Monday, 12 April 2010

Life before man (Atwood) 68 (and The edible woman) 23

Life before man has been sitting on the shelf for a while. And to be honest, it could have stayed there a while longer for me. I can imagine that when it was published it might have been more relevant and popular, but reading it now it just seemed dated and lacking in drive. I'm not surprised that this is one of her lesser known books and despite being published early on by Virago, has only been published once. It's the story of three characters - Elizabeth, Nate and Lesje. Elizabeth and Nate are married; Nate and Lesje are having an affair - and essentially describes their relationships. Not really memorable at all. 2*

As I'm posting about Margaret Atwood I thought I should mention one of her other 6 VMCs which I have read (I have read a lot of her novels actually, but just not the VMC ones - Cat's Eye is a particular favourite, along with Alias Grace) - The edible woman. I picked it up for its fantastic title - it was a much more riveting read about a woman named Marian who is gradually losing her grip on reality. It's got two Virago editions, and I own the later one - I love the quirky mirror picture of the earlier edition though.


  1. Don't forget the newest Atwood editions (oh how I covet those)! I have the green edition of The Edible Woman but don't have a copy of Life Before Man yet.

    I quite like Surfacing, of her VMC titles, but it doesn't seem to be popular with others. I thought it was exceptionally well-written, short but definitely weighty; an early Atwood that I think is very feminist in its outlook (the commentary on motherhood, especially). Good experiment with language. A woman goes to find her missing father and loses/finds herself.

    I have forgotten to see which Atwoods I have in surplus to give you; if we meet up in May, I'll give them to you in person.

  2. Claire - yes, I had forgotten about the new ones! Oops! I have yet to read Surfacing, but am sure I'll find it intriguing. And yes, do clear out your duplicates for me :) I'm buying another bookshelf tonight.

  3. The Edible Woman was the first Atwood I read. For some reason, college Thomas was really intrigued with Marian and this book. I think I identified with her liberation scenario at the end.