Thursday, September 1, 2011

Review: The Tent

The Tent
The Tent by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been reading a lot of "bite-sized" books lately, which is what I call slim volumes I could read in a single sitting, if I so chose. Most of them are to give me a good idea of whether I like an author's style enough to research further.

In this case, though, I already knew I liked Margaret Atwood's writing. I was looking for a small sample that could tide me over until I could brace myself for one of her deeper works.

I certainly got what I was looking for. This was an incredibly fast read, and yet a really good sampling of Atwood's strange, quirky, and yet beautiful, evocative and insightful work.

I would recommend this to friends of mine who have trouble writing short pieces or keeping their writing concise. Atwood crams so much into a few short paragraphs in each of the pieces in this book. She shows a real mastery of the language.

Unfortunately, some may find these inaccessible and difficult to wrap their heads around. Most of the stories are deeply symbolic, and it can be difficult to tell exactly what aspect of society is being skewered. There's little room for clarification, and so the pieces come across as deeply personal, while clearly about something the reader can relate to.

I really enjoyed this, but I can see why others might not. Flipping through may give some readers a good idea of whether they'd like Atwood's books, though I think it's a lot better for having read previous works and seen some of the longer clarifications. Tying the stories into other books Atwood has written certainly makes them resonate.

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