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The Robber Bride

The Robber Bride
Author: Margaret Atwood
ISBN 13: 9780385491037
ISBN 10: 385491034
Edition: N/A
Publisher: Anchor
Publication Date: 1998-01-20
Format: Paperback
Pages: 528
List Price: $15.95

Exploring the paradox of female villainy, this tale of three fascinating women is another peerless display of literary virtuosity by the supremely gifted author of Cat's Eye and The Handmaid's Tale. Roz, Charis and Tony all share a wound, and her name is Zenia. Beautiful, smart and hungry, by turns manipulative and vulnerable, needy and ruthless, Zenia is the turbulent center of her own perpetual saga. She entered their lives in the sixties, when they were in college. Over the three decades since, she has damaged each of them badly, ensnaring their sympathy, betraying their trust, and treating their men as loot. Then Zenia dies, or at any rate the three women — with much relief — attend her funeral. But as The Robber Bride begins, Roz, Charis and Tony have come together at a trendy restaraunt for their monthly lunch when in walks the seemingly resurrected Zenia...

In this consistently entertaining and profound new novel, Margaret Atwood reports from the farthest reaches of the war between the sexes with her characteristic well-crafted prose, rich and devious humor, and compassion.

Library Journal

Set in Canada in the early 1970s, The Robber Bride continues Atwood's satiric exploration into sex and empowerment. Three women and the femme fatale who unites them are set against a backdrop of draft dodgers and the resurgence of feminism. Atwood is an astute observer of contemporary misinformation, and references to tarot, auras, astrology, and more abound. Despite some wonderful passages, however, the narrative thrust consists of self-contained vignettes that do not easily lend themselves to audio. The histories of these women are intense and distinctive, but the superficial present in which they do little more than move from restaurant to restaurant blurs them to the point of being interchangeable. When she stays with one character long enough (e.g., her treatment of Charis's incest-filled childhood at the start of the third tape), the poignancy increases. It's slow going, but a lively reading by Blythe Danner and musical interludes that accentuate the New Age mood should help keep maintain listeners' attention.