Margaret Atwood and her iconic library have captured my imagination for many many years. My first introduction, as it is for many readers, was The Handmaid’s Tale. I was instantly hooked and dove head first into her work, everything from short fiction to poetry to novellas to historical fiction. In fact, Little Red Hen from Good Bones is a story that often flits through my mind, almost 20 years after first reading it.
Many of Atwood’s novels are worthy of multiple reads, however the one that stands out for me is The Robber Bride. Having read it a few times, I find previously glossed-over nuances with each time.
The characters are so skillfully crafted that their personalities stay with the reader long after the final page is read. Zenia, the antagonist, is multidimensional, revealing a different side of herself to each of the three main characters. Depending on whose life she is trying to infiltrate, her own life story changes to best play on their personality and weaknesses.
“The story of Zenia ought to begin when Zenia began. It must have been someplace long ago and distant in space, thinks Tony; someplace bruised, and very tangled. A European print, hand-tinted, ochre-coloured, with dusty sunlight and a lot of bushes in it- bushes with thick leaves and ancient twisted roots, behind which, out of sight in the undergrowth and hinted at only by a boot protruding, or a slack hand, something ordinary but horrifying is taking place.”