Thursday, June 01, 2006

Lady Oracle – Margaret Atwood (1976)

The third Margaret Atwood I’m reading after Handmaid’s Tale and Bluebeard’s Egg, it has lived upto my expectations. When I started the novel I didn’t expect it to hold my attention for long – I was sure that one author couldn’t possibly churn out novel after novel, all of which would succeed in pulling me into the intricate mesh of its plot, make my chuckle, smile, shed the occasional tear…feel. Margaret Atwood is apparently a pro at that, for when I finally did give Lady Oracle the attention it deserved, I devoured it in one sitting, one long cozy Sunday afternoon.

If Handmaid’s Tale sent shivers down my back, and Bluebeard’s Egg captured my imagination, Lady Oracle took me spinning along the fantastic world of Joan Foster, a closet-writer and bored wife of a confused communist. Going back and forth in time, the novel traces Joan’s life right from her strange, lonely childhood, her love-hate relationship with her own body/image to her adult life, her love life and her career. Her trysts with blackmailing reporters, strange lovers, a serious literary career in place of her more successful career as a Costume-Gothic novelist, not only gripped my attention, but had me chuckling and yes, at times, even rolling with laughter. And yet, the novel isn't meer candy floss material - there lies beneath the main text a very obvious subtext with a very obvious feminist text and a tongue-in-cheek parody of literary forms and hence literary snobbery. (But then, that's evident, since this is an Atwood oeuvre we're discussing!) Atwood’s descriptions are par excellence, the way she twists the plot is sheer genius – there isn’t a single moment in the book where I could predict what would happen next, and definitely not even a nano-second when ennui could possibly set in vis-à-vis the narrative.

The Globe and Mail says in its review:-
“Read it for its gracefulness, for its good story, and for its help with your fantasy life.”

Read it for all that – but read it mainly for Atwood’s genius!


Sex and the City said...

Read it for all that – but read it mainly for Atwood’s genius!

I totally agree with you on that one G. I have read close to 5 books of Atwood and none of them have been disappointing. I started with "The Handmaid's Tale" and could not wait to finish it. The beauty of the words she chooses and converts language to almost a prayer. I then started with "Cat's Eye", "The Robber Bride", "Alias Grace" and topped it with my favourite "The Blind Assassin". Now I must read her shorter works. What are the other authors that you like reading? Let's talk books!Please ! Please! Please!

Geetanjali said...

Sex and the City - Hey welcome aboard! I'd totally love to talk books, but having heard about how erudite you are from common buddy KS am almost scared to do so ;-)

Hehehe that apart, 'd say my currrent fav is Atwood because of the fact that she fails to disappoint. So what would you recommend I pick up next? Other authors - loads, just depends on what sustains my interest.

Sex and the City said...

lol!! so KS thinks i am erudite..Hmm...some ass needs some kicking. lol!!

read murakami if you havent read him already. i love his works especially "sputnik sweetheart". i like don delillo as well. not to forget marie durresquie or something...

jac said...

Lady Oracle is lovely.