Atwood is one of my favourite authors. I was amazed I found one of her novels that I hadn’t read. This is one of her earlier works – her second novel first published in 1972.
Plot summary from Wikipedia …
The book tells the story of a woman who returns to her hometown in Canada to find her missing father. Accompanied by her lover and another married couple, the unnamed protagonist meets her past in her childhood house, recalling events and feelings, while trying to find clues for her father’s mysterious disappearance. Little by little, the past overtakes her and drives her into the realm of wildness and madness.
This novel has a wonderful sense of place – I can picture the lake and the cabin. The characters are beautifully portrait, but they are people of a definite era (I can imagine the men with hairy chests and medallions). The sexual revolution has started – both women took the pill and then stopped – women are beginning to be emancipated, but not quite.
The descent into madness is fabulous to read and it all seems quite logical.
I think this is a fabulous novel, but Atwood goes onto greater things with Cat’s Eye, Handmaid’s Tale, Alias Grace and Oryx and Crake. If you’re an Atwood fan, then it’s worth reading to see where she came from, but otherwise I probably wouldn’t bother.
Here are some other (and better) reviews …