The Edible WomanPaperback - 1998
Margaret Atwood's first novel is both a scathingly funny satire of consumerism and a heady exploration of emotional cannibalism.
Marian McAlpin is an "abnormally normal" young woman, according to her friends. A recent university graduate, she crafts consumer surveys for a market research firm, maintains an uneasy truce between her flighty roommate and their prudish landlady, and goes to parties with her solidly dependable boyfriend, Peter. But after Peter proposes marriage, things take a strange turn. Suddenly empathizing with the steak in a restaurant, Marian finds she is unable to eat meat. As the days go by, her feeling of solidarity extends to other categories of food, until there is almost nothing left that she can bring herself to consume. Those around her fail to notice Marian's growing alienation--until it culminates in an act of resistance that is as startling as it is imaginative. Marked by blazingly surreal humor and a colorful cast of eccentric characters, The Edible Woman is a groundbreaking work of fiction.
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We're celebrating Margaret Atwood's 80th birthday on November 18 with some of our top picks by the prolific author. If you're a fan of Atwood, there's no doubt that you know her stories are front and center today with the television series of one of her most popular novels, The Handmaid's Tale and the recent release of the very much anticipated sequel, The Testaments. But beyond some of her… (more)
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“She's against it on principle, and life isn't run on principles but by adjustments”
“They all say, Go on to graduate studies, and they give you a bit of money; so you do, and you think, Now I'm going to find out the real truth. But you don't find out, exactly, and things get pickier and pickier and more and more stale, and it all collapses in a welter of commas and shredded footnotes, and after a while it's like anything else: you've got stuck in it and you can't get out, and you wonder how you got there in the first place.”
“I can tell you're admiring my febrility. I know it's appealing, I practice at it; every woman loves an invalid. But be careful. You might do something destructive: hunger is more basic than love. Florence Nightingale was a cannibal you know.”
“What else can I do? Once you've gone this far you aren't fit for anything else. Something happens to your mind. You're overqualified, overspecialized, and everybody knows it. Nobody in any other game would be crazy enough to hire me. I wouldn't even make a good ditch-digger, I'd start tearing apart the sewer-system, trying to pick-axe and unearth all those chthonic symbols - pipes, valves, cloacal conduits... No, no. I'll have to be a slave in the paper-mines for all time.”