The Edible Woman – Margaret Atwood

This specific work I was particularly interested in sinking into, as Ms Atwood’s Blind Assassin has sat comfortably in my top three favourite reads of all time, (No.1 – The Alexandria Quartet, Lawrence Durrell; No.2 – London Fields, Martin Amis), since I had the pleasure of pawing through it, approximately 12 years ago.

Narrated by Marian, I found myself instantly trusting of her. She comes across as honest, stable and ordinary. Though, these three abstract nouns were all put to the test as the narration unfolds.

I shan’t provide you with an English degree standard critique of the tale as I can’t, though I shall say:-

I delighted in her relationships with others, such as the three office virgins; her pregnant (then not pregnant, as she has the baby during the tale) friend from college, Clara and husband Joe; her unusual attraction to Duncan; her ability to live with Ainsley; Duncan’s parents Trevor and Fischer; the lady down below and the child; Len, especially at the end – for seeking such pleasure with Arthur’s toys; and her dissatisfying (at least in my opinion), partnership with Peter.

Knowing prior to consuming, that it had been written in the mid-60s– as I did something that doesn’t come naturally – read the Introduction.  I was really surprised by the freedom, especially from parental control, both Ainsley and Marian experienced and enjoyed. I know they were both in their mid-20s and lived away from home, though I still found it something I was completely unfamiliar with. (Note to self: my thoughts were based purely on the evidence of one – my mother – so possibly put my sheltered amazement aside.)

As the tale progresses, I found myself a little unsure of the message -I guess this is because I can only manage to read stories on one level – though it was only momentary, especially as I came back to appreciating it with appetite, as the day of Peter’s party unfolds and he becomes increasingly more irritating (and unattractive), with his desire to take the best photographs and present the perfect image to his colleagues and himself.

From this point on, I couldn’t put it down as I was desperate to discover – what happened, so you’ll need to find out too.

Finally, though I’ve only read a few of Margaret Atwood’s other works:

  • Alias Grace 1996
  • Moral Disorder 2006
  • And the abovementioned Blind Assassin

I am confident in my thoughts towards her.

  • She is generously talented
  • Her characters are an absolute joy to meet (even if you don’t wish to pursue a relationship with them)
  • She writes impressively in a variety of forms and never fails to produce something that is really worth reading. I’m envious.

And if by chance you are reading this Ms Atwood, please come and do a book signing in Oxford.

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