Book: Wilderness Tips

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Wilderness Tips: Stories

Author: Margaret Atwood
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Publisher: McClelland and Stewart

An award-winning collection of ten stories that charts the complexities of modern life and explores the strange and secret places of the heart. The gruesome discoveries of an archaeological dig in Britain find parallels in a contemporary love affair; a girl disappears without a trace and returns to haunt a collection of landscape paintings; a nineteenth-century case of mass-poisoning on the famous Franklin Expedition stirs memories of a dead friend; a woman exacts a fittingly wicked revenge on her ex-lover; a well-known journalist is betrayed by a former mentor and friend. Brilliantly rendered, disturbing, poignant at times, scathingly humorous at others, Wilderness Tips imbues the familiar world in which we live with indelible truths.

In each of these tales Margaret Atwood deftly illuminates the single instant that shapes a whole life: in a few brief pages we watch as characters progress from the vulnerabilities of adolescence through the passions of youth into the precarious complexities of middle age. By superimposing the past on the present, Atwood paints interior landscapes shaped by time, regret, and life’s lost chances, endowing even the banal with a sense of mystery. Richly layered and disturbing, poignant at times and scathingly witty at others, the stories in Wilderness Tips take us into the strange and secret places of the heart and inform the familiar world in which we live with truths that cut to the bone.

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