Any book by Margaret Atwood is worth the trouble, and Lady Oracle is no exception. Somewhat uneven and not as highly polished as, for example, The Handmaid's Tale, this tale of a woman who repeatedly reinvents herself -- from morbidly obese teenager, to young drifter, to closeted writer, to wife, to mistress, to celebrity, to fugitive -- leaving a trail of lies and confusion in her wake, is funny, poignant, lyrical and at times as frustrating as its imaginative but overly passive heroine who refuses to take responsibility for her actions right down to the bittersweet and ironic end.
Strange book, somewhat disjointed, and a bit dated in one of the plotlines (especially in these security conscious days).
Good book, but not what I was expecting from Atwood after HANDMAIDS TALE. Interesting with vibrant characters, I recommend it!
I am a great admirer of Margaret Atwood's writing. This story is one of her best!
Lady Oracle is an earlier work by Atwood, and one I have struggled to come to an opinion about.
On the plus side, Atwood's writing is generally quite good, and her characters are very alive. Her heroine has history in a way most people can't remember about themselves, and Atwood writes it lovingly.
On the minus side, though, all that history is just about all there is. She spends most of the book on back story, and then suddenly the pace picks up to tell about what is happening in the present. It comes across feeling disjoint as a result of those pacing issues. To me it was like the heroine now and the heroine in the past were two entirely different people.
Finally, the biggest issue for me is that almost nothing happens. Yes, the heroine does fake her own death don't worry, that's on the back cover, and not a spoiler but that's about the only actual event that takes place. The rest is all interior monologue and a few conversations.
To be clear, it's not that I only like books in which things are blown up, but I sadly conclude that Lady Oracle goes too far into the realm where nothing ever happens for my taste. Lovers of Atwood or less action based stories might appreciate this one.
She is one of my favorite authors! Everything of hers that I have read is intriguing and thought-provoking. This book, from 1976, is no exception. I liked the story of this writer who couldn't identify with her characters, who lived so many different lives, that the only way to straighten everything out was to fake her own death. It felt original and new - and not just for a book that is over thirty years old. I really liked it - though I was a bit disappointed that she seemed to have "fallen in love" again by the end... but even that mild disappointment isn't enough to distract from how much I loved the book as a whole. This book did remind me a bit of a few others - like they had taken elements from this one, particularly in the body-image and the main characters' overweight childhood, such as Wally Lamb's _She's Come Undone_.
Very early Margaret Atwood. A good measure of how far she has come as an author.
The author of a popular semi-mystical book fakes her own death in order to disappear from a life too full of complications, only to discover she has been attempting to escape herself for her entire life.
Joan Foster is a secret writer of Gothic romances. When her outrageously feminist book, Lady Oracle, becomes a bestseller, everything in her life changes.
From the back of the book:
Joan Foster is a secret writer of Gothic romances. When her outrageously feminist book, Lady Oracle, becomes a bestseller, everything in her life changes. To escape her deteriorating marriage, her affair with an artist, and the ccriminal urges of a fan, Joan embarks on an act that is at once her own death and begins a new life.