be deleted because I realised later that I misread yours as A critique doesn't have to be negative.

SanityClause Fri 26-Apr-13 06:44:13

I liked The Penelopeaiad because it's a really tongue in cheek comment on how history and culture are so male centred and mysoginistic.

I mean, poor old Penelope. She's beset by all those bloody suitors. She's not interested in any of them, shes got no way of getting rid of them, and yet she's regarded with suspicion because she let them hang around.

But everyone is so impressed with Odysseus's "bravery" over the wicked sirens. FFS!

Weegiemum Fri 26-Apr-13 06:57:46

Love Margaret Atwood! Oryx & Crake is possibly my favourite dystopia ever (and I love dystopias).

Realised on looking at the (constant) pile of books on my bedside table that they're almost all by women!

HMT is there, one by Ursula LeGuin (my all time favourite author), in fact 2 by her, a JK Rowling (prisoner of Azkaban), a great book about the Lighthouse Stevenson family, and one by Julian May - who is female.

I didn't know Julian May was female. I loved the start of the Many Coloured Land but never managed to finish the series, this has reminded me about it, must see if I can find the books.

Gerrof Fri 26-Apr-13 10:33:01

I have never read any Margaret Atwood (I don't know why) but because of this thread have downloaded the Penelopeiad and am devouring it, so thank you.

I will download a few more later.

I agree with kitten on the hatred of the word critique, it seems like such a gary Barlow word to misuse.

FunnysInLaJardin Fri 26-Apr-13 16:07:26

Cote you are right, that is exactly what I said grin

FunnysInLaJardin Fri 26-Apr-13 16:11:03

oh and another man obsessed by sex is Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I am half way through Love in the Time of Cholera and tbh I am soooo bored with all the shagging. I say half way, I stopped reading it after last years summers holiday and haven't picked up another book since...........

CoteDAzur Fri 26-Apr-13 16:42:25

Robert Heinlein is another author obsessed with sex. In Time Enough For Love, women who pass through Lazarus Long's bed include but are not restricted to:
- his adopted daughter Dora
- his twin girl-clones (don't ask!) Lapis Lazuli and Lorelei Lee
- a computer called Minerva who then becomes a flesh & blood woman
- his own mother called Maureen, to fetch whom as a young woman he travels back in time (again, just don't ask grin)

I didn't even have to look up the names of these characters. That's how badly it's burnt in my memory.

Heinlein is weirdly obsessed. Stranger In A Strange Land is bonkers once the shagging starts.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 26-Apr-13 19:16:32

Remus, I loved Alias Grace until the ending.

I think Cat's Eye is my favourite.

I must be missing something...what was the twist at the end of Alias Grace? PM me if you don't want to give it away on here, but I don't remember a twist at all.

CoteDAzur Fri 26-Apr-13 19:35:21

Trust me, Remus, Stranger In A Strange Land had nothing but a bit of free sex. Some of his later books are totally obsessed.

Time Enough For Love, I already mentioned.

I Will Fear No Evil was pretty out there, too. Iirc, it was about an old man who dies of old age but is somehow put into the body of a young attractive woman (details are a bit hazy) who then starts shagging everyone, starting with her (his?) driver and bodyguards. It has some worrying content like this man-in-a-woman's body chimera curling into various men's laps and saying she deserves a spanking hmm before more sex, some of it with multiple partners.

seeker Fri 26-Apr-13 19:43:21

I think Heinlein went a bit doolally in his later books.

Stranger in a Strange Land and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress are wonderful- but Friday and its ilk are ghastly. So is a Time Enough For Love- can't remember whether that's a later one or not.

smile Stranger IAST is the only one of his I've read.

marissab Sat 27-Apr-13 09:55:06

Well i just have to say this is the longest thread i ever started! But it has inspired me to look again at Attwood and i'll be definately giving her another go. I'll be surprised if i can beat HMT but you never know. How i love that book!

CoteDAzur Sat 27-Apr-13 10:09:46

My Heinlein period was late teens, so can't say what I would think of his books now, but I loved SIASL, Time Enough For Love, and Friday. Even then I do remember thinking that he is a bit too far gone when I read To Sail Beyond The Sunset, I Will Fear No Evil etc.

Maybe he was impotent in his later years, hence the obsession with everyone having sex with everyone. Who knows what he would have written if he could get a few little blue pills? smile

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 27-Apr-13 10:25:14

Which one are you picking Marisa?

Thanks Cote. They only had Stranger IAST in the library today, but I did get, 'Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep' and, 'The Invisible Man' - am amazed I've never read these.

EleanorFarjeon Sat 27-Apr-13 18:38:56

I love Margaret Atwood. I remember reading The Handmaid's Tale when I was about 16 and it blew me away.

Alias Grace is another favourite.

CoteDAzur Sat 27-Apr-13 19:09:32

I added The Handmaid's Tale to my Kindle "wish list", after all these glowing recommendations. I'm quite curious, actually - I would love to discover a new sci-fi author I like.

CoteDAzur Sat 27-Apr-13 19:21:04

Remus - I liked DADOES. Philip K Dick has written many books - one of the benefits of writing under the influence of amphetamines was that he wrote fast, apparently) but I can't think of any that I didn't really like. Some I thought were brilliant, and the rest surprisingly good, considering that he has written all this sci-fi back when there was no such thing as a PC or even a mobile phone.

My favourite Philip K Dick books are:
Martian Time Slip - Complete mind-bender. It gave me an exquisite headache as I tried to keep up with the story.
A Scanner Darkly - Not sci-fi, really, and quite different than the rest of his work. Dark and brilliant. The film was truly awful, though.

His books of short stories are also worth reading. Films such as Minority Report, Total Recall, Impostor, and Paycheck were based on his short stories and all feature Dick's trademark "Am I really here? Is this real?" kind of scenarios.

Cheers, Cote. Will let you know how I get on with it, once I've finished my latest Wilkie Collins (I LOVE that man!).

aoife24 Sun 28-Apr-13 20:37:21

I loved the Blind Assassin. i took it on holiday with me a few years ago and couldn't put it down. It was beautiful, heartbreaking and quite haunting.

fromparistoberlin Wed 01-May-13 22:08:12

I loved the robber bride, I was alot younger when I read it
also loved alias grace (maybe love not the word for such a tale..)

I have to earth out some more

bimblebee Thu 02-May-13 15:24:33

Alias Grace and Oryx and Crake were both very good. I started After The Flood about 6 months ago then put to one side to read something else for a while but never really got back into it. I have The Blind Assassin on my shelf waiting for a suitable moment - will hopefully give it a go soon.

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