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The Tent    by Margaret Atwood order for
by Margaret Atwood
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Nan A. Talese, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Margaret Atwood, author of The Blind Assassin and The Handmaid's Tale, offers readers imaginative, lyrical prose pieces (some in two-page format and some longer) in The Tent. Her 'Life Stories' begins with 'Why the hunger for these? ... Maybe we just want to be in charge, of the life, no matter who lived it ... It helps if there are photos ... the candid denture ... 'I spent my childhood ... I studied, I loved, I married,' ending with: 'I was born. / I was. / I.''

The Tent's portrayals range from views of life and careers (ordinary to painful) to the marvels of science and nature, all told with Atwood's mind-provoking skill. She touches on old-fashioned or obsolete (or other) perspectives of motherhood, feminism, and orphanhood. She updates myths and fables. 'Chicken Little (Goes Too Far)' provides a unique perspective of environmental concerns dampened by media and development companies: 'This Chicken What's-his-name twerp is making a dent, Hoggy Groggy told Foxy Loxy. He's giving me a headache ... against progress. You should put him out of his misery'.'

This celebrated author gives voice to 'Encouraging the Young', saying 'The young are not my rivals ... inspire them of greater efforts, and who cares on what side and to what ends ... I won't change them into clockwork images or talking shadow. I won't drain out their life's blood. They can do all those things themselves.' Enjoy her visual and sensory collection of thirty or so witty, sometimes personal, pieces - incorporating deadpan hilarity and precise satire - crisply delivered in monologue.

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