I read this in a Women's Literature class. I would've enjoyed it less without the guidance of the class instructor, who inundated us with recent Canadian history and culture that better contextualized this story.
What most impressed me was the quiet tone and ordinary phrasing that almost masked the pain of the narrator. The prose just flows smoothly, but there are memories and deeper meanings enough to choke on occasionally.
Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite authors, and this book was just as well-written and evocative as any of her others. To an extent, however, given the themes of this book, it worked to its discredit. The protagonist is disconnected--both in a literal sense (going to an island in the Canadian wilds where the closest town is majority French-Canadian leaving her at a loss for most communication when she *does* go in) and emotionally (not making ties with those around her).
And given that it was a first person narrative and the themes of this disconnect were SO well-done, I really found I didn't care. It was easy to put the book aside and just stop forgetting about this woman who so effectively separated herself from so many others.
It was important and thought provoking, but I didn't like it.
Margaret Atwood has millions of fans the world over. But it's true that she is a writer of a certain type. She is one of the most intelligent and talented writers of the twentieth century. Her books require thought, they cannot simply be forced upon a person. At the same time I have to say that this is a compelling tale that you will not be able to set aside, even for a good night's sleep.
I enjoyed this book by Atwood a lot more than The Handmaid's Tale. The characters seemed very realistic to me and the plot had a lot of depth and leaves a lot for reflection. It also covered issues of environmental, political and national. I found it very entertaining but also very complex at the same time. I would classify it as a must read.
This was not one of her best. I couldn't relate to or like any of the characters and thought it to be rather disjointed. I was looking for one of her books to present to my book club but wouldn't recommend although many of our members were "there" during this period of time.
This is a psychological thriller about a woman seraching for the meaning, love and creativity. There were several stories intermingled which made the book a bit confusing. I didn't feel like the book flowed as well as Atwood books usually do.