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The Robber Bride Hardcover – October 1, 1993

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The author of Cat's Eye depicts a femme fatale's malevolent role in the lives of three women; a seven-week PW bestseller.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Petite Tony teaches the agressively male subject of military history and has a talent for speaking backwards; actually, she's Ynot. Charis eats only vegetarian fare and consults crystals. Boisterous, stylish Roz runs her own company and drives a BMW. These three women would seem to have little in common, but they're held together by a single thread: Zenia, a lying, charismatic femme fatale who at one time or other stole the men in their lives. But Zenia is dead, blown to bits in Beirut, and can hurt them no more. Or so they think until the day a still-seductive Zenia walks into the restaurant where they are having lunch. As in Cat's Eye ( LJ 2/1/89), Atwood takes feminism one step further, showing women as victims not only of society but of themselves. Her book is daring, richly detailed, and compulsively readable. Indeed, some readers might find it too readable; at times it feels a bit trashier than something you would expect from Atwood. In addition, while Zenia is a fascinating absence at the novel's center, she seems too bad to be true. Nevertheless, Atwood is always good reading. For most collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/93.
- Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 466 pages
  • Publisher: Nan A. Talese; 1st edition (October 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385260083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385260084
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 7 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (150 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #657,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

MARGARET ATWOOD, whose work has been published in over thirty-five countries, is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. In addition to The Handmaid's Tale, her novels include Cat's Eye, shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; and her most recent, Oryx and Crake, shortlisted for the 2003 Booker Prize. She lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Ratmammy VINE VOICE on December 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
THE ROBBER BRIDE by Margaret Atwood
THE ROBBER BRIDE is yet another cleverly written novel by Margaret Atwood, who most recently was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2003 for her apocalyptic book ORYX AND CRAKE. THE ROBBER BRIDE follows a similar theme as her novel CAT'S EYE, in which four girls form a clique of friendship, while one of the girls becomes the ring leader, tormenting one of the other girls endlessly till near-tragedy strikes. However, in THE ROBBER BRIDE, we are now looking at four women, whose history begins in college.
Roz, Charis, and Tony were acquaintances during their college years. Their one link was a mutual "friend" named Zenia, a friend that eventually turned on each of them later on in their lives and practically destroyed them in order to get what she wanted from them.
The book is very complex, as the author takes us back and forth in time, telling the story of each of the women and their relationship with each other and with Zenia. What's interesting is that without Zenia, none of these women would have kept in contact. But as each one finds out what a snake Zenia can be, they bond and through the years they continue their friendship. Zenia then dies, and the women feel they are safe and can move on with their lives. But, then one day while they are out at a restaurant, one of them thinks she has spotted Zenia...
I found THE ROBBER BRIDE to be riveting and very intense. I feel that out of all the books I have read by Margaret Atwood, this was the most powerful of them all in terms of emotion and passion. This is not to say that her other books were any less than this one, but I remember feeling a lot of angry feelings as I read it.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on June 6, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Margaret Atwood never disappoints! "The Robber Bride" tells the story of three 50-something Canadian women who come from very different backgrounds. There's Tony, a history professor with an eccentric husband; Charis, a New-Age flower child; and Roz, a successful businesswoman. These women have one thing in common: they've all been duped by Zenia, a former classmate of theirs who befriended each woman in turn and eventually stole all of their men. Although Zenia supposedly died in an explosion years ago, the women are stunned when she turns up in a restaurant one afternoon, still very much alive.

"The Robber Bride" constantly jumps back in time, telling each woman's individual story and explaining how the mysterious Zenia managed to dupe all of them. The characters are all very interesting, especially Zenia (for some reason I can picture Catherine Zeta Jones playing her in a movie adaptation of this book), but the novel lacks the depth and focus that is prevalent in Atwood's other books.

This is a very entertaining story, but it's not Atwood's best effort (although I did enjoy it).
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Page on January 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
_The Robber Bride_ is one of my favorite books of all time, perhaps because I have one had a Zenia in my own past.
The plot of the book revolves around the view points of 3 different women who have had their lives and weaknesses betrayed and violated by the charismatic, beautiful, unforgettable and greedy creature known as Zenia. Throughout the book, though you'll meet Zenia many times, she will ultimately remain a mystery with only subtle hints to help you grasp at a truly deep understanding of her motivations. However, Zenia is not the point of the story - Zenia ia merely a catalyst, an /event/ which changes the lives of people around her.
We are drawn into three varient viewpoints during this story - those of Roz, Toni, and Charis. Roz is whipsmart, wealthy, and strident while on a more hidden level quite insecure and naive. Toni is highly intelligent, watchful, anti-social, unique in her personality quirks. Charis is an aging hippie, true, but her spirituality is true rather than false. Something within Charis is very pure, innocent, and will never be anything different. Each woman has different talents of insight, and each woman has blind spots about herself which the phenonmenon of Zenia will leave exposed and in some ways, damaged.
The point of this book is the tale of the three woman rather than Zenia herself, though I completely admit that Zenia is a fascinating character you won't soon forget. It is within the fabric of the characters that M. Atwood truly shines, I have rarely met three characters who were so *real* or complex, nor have I read a book which is so richly layered with subtle meanings.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Tom Knapp VINE VOICE on September 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
The story of "The Robber Bride" is told through the eyes of three women -- not really friends, in some senses of the word, but united by a long-time bond and a common loathing. The eponymous star of the book, Zenia, doesn't actually appear much in the story except through flashbacks; in fact, when the book begins, she is five years dead. Or so Tony, Charis and Roz believe.

The three women met in college, but their lives have since gone in very different directions. Tony, a professor of history -- or, more specifically, war -- is married, though childless, and her husband is somewhat fragile of spirit. Tony is solid, logical and often dispassionate. Charis is earthier, wrapped in new-age philosophies. She is unsure how to deal with her college-age daughter, and she still wonders what happened to her long-vanished husband, a Vietnam draft-dodger from the States. Roz is a typical mother of three (one post-college son and twin high school-aged daughters) and a wealthy businesswoman, president of her own diverse company.

Zenia is the woman who wrecked their lives, one at a time and years apart. With a multiple-choice past and an enigmatic present, Zenia has facades upon facades, schemes upon conceits, and she befriends people with ease before corrupting the best parts of their lives -- perhaps for no other reason than she can.

Margaret Atwood takes you deep inside each woman's skin -- except, of course, Zenia, who must remain a mystery -- peeling away layers of their lives and examining in white-knuckled detail the events, experiences and tragedies that shaped them.
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