From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Atwood's book is a weird but wonderful mélange of personal reminiscences, literary walkabout, moral preachment, timely political argument, economic history and theological query, all bound together with wry wit and careful though casual-seeming research. Every debt comes with a date on which payment is due, Atwood observes on this conversational stroll, from the homely and familiar notion of fairness and notion of equivalent values in Kingsley's Water Babies
to the thornier connection between debt and sin, memory and redemption in Aeschylus's Eumenides
. Any debt involves a story line, Atwood points out as she leads the reader into the nineteenth century [when] debt as plot really rages through the fictional pages, and ruin is financial for men, but sexual for women. Things get even darker on the shadow side where the nastier forms of debt and credit—debtors' prisons, loan sharks and rebellions—abide. Atwood is encyclopedic in her range, following threads wherever they lead—credit cards and computer programs, Sin Eaters, Saint Nicholas, Star Trek, the history of pawnshops and of taxation, Elmore Leonard's Get Shorty
and Dante's Divine Comedy
, Christ and Faust—and a consistently captivating storyteller. (Nov.)
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'A fascinating, freewheeling examination of ideas of debt, balance and revenge in history, society and literature - Atwood has again struck upon our most current anxieties' The Times 'A stimulating, learned, and stylish read from an eminent author writing from a heartfelt perspective ... very provocative' Conrad Black 'Could hardly be more timely ... as clear a summary of the situation as I have read' Financial Times 'Lively and exceedingly timely ... At a time when so many of us are mired in debts of the financial variety it is worth remembering that it is the other, non-financial debts that we owe - to the planet, and to each other - that may prove most important' Observer
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