From the bestselling, award-winning author of The Handmaid's Tale and The Testaments, a dazzling collection of short stories that look deeply into the heart of family relationships, marriage, loss and memory, and what it means to spend a life together
"If you consider yourself an Atwood fan and have only read her novels: Get your act together. You’ve been missing out.” —The New York Times Book Review, Rebecca Makkai, best-selling author of The Great Believers
Margaret Atwood has established herself as one of the most visionary and canonical authors in the world. This collection of fifteen extraordinary stories—some of which have appeared in The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine—explore the full warp and weft of experience, speaking to our unique times with Atwood’s characteristic insight, wit and intellect.
The two intrepid sisters of the title story grapple with loss and memory on a perfect summer evening; “Impatient Griselda” explores alienation and miscommunication with a fresh twist on a folkloric classic; and “My Evil Mother” touches on the fantastical, examining a mother-daughter relationship in which the mother purports to be a witch. At the heart of the collection are seven extraordinary stories that follow a married couple across the decades, the moments big and small that make up a long life of uncommon love—and what comes after.
Returning to short fiction for the first time since her 2014 collection Stone Mattress, Atwood showcases both her creativity and her humanity in these remarkable tales which by turns delight, illuminate, and quietly devastate.
Margaret Atwood is the author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. Her novels include Cat’s Eye, The Robber Bride, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin, and the MaddAddam trilogy. Her 1985 classic, The Handmaid’s Tale, was followed in 2019 by a sequel, The Testaments, which was a global number one bestseller and won the Booker Prize. In 2020 she published Dearly, her first collection of poetry for a decade.
Atwood has won numerous awards including the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Imagination in Service to Society, the Franz Kafka Prize, the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. In 2019 she was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for services to literature. She has also worked as a cartoonist, illustrator, librettist, playwright and puppeteer. She lives in Toronto, Canada.
“There are authors we turn to because they can uncannily predict our future; there are authors we need for their skillful diagnosis of our present; and there are authors we love because they can explain our past. And then there are the outliers: those who gift us with timelines other than the one we’re stuck in, realities far from home. If anyone has proved, over the course of a long and wildly diverse career, that she can be all four, it’s Margaret Atwood. Long may she reign...If you consider yourself an Atwood fan and have only read her novels: Get your act together. You’ve been missing out.”
—Rebecca Makkai, New York Times Book Review
“Old Babes in the Wood is touching, smart, funny, and unique in equal measure…A dazzling mixture of stories that explore what it means to be human while also showcasing Atwood's gifted imagination and great sense of humor.”
“These fifteen stories are a master class in how to write, a rollicking good time, and a deep exploration of human relationships—the damage we do to each other and the ways we come together. Delving into Atwood’s work feels a bit like coming home—you can trust her to tell a good story and not make any gaffes along the way.”
"Atwood explores love and loss in this brilliant collection that mixes fantastical stories about the afterlife with realism...She’s writing at the top of her considerable powers here."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"The celebrated author’s first collection of short fiction since Stone Mattress (2014)...Honest and artful depictions of aging and loss."