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Writing with Intent: Essays, Reviews, Personal Prose--1983-2005 Hardcover – March 10, 2005

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4 Stars and Up Feature: Kitchens of the Great Midwest
"Foodies and those who love contemporary literature will devour this novel that is being compared to Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge. A standout." --Library Journal Learn more

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Atwood is, of course, one of the most famous and prolific Canadian novelists of our time (The Blind Assassin, etc.), and this eclectic collection ably testifies to the scope of her interests and passions. These are occasional pieces, and as such, they form a somewhat odd collection, as when a review of Elmore Leonard's novel Tishomingo Blues is immediately followed by an obituary for a fellow Canadian writer and friend. Atwood has thought long and deeply about the role women have played in the past and continue to play today. But while in the earlier essays she writes of a living revolutionary force that she believed would change the world, the more recent work views the feminist movement as a relic of an earlier time, even if its goals are still forefront in her mind. As responses to specific moments in literary, personal or social history, many of these works don't necessarily deserve to be preserved in perpetuity, but they all skillfully characterize their writer as a woman ravenously curious about the world, witty enough to know her own place in it, fiercely dedicated to language and the art and craft of writing and, even when training a skeptical eye on the world around her, enthusiastic as a child about the very act of living. Agent, Phoebe Larmore.(Apr. 19)
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From Booklist

Wit and wisdom are the essay's body and soul, and Atwood--shrewd, mischievous, and compelling--displays both in her masterful nonfiction. This substantial yet effervescent retrospective collection showcases Atwood as a zestful and discerning literary critic as she brilliantly assesses the work of such writers as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Toni Morrison, and Elmore Leonard. She is also an insightful and valiant social critic, unflinchingly dissecting the impact of violent pornography, remembering her favorite wild places and tracking the ravages of acid rain, reconsidering a 1978 visit to Afghanistan, and taking issue with the post-9/11 mind-set. Atwood does, indeed, write with intent, that is, with intensity, resolve, and spirit, but for all her seriousness, she has a wickedly good time ferreting out contradictions and toppling shibboleths. And best of all are her pithy, hilarious, and touching personal essays about her family and life as a writer. Atwood has a uniquely enlivening voice and point of view, and this exhilarating volume will bolster her standing as a world-class writer of keen intellect and moxie. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf; 1st Carroll & Graf Ed edition (March 10, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786715359
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786715350
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,686,844 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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By jkt1219 on April 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I was introduced to the works of Margaret Atwood several years ago through A Handmaid's Tale. For several years, I knew her only as a writer of fiction novels. With this collection of essays and reviews, I have finally come to fully appreciate what an amazing writer she is. I cannot praise this book enough. It is divided into three parts according to the time in which they were written. The works contained in this book include her own process of writing such novels as the Handmaid's Tale and Alias Grace, to reviews of other works (she only reviews what she likes), to personal stories.

This is the kind of book that I feel the need to highlight and discuss with my friends. I started to photocopy various selections to give to my best friend to read, but in the end I decided just to lend her the entire book, post-its sticking out all of the pages, marking the sections I think she must read. Read it one section at a time, or all in one sitting, either way, this collections shows just how talented and thought-provoking Margaret Atwood is as a writer.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jeannine Hall Gailey on March 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Atwood's collected essays in this book range from book reviews to discussions about writing futuristic dystopias and a defense of the villainess. I highly recommend this for Atwood fans who want to know more about the author and for any writer insterested in pushing the boundaries of genre, feminism, and writing courageously. Worth the price of admission just to read the story of her first ever book signing - in a store's Mens' Underwear department.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Robinson on August 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Writing With Intent from 2005 is an excellent book that I highly recommend. There are a few words of caution, however. Atwood has written a number of non-fiction works including the famous "Negotiating With The Dead" to name but one. She has another book from 2004 called "Moving Targets" which is sold in what appears to be a different market. So, if you have read or own that 2004 book, you can probably skip the present book. I did not compare them word for word but they are very similar.

Okay, now back to this present book. It is a series of essays on many topics including her own writing experiences plus what she thinks of other books and other authors. It is an impressive display of humor and knowledge of other books. She shows the reader her deep insight into how writers think and what other authors are trying to say, or their voice.

As one example, she links Orwell's writing to her own work "A Handmaid's Tale" and shows why and where she got her ideas and inspiration.

Another author, and one who I do not really like personally, is Toni Morrison. She gives the reader many reasons to like Morrison, and maybe I will have a second look at "Beloved" which I read and did not like, or more accurately was not too excited about.

Overall, this is a humbling experience and most will be awed by her knowledge and personality. It reminds the reader of Virginia Woolf's "Common Reader" books, but not as broad as Woolf, but with more personal stories and a bit longer than Woolf's two books combined.

I cannot say enough good things about this book.
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