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The Robber Bride Paperback – January 20, 1998
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The Amazon Book Review
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"Funny, thoughtful, moving. . . . Atwood's plotting is masterful, and her humor is razor-edged, sexy, and raucous." —The Washington Post
"Moving amid these three women, touching up their portraits with one perfect detail after another, conjuring Zenia from their memories and tears, Atwood is in her glory. What a treasure she is, and what a fine new book she has written." —Newsweek
"[Atwood writes] about her characters' inner lives with the sort of authority and assurance usually associated with autobiographical novels. The reader has the sense that she has complete access to people's emotional histories, complete understanding of their hearts and imaginations." —The New York Times
"Margaret Atwood continues her long-running roll, offering us the good fortune of yet another disturbing and brilliantly concieved work of fiction." —Chicago Tribune
From the Inside Flap
Margaret Atwood's "The Robber Bride is inspired by "The Robber Bridegroom," a wonderfully grisly tale from the Brothers Grimm in which an evil groom lures three maidens into his lair and devours them, one by one. But in her version, Atwood brilliantly recasts the monster as Zenia, a villainess of demonic proportions, and sets her loose in the lives of three friends, Tony,
Charis, and Roz. All three "have lost men, spirit, money, and time to their old college acquaintance, Zenia. At various times, and in various emotional disguises, Zenia has insinuated her way into their lives and practically demolished them.
To Tony, who almost lost her husband and jeopardized her academic career, Zenia is 'a lurking enemy commando.' To Roz, who did lose her husband and almost her magazine, Zenia is 'a cold and treacherous bitch.' To Charis, who lost a boyfriend, quarts of vegetable juice and some pet chickens, Zenia is a kind of zombie, maybe 'soulless'" (Lorrie Moore, "New York Times Book Review). In love and war, illusion and deceit, Zenia's subterranean malevolence takes us deep into her enemies' pasts.
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Some complain that the male characters are flat. One point of the novel is women's difficulty in understanding men; since the story is told from the points of view of the three main female characters, the men will be seen murkily. However, Atwood draws the three main characters - Charis, Tony, and Roz - marvelously, including how mystifying they find men.
Zenia is also a technical challenge. As a person, she defines herself in terms of the people she's with; therefore, as a character, we don't come to know the 'real' Zenia well. (It could be argued that there is no 'real' Zenia, but I think that's erroneous. I have met some of the real people she's modeled after.) However, Atwood's skill is more than up to the task of helping us get to know such a nebulous character.
Tony, Charis, and Roz are "everywoman", and yet they're not - they stand as realistic, 3-dimensional characters. You'll find yourself in bits of each of them. And you'll find yourself asking why you allow yourself the weaknesses that these three have. And maybe you'll get a hint at an answer.
To some extent, the novel is like Zenia herself - it is what you make of it. If you look for funny, you'll find it. If you look for sad, you'll find that. If you look for complicated, knotty problems that, just as in real life, don't have easy answers, you'll find that, too.
Most recent customer reviews
Margaret Atwood has a great gift for telling female heroin from different...Read more
At face value, it is the story of three slightly tiresome women, all "ruined" by an inexplicably predatory...Read more