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Stone Mattress: Nine Tales Kindle Edition

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Kindle Edition, 16. September 2014
EUR 11,69

Länge: 306 Seiten Word Wise: Aktiviert Verbesserter Schriftsatz: Aktiviert
Sprache: Englisch



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 What does it mean to be a woman today? Many writers have made this fertile ground their home, but few have been able to lay such enduring claim to it as Margaret Atwood ... Her latest work, Stone Mattress, a collection of nine acerbic, mischievous, gulpable short stories, addresses themes that will resonate with anyone familiar with Atwood's writing ... Atwood's gimlet eye and sharp tongue are turned on the ageing process to painfully accurate effect Harper's Bazaar With death tapping at her characters' doors in more ways than one, Atwood shows herself, through these exquisitely inhabited inner lives and darkly funny stories, to be pulsing with more imaginative vivacity than ever Literary Review Here it is again, the sharp-clawed, gimlet-eyed, takes-no-prisoners Atwood whose humour is wickedly enjoyable ... But there is beauty in this writing as well as harsh observational gems, and Atwood creates atmosphere with loving care, from the first sentence of the first story Herald Atwood's trademark dark humour and withering social commentary are pervasive throughout and the stories are so stealthily plotted that I gasped at one particular denouement despite it having been clearly signposted in the story's title ... Her skill enables the reader to stomach ambiguous endings that in the hands of a less accomplished writer might feel accidental, uncrafted. "Will she or won't she (pull it off)?" wonders the narrator towards the end of one of the tales. With this collection, we are never in any doubt ***** Sunday Express Nine darkly funny tales had me truly engrossed ... The characters are sharply observed and the plots imaginative. Atwood deploys words with the precision of a Swiss watchmaker. Pithy, powerful sentences evoke intense emotion or add more background detail than you'd think possible in so few characters. Hers is the work of a true wordsmith. Atwood's fast-paced tales had me gripped from the off ... Stone Mattress is a delight to read - engaging, entertaining and wickedly witty. If you've yet to dip your toe into the world of short stories, you could do a lot worse than starting with either of these collections. Though for sheer originality, I'd recommend Stone Mattress in a heartbeat Stylist After more than 50 books and decades in the literary limelight, Atwood can still surprise with the explosive originality of her ideas; her writing always fresh and alive ... A darkly irresistible read Lady Nine Tales, the subtitle of this collection of short stories, references that dreaded implement of torture, the cat o' nine tails, which lacerates the skin with its cotton cords. Metaphorically, that is exactly how Stone Mattress works - each tale, told with Atwood's exquisite economy of style, cuts deep Vogue 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's take on subjects such as old age, disappointment and revenge are particularly engaging. These stories are often dark, funny and deadly serious ... Atwood is at her best writing about death, a subject that comes and goes throughout these stories Daily Mail Typically compelling. Full to brimming with a dust-dry wit and thrilling, punchline sentences, eclectic in its plots but enriched by overarching themes ... With their crackling dialogue and skilful time-tumbles, these "tales" of cruelty and regret at beautifully rendered, funny and alive, unflinching in their portrayals of the ageing process and unexpectedly poignant Irish Examiner Rich in sly humour and pulpy thrills Daily Telegraph


A collection of highly imaginative short pieces that speak to our times with deadly accuracy. Vintage Atwood creativity, intelligence, and humor: think Alias Grace.

Margaret Atwood turns to short fiction for the first time since her 2006 collection, Moral Disorder, with nine tales of acute psychological insight and turbulent relationships bringing to mind her award-winning 1996 novel, Alias Grace. A recently widowed fantasy writer is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband in "Alphinland," the first of three loosely linked stories about the romantic geometries of a group of writers and artists. In "The Freeze-Dried Bridegroom," a man who bids on an auctioned storage space has a surprise. In "Lusus Naturae," a woman born with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire. In "Torching the Dusties," 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. And in "Stone Mattress," a long-ago crime is avenged in the Arctic via a 1.9 billion-year-old stromatolite. In these nine tales, Margaret Atwood is at the top of her darkly humorous and seriously playful game.

This ebook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 1584 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 306 Seiten
  • Verlag: Anchor (16. September 2014)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Verbesserter Schriftsatz: Aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen 2 Kundenrezensionen
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #252.381 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Eine „Stone Mattress“ ist eine besondere Schichtenfossilform, die tatsächlich wie eine steinerne Matratze oder ein steinernes Kissen aussieht und das in der titelgebenden Geschichte um Rache für altes Unrecht auf einer Nordlandfahrt eine große Rolle spielt. Eine Geschichte, die tatsächlich auf einer solchen Fahrt geschrieben wurde.

