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Dancing Girls and Other Stories Hardcover – September, 1982

4.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A stunning collection”
The New York Times Book Review

“Margaret Atwood is a deeply serious writer who is also wildly funny.”
Chatelaine

“Deft, sardonic: quintessential Atwood.”
Globe and Mail

“Margaret Atwood’s stories are fierce parables about the horror of city life and the power politics of relationships.…A remarkable collection.”
–Victoria Glendinning, Sunday Times (U.K.) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

"Sheer wizardry, a rich fusion of the ordinary experience made brilliant by symbol, image and allusion."
--Los Angeles Times

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (September 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671242490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671242497
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,843,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Maclen VINE VOICE on August 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
Having read Atwood's many excellent novels, I searched for additional works by her. This compilation of early short stories reveals an author testing the literary waters, without plunging in head first. We see early glimpses of Atwood's dark wit and terse descriptions. And we are also treated to many varied and memorable characters, stories and settings. For those of you who believe, as I do, that Atwood is one of the most accomplished authors writing today, these stories, even though not perfect and early in her career, are far more rewarding than most works by mature authors. A must read.
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Format: Paperback
I've always liked Margaret Atwood, but with this collection I now have to say I love her. Many typically unsentimental stories with strong women characters, and none one-dimensional. Each story has stayed with me in its own way. This is one to try.
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Format: Paperback
Atwood's short stories are shocking, vibrant glances at some of her most interesting people. The stories in this collection were published in many journals, from the prestigious *Harper's* to the rarified journals like *Fiddlehead* and *The Malahat Review.* Because many of these pieces were published in smaller journals, they've not been widely read. If you see yourself as an Atwood buff, you need this book to complete your collection.

Stories in *Dancing Girls*:

The War in the Bathroom
The Man from Mars
Polarities
Under Glass
The Grave of the Famous Poet
Rape Fantasies
Hair Jewellery
When It Happens
A Travel Piece
The Resplendent Quetzal
Training
Lives of the Poets
Dancing Girls
Giving Birth

TK Kenyon
Author of Rabid: A Novel and Callous: A Novel
1 Comment 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
When I picked it up, I had no idea that Dancing Girls by Margaret Atwood was a book of short stories. I'm usually not a short story fan overall, but was excited to read Atwood's take, since I'm a big fan of her.

I'm still working on my Margaret Atwood Challenge, reading one of her novels per month, basically in order of publication, so this is my December book.

While a few of the stories in Dancing Girls had endings that left me stumped, I still enjoyed reading them. But for the most part, they kept me very entertained.

For instance, The War in the Bathroom was told over the course of a week, where a woman feels like her living space is being invaded daily by an elderly man whose bathroom habits can be clearly heard from her room.

Then in The Man from Mars, a strange little foreign man begins to stalk Christine. . .

Rape Fantasies has a dark name, but is a witty story about one woman's ridiculous rape fantasies that somehow turn into love.

Atwood's Dancing Girls has a common theme of obsession with a hint of crazy that touches almost every story in the collection. And of course, you know I'm loving the obsessive/crazy theme with my psychological thriller kick!

If you enjoy Margaret Atwood or enjoy reading short stories, these are some great ones to get into!

Speaking of obsession, what is something you are a little obsessed with?

Thanks for reading,

Rebecca @ Love at First Book
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Format: Paperback
There are a wide variety of ways to harbor resentment, and these short stories capture a number of them. The characters are mostly women, but come from different backgrounds and are at different places in their lives. They have resentment in common, though.

Resentment toward partners is featured. A woman who hates to travel for work continues to do so, in order to support her partner's business. A man feels his partner is telling him constant small lies, and he can't figure out why. A woman deals with her partner's constant cheating.

Resentment is also targeted toward others: a benign-seeming stalker, a childhood neighbor, a landlady.

These stories are stark and vivid, full of realistic characters who are largely dissatisfied and unhappy. They have rich inner lives that come through in their narratives. It was a bit difficult for me to read so many stories populated by such downtrodden people, though, with little hope for any of their lives.
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Format: Paperback
Cut to the Chase:
The stories, although well-written for the most part, lack the fluidity and complexity we feel in Atwood’s longer pieces. Most of the characters feel trapped in various relationships and with a variety of shortcomings they are able to perceive in themselves, without being able or willing to change. We end up with a series of characters and stories where all of the action is internal, and all of the characters feel trapped in situations, which makes for a sometimes frustrating read. I’m a fan of Atwood in general, and list other books you might like by the author below, but ultimately feel like this was more of a miss than a hit for her.

Greater Detail:
As always, with short stories, here are some descriptions:

“The Man from Mars” – an unremarkable college student accidentally befriends a foreign exchange student who becomes obsessed with her, stalking her… and lending her an air of mystery she has always felt she’s lacked.

“Betty” – a young girl recalls the summer she and her sister visited their neighbors, Betty and Fred. Fred was a handsome man whom everyone liked without any particular effort on his part, while Betty was an almost vapid caricature of a woman, focused completely on Fred, and although nice, completely boring to a young adolescent girl.

“Polarities” – a college professor tries to convince himself not to get involved with a graduate student who teaches alongside him, when he discovers that she is mentally unsound, talking about healing the city with its conflicting energies and polarities.

“Under Glass” – a depressed woman feels as though she may finally be getting a little better and visits her boyfriend/soon to be live-in lover, bearing gifts.
Read more ›
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