Stone Mattress: Nine Wicked Tales
A recently widowed fantasy writer is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband. An elderly lady with Charles Bonnet syndrome comes to terms with the little people she keeps seeing, while a newly formed populist group gathers to burn down her retirement residence. A woman born with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire, and a crime committed long ago is revenged in the Arctic via a 1.9 billion-year-old stromatalite. In these nine tales, Margaret Atwood ventures into the shadowland earlier explored by fabulists and concoctors of dark yarns such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Daphne du Maurier and Arthur Conan Doyle - and also by herself, in her award-winning novel Alias Grace. In Stone Mattress, Margaret Atwood is at the top of her darkly humorous and seriously playful game.
Dark and witty tales from the gleefully inventive Margaret Atwood . Witty verve, imaginative inventiveness and verbal sizzle vivify every page -- Peter Kemp Sunday Times Atwood illuminates heavy themes with a lightness of touch, giving insight not only into the nature of stone but the trials and tribulations of flesh and blood -- Anita Sethi Observer This collection of short stories is charged with a delightful cheekiness . Atwood has characters here close to death, dead already, unwittingly doomed or - in one memorable case - freeze-dried; but her own curiosity, enthusiasm and sheer storytelling panache remain alive and kicking. Anyone keen to consign literary fiction to an early grave will have to deal with her first Independent Realism and ridiculousness, play and deadly seriousness, are held in fine balance throughout. This long view throughout the collection is entirely unsparing, both of the vanished past and the vanishing present, but Atwood's prose is so sharp and sly that the effect is bracing rather than bleak Guardian Atwood is as puckish as ever with these 'nine wicked tales' ... 'Lusus Naturae' is a deliciously gothic treat in which the language is so rich you could lick it and 'The Freeze-Dried Groom' is a spine-tingling mini-thriller -- Marcus Field Independent
Margaret Atwood is the author of more than forty works, including fiction, poetry and critical essays, and her books have been published in over thirty-five countries. She has won many literary awards and prizes.