Das gemeinsame Thema aller Geschichten ist das Älterwerden und die Erinnerung daran, wie es dazu gekommen ist – mit der Ausnahme von „Lusus Naturae“, in dem eigentlich eine ziemlich junge und überaus ungewöhnliche Person eine Rolle spielt. Freunde von Atwoods älteren Werken dürfen sich in „I Dream of Zenia with the Bright Red Teeth“ auf ein Wiedersehen mit den Protagonisten der „Räuberbraut“ freuen. Zwischen diesen beiden Geschichten findet sich eine Art kleiner Crime Noir („The Freeze-Dried Groom“) aus dem Antiquitätenhändlermilieu.

Die ersten drei Geschichten gehören thematisch und personelle eng zusammen, wobei wir der Erschafferin einer erfolgreichen Fantasy-Welt begegnen („Alphinland“), ihrem ehemaligen Geliebten, der mehr im poetischen Bereich tätig gewesen ist („Revenant“) und schließlich einem guten Grund, in solchen Kreisen nicht aus Rachsucht auf Beerdigungen zu gehen („Dark Lady“).

„The Dead Hand Loves You“ um einen jungen Schriftsteller, der seine berufliche Seele für einen Mietanteil verkauft und damit ein Leben lang hadert um am Ende über Rache nachzusinnen bewegt sich dann in Richtung des Genreschreibens (Bereich Horror) und den Veränderungen in diesem speziellen Bereich der Literatur.
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Kommentar 3 von 3 haben dies hilfreich gefunden. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich? Ja Nein Feedback senden...
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She always takes on the hard issues and has so much wit and honesty you come away with new perspectives and a more realistic view of life and in this case, ageing and death.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) HASH(0x9195e2e8) von 5 Sternen 241 Rezensionen
46 von 48 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x92af9bdc) von 5 Sternen A bit bumpy but Atwood is mostly in very fine form here 15. August 2014
Von Kcorn - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
If the rating system allowed, I'd give this one slightly more than 4 and 1/2 stars so I rounded up to 5 stars. I was drawn into most of these tales and I think this work is actually a fine introduction to Atwood's writing, her finely crafted sentences, and often otherworldly (or at least in between reality and surrealism) themes. She is also excellent when, at her best, she creates detailed portraits of individuals. They aren't always ones I'd like to know but are fascinating on the page.

I've had an ambivalent feeling about a fair number of Atwood's books. Some I've liked a great deal. Others left me cold. But I can absolutely recommend "Stone Mattress." It is one I'd be happy to reread.

While I liked - often loved- some of the tales in this book, there were a couple which weren't nearly as compelling as the rest. "Stone Mattress", the centerpiece of the book, focused on a woman bent on revenge and murder for a terrible injustice done her many years ago. Does she succeed? I won't disclose that, won't spoil it for potential readers. But I can say that I never thought I'd feel drawn to a possible murderess and feel compassion and understanding for her intense anger. I do want to add that some of the details in "Stone Mattress" are gruesome - so be aware of that.

If I tried to describe every one of the works here, this review would be overly long so I'll simply mention one other which resonated with me, "Torching the Dusties". It portrays a timely issue, the resentment felt by some younger adults towards the older generation who - in their opinion - "messed it up" for the next generation, killing the planet with greed and blindness to their impact on the environment. The younger adults feel cheated and are outraged, determined to do something about it. Again, I won't reveal more details about what happens next. I hate reviews with spoilers.

I hope this review perks your interest and if you've never been a fan of Atwood that you consider revisiting her writing by reading "Stone Mattress." I'd be interested in other readers" take on it. I received a free copy of this for review but was a bit reluctant to dive into an Atwood book. I'm glad I dove into this one.
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HASH(0x915d6ed0) von 5 Sternen Nine Fine Stories from a Gifted Writer 2. August 2014
Von Falkor - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
Margaret Atwood is one of our most talented and prolific writers. She is the author of more than forty books spanning many genres. Atwood was a poet before she was a novelist, and it shows in this collection through her wonderful descriptive writing. Consider the opening paragraph of the first short story, Alphinland:

"The freezing rain sifts down, handfuls of shining rice thrown by some unseen celebrant. Wherever it hits, it crystallizes into a granulated coating of ice. In the streetlights it looks so beautiful: like fairy silver, thinks Constance."

The first three stories in the trilogy form a trilogy involving people who once knew one another. The first story is about Constance, an aging fantasy writer who is having trouble distinguishing reality from imagination. The second story, Revenant, is about a poet, Gavin, who once loved Constance. The third story, Dark Lady, focuses on a pair of twins, one of whom knew Gavin. These three stories are all connected through their characters, but also their subject matter: they involve older people reflecting on their lives. These stories are also noteworthy for their dark sense of humor.

