It’s been a while since I’ve read a bit or Margaret Atwood. Last book of hers I’ve devoured like this was Margaret Atwood * Moral Disorder Book review and that pretty much summed up in short stories what I love about Margaret Atwood. Stories about the existential depression of human life, about how love and sex don’t have to be related and the complicated relationships between men and women.
I, on the other hand, have a devious mind and little sense of guilt. My guilt is about other things.
Wilderness Tips was an absolute joy to read. Depressing in specific areas, funny in others, filled with despair and hope in other parts. Each story exemplifies a split second in a person’s life that changes them forever. They grow from immature and naive to mature and harsh in just a few pages and all of the stories ended up being dark with themes of loss, missed chances, blunders, and sad comprehension.
Sex has been domesticated, stripped of the promised mystery, added to the category of the merely expected. It’s just what is done, mundane as hockey. It’s celibacy these days that would raise eyebrows.
The stories in this collection follow women and men in their journey through life. The women are artists, poets, word builders, painters. The men are pudgy, cheating, always going through a mid-life crisis or considering their next conquest. They are all a bit stereotypical but within the pages you can spot bits of the author and if you look close enough, bits of yourself. While the themes are all dark all ten of the stories had the same truth that rings true in every reader’s life. Time flies by quickly, changes occur, choices are made but in the end it is you that has to live with the consequences.
The melodrama tempts her, the idea of a revelation, a sensation, a neat ending. But it would not be an ending, it would only be the beginning of something else. In any case, the story itself seems to her outmoded. It’s an archaic story, a folk-tale, a mosaic artefact. It’s a story that would never happen now.