Stone Mattress: Nine Wicked Tales (Paperback)
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Handmaid's Tale
In this extraordinary collection, Margaret Atwood gives us nine unforgettable tales that reveal the grotesque, delightfully wicked facets of humanity. “Alphinland,” the first of three loosely linked tales, introduces us to a fantasy writer who is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband. In “Lusus Naturae,” a young woman, monstrously transformed by a genetic defect, is mistaken for a vampire. And in the title story, a woman who has killed four husbands discovers an opportunity to exact vengeance on the first man who ever wronged her.
By turns thrilling, funny, and thought-provoking, Stone Mattress affirms Atwood as our greatest creator of worlds—and as an incisive chronicler of our darkest impulses.
A Best Book of the Year: NPR, BookRiot
About the Author
Margaret Atwood, whose work has been published in thirty-five countries, is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. In addition to The Handmaid’s Tale, her novels include Cat’s Eye, short-listed for the 1989 Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; Oryx and Crake, short-listed for the 2003 Man Booker Prize; The Year of the Flood; and her most recent, MaddAddam. She is the recipient of the Los Angeles Times Innovator’s Award, and lives in Toronto with the writer Graeme Gibson.
“Eclectic, funny, vibrant, terrifying, beautiful, and utterly delightful.” —The Boston Globe
“A tour de force of wit, style, and discernment.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“Astonishing. . . . Powerful. . . . I loved these strange, sharp and wild stories.” —Meg Wolitzer, NPR
“Pure, simple and stunning. . . . Endearing, subtle, quite brilliant.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Powerful. . . . Witty and frequently biting, Stone Mattress is keen to the ways in which we choose, all our lives, to love and to hurt—and in Atwood’s world these two actions are always choices, creating consequences for which we will one day be held to account.” —The New York Times Book Review
“[These] stories have the caustic wit and giddy deviance . . . along with the probing interiority and flinty insights of Atwood’s novels.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Danc[es] over the dark swamps of Horror on the wings of satirical wit. . . . Look at these tales . . . as eight icily refreshing arsenic Popsicles followed by a baked Alaska laced with anthrax, all served with impeccable style and aplomb. Enjoy!” —Ursula K. Le Guin, Financial Times
“Stylish, acerbic and wickedly funny. . . . With wit, sympathy and precision, Atwood draws readers into a reflective frame of mind.” —The Miami Herald
“The collection is surprisingly unsettling, gripping and at once laugh-out-loud hilarious. It attains its laudable goal: Myths last over time, and the stories in this book have that very quality. They are timeless, memorable and quite simply fun.” —Chicago Tribune
“Absorbing. . . . Impressive. . . . Stone mattresses make for restless sleep, but in this elegant collection, everyone expresses that restlessness differently.” —The A.V. Club
“Powerful. . . . Extraordinary. . . . Realism and ridiculousness, play and deadly seriousness, are held in fine balance throughout.” —The Guardian (London)
“Wise and witty. . . . Atwood writes essentially intellectual fiction, spryly coiled around solid themes, yet borrowing the amusements of pulp genres, from science fiction to horror.” —The Times Literary Supplement (London)
“Compelling. . . . Astonishing. . . . Atwood illuminates heavy themes with a lightness of touch, giving insight not only into the nature of stone but the trials and tribulations of flesh and blood.” —The Observer (London)
“A collection rich in sly humour and pulpy thrills.” —The Telegraph (London)
“This collection of short stories is charged with a delightful cheekiness, as well as a full awareness of the subjectivity of notions of justice and value. . . . Witty, weird, chirpily irreverent, somewhat hard-hearted, and hugely insightful.” —The Independent (London)
“[Atwood’s] ability to surprise and her sparkling language are on full display. . . . Stone Mattress not only showcases its author’s talents at their most refined, it also affords a glimpse behind the curtain to the woman working the megaphone.” —The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“Wickedly funny, mordantly observed ruminations on how the sexes interact. . . . With Stone Mattress, Atwood brilliantly returns to her literary roots as a deliciously funny observer of the human comedy.” —The Toronto Star