metro mama

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Metro Recommends: Moral Disorder

I have another good book to tell you about--Margaret Atwood’s latest, Moral Disorder, is one more title to add to your reading list. Moral Disorder is a collection of short stories revolving around a central protagonist, Nell. The stories unfold in a circular fashion, starting with “The Bad News”, where we meet the aging Nell and Tig, thankful for their comfort and companionship in a world getting more and more dangerous. In “The Art of Cooking and Serving”, we’re taken back to Nell’s childhood as the eleven-year-old knits a layette for her unplanned little sister. Through Nell’s eyes we witness her mother struggle with a new baby while her other daughter enters puberty. We follow Nell through adolescence, and her twenties, to the years of her often complicated relationship with a man with two children and an eccentric, manipulative wife. In the title story, former city people Nell and Tig adjust to the challenging, rewarding, sometimes brutal life on a farm. In “The Labrador Fiasco”, a doomed expedition is a metaphor for the uncertain future of Nell’s father who has had a stroke. The circle is complete when Nell revisits her childhood with her elderly mother.

Most people either love Atwood or hate her. The more I read, the more I love her. If you’ve never read any Atwood and want to start, I’d recommend The Blind Assassin or Alias Grace. If you like short stories, Wilderness Tips is amazing. She also writes poetry; here’s one of my favourite poems:

You Fit Into Me

you fit into me
like a hook into an eye

a fish hook
an open eye


Yeah, she’s not for everyone.

Atwood’s social commentary is ironic and astute. Her writing is biting, sometimes acerbic, often funny, always fascinating. It begs to be read more than once (or twice). She can be challenging, playful, puzzling: if you find yourself stopping and thinking what the hell is she saying, don’t worry, you’re not alone—you’re playing right into her hands.

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Don't forget to vote in the Canadian Blog Awards. My nomination is in the Family category but check out the other categories too. Round 1 is until Nov 21 and you can vote once per day. I'll put this link in my sidebar for easy access.

Canadian Blog Awards

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9 Comments:

Blogger penelopeto said...

i chose that poem to grace the front page of my grade 10 journal. i was so deep.

can't wait to read this one.

9:43 AM  
Anonymous krista said...

I just put it on hold at the library. Thanks for the recommendation. I also read Dropped Threads 2 from your recommendation- so again thanks. I love when people blog about books.

10:08 AM  
Blogger sunshine scribe said...

Great reco. I love that poem. LOVE it.

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've actually read some Margaret Atwood novels that I've liked and then there are some that I find too depressing. I guess it depends on my state of mind.

Re: CBA - You can vote once a day unless you are like me cruising my neighbors to get extra votes for all my lovely friends! "Nope don't need to borrow a cup a sugar, just two minutes on your laptop!" It works like a charm.

11:39 AM  
Blogger nomotherearth said...

Since you can only vote once a day, I'm flipping back and forth between you and HBM. I'll have to try the neighbour/laptop approach...!

I (strangely enough) have never read Atwood, but I was going to start with Handmaid or Oryx. Is there a specific reason you would start with the two you mentioned?

3:58 PM  
Blogger metro mama said...

Nomotherearth: Thanks for your votes!

I recommended those two because they're my favourites and I think they have more universal appeal. I love Oryx though. A lot of people are turned off by Handmaid but it's a great book too.

7:03 PM  
Blogger s@bd said...

I ummm ... don't love margaret atwood.

*ducks*

10:01 PM  
Blogger crazymumma said...

Love the magster....

hook eye. never heard that. its good. its real.

10:12 PM  
Blogger Sheena said...

Hey Metro, You've been getting my votes in the Family category. Found you thru Eckler & Petite Gourmand and like your stuff.

4:56 PM  

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