Sunday, 15 July 2018

Wilderness Tips by Margaret Atwood

Wilderness Tips by Margaret Atwood
First published in Canada by McClelland And Stewart in September 1991.

How I got this book:
Bought at the Hope Association book sale in Clussais la Pommeraie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £8.99 (PB)
Wordery : from £7.66 (PB)
Waterstones : from £8.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $0.50 / £2.37 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

A leathery bog-man transforms an old love affair; a sweet, gruesome gift is sent by the wife of an ex-lover; landscape paintings are haunted by the ghost of a young girl. This dazzling collection of ten short stories takes us into familiar Atwood territory to reveal the logic of irrational behaviour and the many textures lying beneath ordinary life.

I've enjoyed several Margaret Atwood novels over the years, but didn't realise she had also published short story collections until I spotted this one at a charity book sale. It was only a Euro and is even signed! Then ten stories are, as I would expect from Atwood, wonderfully well written and I enjoyed reading them all. Often I find short story collections to be a bit hit and miss, but that was absolutely not true in this case. Now, a couple of days after finishing the book, that I have come to write this review however, I realise that I can't actually remember all the stories individually. Instead, some of the storylines are memorable in their entirety - particularly True Trash, Isis In Darkness and the title story, Wilderness Tips - whereas the others for me have already receded to snapshot moments and images. I can recall the historical aspects of Age Of Lead for example, but have forgotten how it related to a present day situation. Don't let that discourage you though - this one is well worth picking up! I just needed to refer back to it to make sure I was connecting the right images with the right tales.

Atwood's imagery is frequently bizarre and unsettling - Hairball for example is essentially about a woman who displays her removed tumour in a jar. Her characters are slightly skewed versions of truth though I did appreciate her brief rant about how you know if an Englishman really cares about a woman - he'll start whinging at her because he believes he trusts her enough to reveal his inner self. That's so true!

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Margaret Atwood / Short stories / Books from Canada


  1. Keeping a removed tumor in a jar sounds like something I would do. lol

  2. What a wonderful bargain! Only a euro and signed at that as well. I have only read The Handmaid's Tale by her but I did like it enough to want to read more of her works. Maybe I can delve into this short story collection too to get me started on a taster of more her writing. I didn't know she had one either.

    My recent post:

    1. I love Atwood's novels! Oryx And Crake, The Blind Assassin, Alias Grace, ...

  3. I want to read this so bad! I definitely appreciate bizarre & unsettling. :D

  4. I'm so glad you enjoyed this, Stephanie! I've been wanting to read more of Atwood's work but there's always that fear that it won't be as good as The Handmaid's Tale (so far, the only thing I've read by her). Still, this sounds like a good bet! (tumor in a jar is definitely up my alley; a la Grey's Anatomy!)

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. I know Handmaid's Tale is Atwood's most famous book, but I'm not sure I thought it her best! Maybe try Alias Grace or Oryx And Crake? I loved them!