Sunday, April 14, 2019

Book Review: Bluebeard's Egg by Margaret Atwood (short story collection)

photo by ldyck

Buy this Book

Bluebeard's Egg is an ideal book club read. There's plenty of fuel for literary discussion, lots of symbolism, lots of hidden meaning.

Author Margaret Atwood dedicated this collection to her parents and four of the twelve stories appear to be about them (Significant Moments in the Life of My Mother, Hurricane Hazel, Betty, and Unearthing Suite)--to a greater or lesser degree. All twelve stories in the collection focus on the relationship between women and men--our differences and, reading more carefully, our similarities.

A question to guide your club's discussion:  As viewed through the lens of this collection, what does it mean to be female--for ourselves, our sisters, and our mothers?
Maybe [the egg is] a symbol of virginity, and that is why the wizard requires it unbloodied. Women with dirty eggs get murdered, those with clean ones get married. (p. 159)
McClelland and Stewart published this collection in 1983 (during that same year Coach House Press published Atwood's short story collection Murder in the Dark and Salamander Press published her poetry collection Snake Poems) and, 36 years later, these stories are still relevant.


Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood
published by McClelland & Stewart (2014)

Buy the book
In this nine story collection, the grand dame of Canadian literature writes for her age cohorts. I was delighted to discover that many of the stories were written about writing. In Alphinland, an aging author finds comfort from her lonely reality in the world she created. In Revenant, a senior poet dies but lives on in his work. In Dark Lady, the poet's female muse deals with his death. In The Dead Hand Loves You, an elder horror author confronts the toll his fame has taken on his relationship with three-decades-old friendships. Torching the Duties is a horror story set in a manor house for the elderly. In Stone Mattress an elderly woman finally takes revenge on the man who sexually assaulted her. Lusus Naturne and The Freeze-Dried Groom don't feature senior protagonists. Both fit into the horror genre.

I closed the book with increased respect and passion for short stories.

Book Review:  The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood

Book Review: The Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood

Atwood was first published in 1961--Double Persephone (a poetry collection)--by Hawkshead Press (a small press)--when she was 22 years old. In total, she's published 71 books--including (20) novels, (8) short story collections, (8) books for children, (24) poetry collections, (10) non-fiction books and a graphic novel. And she has written for television, radio and stage. And she has...

Margaret Atwood's full bibliography

And she's not done yet...

Margaret Atwood is currently working on a sequel to A Handmaid's Tale.

Atwood has won the Governor General award and the Man Booker Prize and...

Special Award Spotlight:  Margaret Atwood

photo by ldyck

Next Post...

Sunday, April 21 at approximately 5 PM PST

Something for Everyone (short story collection) by Lisa Moore

longlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize
stories uniting theme:  Newfoundland