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Stone Mattress: Nine Tales (2014)

af Margaret Atwood

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The award-winning author of The Handmaid's Tale presents a collection of short stories that features such protagonists as a widowed writer who is guided by her late husband's voice and a woman whose genetic abnormality causes her to be mistaken for a vampire.
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Engelsk (75)  Fransk (2)  Hollandsk (1)  Spansk (1)  Alle sprog (79)
Viser 1-5 af 79 (næste | vis alle)
Hard to rate collections of short stories. Some were awesome, some were great! She's a beautiful writer always. ( )
  Ermonty | Dec 19, 2022 |
Normally, in a collection of short stories, I consider them hit or miss; I find many of them fall flat for me. But this- by one of my favorite authors- is 100% hit. I loved every single one. They deal with aging and death, revenge and some small amount of fantasy.

The first three are intertwined tales, dealing with characters who all interacted in their youth, and how their lives have turned out. An aging poet, who finds that an interviewer is actually interested in his old girlfriend, who wrote fantasy books that he despised, but won incredible success. That woman is dealing with her late husband’s spirit. The other woman in the triangle the poet and the fantasist found themselves in returns, at a funeral.

Other tales include a man who buys at auction storage lockers and finds more than he wanted; another where an author has one best seller- most of the rights to which he signed away in return for his rent being paid. The title story is one of cold revenge. The last story I found disturbing- not because the blind protagonist has Charles Bonnet Syndrome and hallucinates little people around her; she’s fine with that. But rest homes around the world, including the one she lives in, are being assaulted by groups of young people who, upset with the mess the elderly have made of the world the young have to live in, are blockading the gates and preventing supplies from entering, then insisting all the staff leave- and are, finally, entering and killing the oldsters. I found this story so disturbing because I am well aware that us boomers are leaving the world in a sorry state, and that the younger generations hate us, even those of us who had little to do with the creation of said mess. I can easily see her story becoming reality. These are the most memorable of the stories, although they are all good, my favorites being the first three. ( )
  lauriebrown54 | Dec 4, 2022 |
Stone Mattress is a collection of short stories. I very much enjoyed the first three tales, which are interrelated. The others are quirky and dark with small doses of humor. Several read as fables or myths. Some are parodies. Themes include revenge, women’s issues, and aging. I love Margaret Atwood’s writing. She is smart, witty, and playful in her use of language. This is not my favorite of her books, but I found much to ponder.

( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
Nine must be a magic number when you are writing short stories. Salinger’s Nine Stories and now the nine in this collection by Margaret Atwood. What an unusual and eerie set they are, and how satisfying.

The first three stories are interwoven and together create almost a novella told from three points of view. Each of the main characters is an elderly person looking back at a three-way love affair, and what struck me most was that everyone sees life from their own perspective and we can often be very wrong about what actually happened. Perhaps the reason being that we can never look inside the other person, so we are stuck with guessing about what the other thinks. I had a boss once who constantly said, ASSUME makes an ASS of U and ME. Oddly, this story made me think of him and smile.

Atwood is not afraid to deal with age, death, or the nebulous nature of fame and fortune, nor does she shy away from greed, ignorance or things that go bump in the night. The fourth story, Lusus Naturae, is really quite sad and the fifth, The Freeze-Dried Groom is downright funny. I Dream of Zenia with the Bright Red Teeth was a bit of nostalgia for me, since it deals with characters first introduced in Atwood’s novel, The Robber Bride, but I think it might be a weaker story than the others if you had not read that book first.

An intriguing story was The Dead Hand Loves You. While most authors struggle to get one story down right in such a short venue, Atwood manages to have a story within a story here and it works perfectly. No sense of being short-shrifted.

In fact, one of the things most compelling about Atwood’s short fiction is that it feels 100% complete. I never felt, as I so often do with short stories, that the story needed to continue beyond its bounds and tell me more. Even the first three, Alphinland, Revenant, and Dark Lady, could stand alone without feeling truncated.

Perhaps my favorite is the title story, Stone Mattress. Revenge is a meal best served cold, and Verna, our lead character, has spent years coldly serving out revenge in compensation for a life ruined at fourteen. She is on a cruise to the arctic when she is confronted with the person who bears the responsibility for her ruined life, and she is presented a rare opportunity to truly even the score. Atwood handles this situation in ways in which Agatha Christie would have applauded.

The final selection, Torching the Dusties is a blood-chilling, because all too plausible, tale of old-age and the danger of a society that does not value it.

Each story is written in Margaret Atwood’s inimitable style and with her miraculous insight into what makes people tick. I read a blurb from a critic who called these stories “wicked” and they are indeed, but then to be wicked is to be human, is it not?



( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
The ninth tale, "Torching the Dusties," is my favorite. No one does dystopia better. ( )
  IVLeafClover | Jun 21, 2022 |
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The award-winning author of The Handmaid's Tale presents a collection of short stories that features such protagonists as a widowed writer who is guided by her late husband's voice and a woman whose genetic abnormality causes her to be mistaken for a vampire.

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