There are lots of good reasons to read Margaret Atwood. Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 18 months, you will be well aware of the massive cultural impact that the smash hit show The Handmaid’s Tale had on audiences all over the world. The dystopian drama starring Elisabeth Moss was adapted from the novel of the same name, written by legendary Canadian author Margaret Atwood in 1985. Along with The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood has been the creative mind behind so many other thought-provoking and unforgettable stories including "Alias Grace," "The Blind Assassin," "MaddAddam" and "Cat’s Eye." If you are a lover of literature and are looking for a new challenge to sink your teeth into, here are just a few of the many reasons to read Margaret Atwood.
Not only does Atwood provide riveting and fantastic storylines for readers, she also provides a wonderful feminist voice. Many of her novels are told from the perspective of female characters facing patriarchal oppression, and her poetry also does lots of examination of negative roles of women in society. Although she herself has been reluctant to use the word ‘feminist’ in the past, there is no doubting that she is a leading creative voice for women and women-centric issues and ideology. And that's one of the best reasons to read Margaret Atwood.
Atwood’s go-to style is very much in the realm of futuristic, dystopian landscapes, so if you are into any of one of the millions of shows on television that portray this kind of aesthetic, then you will feel right at home in the pages of one of Margaret’s novels.
When it comes to historical fiction in her work, Atwood’s attention to detail is second to none. "Alias Grace," the story of a servant girl at the centre of a double murder in the 19th century, is probably one of her most popular examples of historical fiction. So popular in fact that it has recently been made into a successful Netflix series. Read the book before you watch the show!
Atwood is an expert at effortlessly reworking traditional myths to fit into her unconventional and quirky stories. Her poem "The Penelopiad," for example, is a retelling of Homer’s epic "The Odyssey," with the plot, of course, turned into something much more female-centric and feminist! She is really great at taking old, family mythical narratives and putting a female spin on them.
Something more recent and really special in Atwood’s catalog is "The Hag Seed," a genius, contemporary reinterpretation of William Shakespeare’s classic work "The Tempest." The story is mischievous and gleeful and stays true to Shakespeare’s original tone whilst also feeling very much like classic Margaret Atwood!
If you are looking for inspiration or simply to get lost in creative genius, then Atwood is your woman. She has a supreme mastery of storytelling finesse and narrative technique, and she somehow manages to inject heaps of subtle humour into her stories even though the majority of them deal with very heavy and at times distressing themes. The mark of a true literary master!
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