Standouts in the collection include The Freeze Dried Groom, about an antiques dealer who gets more than he bargained for; Stone Matress, a story of a woman on an Arctic cruise who seeks revenge on someone who wronged her, and Torching the Dusties, about an elderly woman struggling with Charles Bonnet Syndrome while a radical youth group threatens to burn down her retirement home. Charles Bonnet Syndrome is a real disorder, and Atwood does a good job of incorporating it into the story. Some of these stories take jabs at the literary world- Revenant makes fun of obsessive literary fans, and The Dead Hand Loves You satirizes the horror genre. Perhaps Atwood is using this book to reflect on her own career. This is a fine collection, and is recommended to fans of Atwood or short stories in general.
23 von 23 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x92afb678) von 5 Sternen Atwood is at her wicked best with these stories 18. August 2014
Von Cynthia - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
"Growing old ain't for sissies", or at least that's what my gramma used to say. Atwood is at her wicked best with these stories. There's not a dud in the group. The first three are an interconnected trilogy from three different perspectives. The protagonists look back on their youth and come to some surprising conclusions. The rest of the stories are independent of one another but they share an ancient outlook. This is Atwood at the top of her twisted game so don't expect the usual themes. Age has its rewards but also plenty of horrors, some strange empowerment and expected dependencies or if not dependencies some very real fears. Along with murder, revenge, and gentile mayhem Atwood includes her signature black humor. It's difficult to sort the fantasy from reality or worse, maybe it's an all too real inevitability. OK there's some love and bonding thrown in as well but that's not as entertaining as the horror. "Torching the Dusties" the last story in the book is some of Atwood's most excellent and excellently chilling work. SHIVER
21 von 23 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x91c82738) von 5 Sternen Tales, Not Stories 30. Juli 2014
Von Jill I. Shtulman - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
In an appendage to her short story collection, Margaret Atwood reveals that these are not stories at all, but tales; in her words, removed "at least slightly from the realm of mundane works and days, as it evokes the world of the folk tale, the wonder tale, and the long-ago teller of tales."

Score point: Atwood. At 74 years old, she creates characters who are mostly aging and feisty, bohemian and free-spirited, increasingly self-aware, and ready to correct and revenge the ills done to them in their callow youth.

Perhaps the most compelling are the first three tales, which function as a trilogy. The first tale sets the stage: young Constance, the renowned writer of a fantastical series of books about the fictional Alpinland, is the lover of a self-important writer of The Dark Lady poems - a legend in his own mind - named Gavin. The two successive tales let us know what happened to Gavin and his subsequent lovers and worshipers: "It's like being drawn into a time tunnel; the centrifugal force is irresistible." The tales are pitch-perfect and mildly satirical, gently skewing writers and our ephemeral lives: "He had a great body," one character says, "While it lasted."

Two other strong favorites for me are The Freeze-Dried Groom: Sam, an aging con-man whose wife has just tossed him out, bids on an auctioned storage space. What he finds there is far more than he bargained for...and perhaps, exactly what he deserves. The eponymous tale, Stone Mattress, focuses on Verna, a three-time widow who meets the man who raped and humiliated her on an Alaskan cruise. She is avenged by a 1.9 billion-year-old stromatolite (the titled stone mattress), in a particularly imaginative revenge fantasy.

In the last tale, Torching the Dusties, Ms. Atwood touches on one of the collection's themes: "You believed you could transcend the body as you aged...You believed you could rise above it, to a serene non-physical realm. But it is only through ecstasy you can do that and ecstasy is achieved through the body itself. Without the bone and sinew of wrings, no flight." These luminous stories - some of which succeed more than others - Ms. Atwood again helps her readers to soar.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x92afb420) von 5 Sternen Superb collection of short fiction 4. Oktober 2014
Von Bacterialover - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition
The cover image on Atwood’s new collection of a boulder precipitously balanced on a mound of rocks is a strikingly fitting image to describe the nine tales found within. The characters in these stories are mostly at that stage of life where Atwood finds herself, elderly and looking toward the increasingly limited future, considering legacy in recollection of the life they have led. Balanced between future and past, life and death, creative productivity and a corpus of work left behind, unresolved conflicts and distant traumas, hope and reflection, there is no morbid preoccupation among Atwood’s protagonists, but rather a careful stock on what existence has given and still has the power to supply.

Elements of these balanced themes can be seen in Atwood’s recent decision to take part in writing something for the future, a work that she can create while still drawing breath, but which will only be available for a future generation to experience fresh. And there is a certain similar nobility, generosity, and joy in how Atwood approaches aging, legacy, and the emotions of memory in these tales. As she has pointed out, tales is the proper word to describe the nuanced dreamlike reflection of these stories. Like the reality of memory these tales have a touch of the fantastic and wonderful.

Atwood’s power and prowess at the short story really shines forth in these nine tales, most forcefully in the opening three, linked, stories and the penultimate one that gives the collection its name. These four tales most prominently feature the Janus-faced nature of the collection, but in contrasting styles – contemplative in the triptych and with vengeful – perhaps righteous – violence in Stone Mattress.

Creating a collection of even this relatively short size with consistently captivating style and rich characterization is not an easy task, but Atwood manages to deliver without a stumble. If you haven’t read anything by Atwood or have only tried her novel length work, you should pick this up to discover what you have missed. Those that already enjoy her short fiction will read this new book with fond memories and appreciation of its graceful regard for that to come.

Disclaimer: I received a free electronic reading copy of this from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Review originally posted at
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