So my friend Alicia Gibson has kept her book store, Heterotopia, going by turning it into a bookclub, where she chooses a book once a month and mails it to us, while posting a review on heterotopiabooks.com.
I have learned to trust her, because almost none of the books she has chosen would I have ever bought on my own – and I’ve loved most of them while liking them all!
The October book was Margaret Atwood’s Stone Mattress: Nine Wicked Tales. The cover is a delight in itself – a big black crow, which has just stolen one of the Os from Atwood, on a bright yellow cover. The stories are of women who are older, but are not sweet grannies, and are really not going gentle into any good night. These tales do not describe a pallid world, but are strong and distinct, and won’t leave your brain soon. Torching the Dusties might be my favorite.
I’ve never liked Atwood’s alternate realities, which I’ve felt as negative, gray, cold. And I could not make myself read The Handmaid’s Tale – though I saw the adaptation at the Shakespeare, a peerless one woman performance by Corinne Mohlenhoff, a few years ago.
But these stories, and Atwood’s discerning eye and tongue – maybe I should revisit Margaret Atwood’s work. At any rate, you will enjoy these stories. I read one a night, so that I could savor each separately, and enjoy each of the various flavors individually. You might want to do that, too.