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Wilderness Tips Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 1993


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Bantam (February 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553560468
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553560466
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.2 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,533,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set mainly in Toronto or in the Canadian woods, the 10 beautifully controlled tales in Atwood's new collection testify to the unpredictability of life, its missed connections, unsolvable mysteries and the lightning passage of time. Most of them are refracted through the sensibilities and memories of female protagonists, who reflect on the moment when they realized that "nothing has turned out" as they expected. Past and present coalesce seamlessly in these stories; Atwood is particularly good at capturing the feelings of adolescence and the exact details that typify the culture of the decades from the '50s to the '90s. Events are seen at a distance, related in emotionally muted but acutely revealing prose. The hard-edged tone of "Hairball" perfectly conjures up the ruthless, manipulative protagonist who suddenly realizes that she has been bested by her obnoxious protege. Susanna, in "Uncles," has a similar comeuppance, as she, the consummate trickster who "can fake anything" is betrayed by her mentor. In both "The Bog Man" (the least successful tale, as here Atwood uncharacteristically veers toward melodrama) and "The Age of Lead" a body uncovered long after death serves as a metaphor for buried desires, opportunities and hopes. In the title story, Atwood observes the interrelationships among three sisters and the randy foreigner who has married one of them and made love to the other two. Atwood's ( Cat' s Eye ) uncompromising eye is enhanced by her sinewy, taut prose.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

In this newest collection of ten short stories, Atwood looks back over three decades that have wrought great changes in women's lives. The impacts of death, disease, deception, and disappointment are explored; Atwood's characters, with their tenuous personal relationships, always endure a terrible aloneness. The loss of trust in others is a recurring theme. In one story a betrayed woman plays a grisly practical joke on her married lover; in another, a man settles for second choice in love and work and lives in apathy thereafter. An art collector's priceless landscapes only serve to remind her of a tragedy in her adolescence. Atwood's stories are unsettling but unforgettable. Recommended for public libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 8/1/91.
- Marnie Webb, King Cty. Lib. System, Seattle
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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

Her writing here is darkly comic, witty, profound, and remarkable.
Maclen
The book ties in all of the elements of plot and structure to work well together and form a cohesive story and main idea.
John Hagler
The other stories are compelling and the reader finishes ready for more.
Randy Keehn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Randy Keehn VINE VOICE on December 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I am a big fan of Margaret Atwood. I have enjoyed most all of her novels but, after reading "Dancing Girls", I was under the opinion that short stories were not her thing. However, I believe the collection of stories in "Wilderness Tips" is one of her best works. The stories are superb beginning with "True Trash" which takes us to a summer camp and introduces us to a young woman's secret and a younger man's sad lack of awareness of the life he's created. It ends, or rather, evaporates leaving us with unrealized expectations. "Hairball" is a marvelous story about revenge for a scorned affair. "The Bog Man" is essentially the same subject matter. "Uncles" is a beautiful story about the father figures in a girl's life. Although she doesn't know her real father, she knows her uncles. Their characters are somewhat undeveloped because it is their strength, not their personality that we need to understand. We follow the life of the girl whose security is lost after the uncles are gone. For me, the most compelling story is "Death by Landscape". The story takes place at a summer camp and involves the lives of two girls who become attached after spending successive summers together. The ending is bizarre and Atwood takes us beyond that and leaves us with eerie goosebumps. The other stories are compelling and the reader finishes ready for more. Margaret Atwood is a very gifted writer and may some day be awarded the Nobel Prize. Her insights to femininity (as opposed to feminism) are a prime element of her genius. If you haven't read Atwood, this would be an excellent introduction. If you have read Atwood, then you'll be reading this anyway (if you haven't already).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Maclen VINE VOICE on August 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
I have read many of Atwood's novels and one compilation of her short stories, "Dancing Girls," and I am convinced that she is one of the most accomplished authors writing today. I understand the comments of those reviewers who believe that Atwood's strength is the novel, and not the short story, since she excels in the psychological interplay of characters, which usually requires more time to develop than a short story will allow. However, the stories in "Wilderness Tips" are all fully realized and memorable, and when one compares them to the stories in "Dancing Girls," one immediately realizes how far she has come. Her writing here is darkly comic, witty, profound, and remarkable. She captures in each story that fleeting moment in time when someone's life has changed unalterably.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 25, 1998
Format: Paperback
Wilderness Tips is arguably Margaret Atwood's best short story collection and eloquently shows Atwood's warmth, wit, intelligence, humanity and insight into relationships. My personal favourites are 'Hairball' and 'Bog Man' and 'True Trash.' If you have read anything else by Margaret Atwood and enjoyed it, you won't be disappointed by this collection. I also recommend Alice Munro to anyone who is a fan of Atwood; she's not quite as funny or compelling, but she does write highly polished, interesting short stories.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
In a college English class I was introduced to "Death By Landscape," a short story from Atwood's "Wilderness Tips." Atwod has always been a favorite of mine, and her short story was no exception. Immediately I went out and bought "Wildnerness Tips." From "True Trash" to "Hairball" I was kept glued to the pages of Atwood's anthology. Simply put: I loved it. Her stories were thoughtful and complex--and even a bit unordinary.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
"Hairball" changed my life. Afer recognizing myself as the protagonist and wishing that I had a hairball to send, I was able to get away from a destructive relationship. I re-read this book every summer. I give it as a gift to people who need to get away from "Bog Men." Atwood's perceptive metaphors are more true-to-life than the visible world.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Wilderness Tips is a collection of ten short stories by Margaret Atwood and was first published in 1989. I enjoyed reading this somewhat unusual group of stories which are tied together loosely with some common themes.

She writes about summer camps, mental breakdowns, marriage and relationships, death, women’s careers and women’s rights, newspapers and social issues.

Some of the stories have surprise endings, some include graphic medical details, and all of them are reflective about times past.
Here’s a brief description of each story:

“True Trash” takes place at Camp Adanaqui and is a coming-of-age story about a group of boys who spy on the older teenage waitresses at the camp. Ronette is the center of the boys’ attention and Donny defends her honor in his own seemingly powerless adolescent way.

“Hairball” is a strange story of Kat, an angry young woman who faces mental breakdown and exacts revenge on her married lover. Atwood uses the shock of graphic medical details to make a powerful point about mental illness.

In “Isis in Darkness,” Richard is with Mary Jo, a stable librarian, but he obsesses over Selena, a mysterious poet he’s met at a coffee shop. It’s a story about marriage and regrets and of being alone.

In “The Bog Man,” Connor is an archaeology professor, dedicated to uncovering the history of an ancient, perfectly preserved human sacrifice. He’s having an affair with one of his students, Julie, and he brings her to Scotland to “help” with his research. It’s here where Julie learns to assert her own power, much to Connor’s shock.

“Death by Landscape” is a great story about the friendship between two girls at Camp Manitou, and an irreversible tragedy.
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