I am definitely not a good reader of blurbs, I don’t know how but I managed to miss the fact that this is a collection of short stories, or tales, as Atwood calls them. What is more I didn’t realize it until I got to the fourth one as the first three are interconnected, so I thought they are chapters rather than separate stories. It’s not saying much for my powers of observation…
For a person that really does not like short stories much I tend to be quite lucky with the collections I come across from time to time. It was no different this time. I will not go through every single story, I’ll just say read them if you have a chance, they are good fun to read and feel like they were good fun to write. Mostly the stories focus on people past their prime, if you will, looking at their past. Some with sentiment, some with regret, some looking for the key event that formed them as people, that decided their life. Some stories are very realistic, other have quirky characters in them (my favorite by far are Jorrie and Tin from Dark Lady), we have a revenge story (which Atwood started telling her companions on an Arctic cruise), there is also a vampire story with a twist. They are mostly stories about loss, but they are not gloomy or sad, however they can be a tad dark. Atwood juggles genres and styles expertly and yet the collection feels consistent, underlying pattern can certainly be found. Writing as always is exquisite and it reads like a charm.
It had me laughing out loud, wondering at the power of imagination and thinking if I’ll manage to stay in such good spirits when I’m older. Overall a lovely summer reading with few quirks and twists thrown in and some food for thought.
It’s not a long review, I know, but my other option would be to go through every single story and I really want to leave the fun to you.
Do you like short stories? Or do you prefer novels? What is your favorite short stories collection?
Quotes from Stone Mattress