Format: Mass Market Paperbound
Dimensions: 720 Pages, 3.94 × 6.69 × 1.18 in
Published: March 26, 1999
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0770428215
ISBN - 13: 9780770428211
From the Publisher
Exploring the paradox of female villainy, this tale of three
fascinating women is another peerless display of literary
virtuosity by the supremely gifted author of Cat''s Eye
and The Handmaid''s Tale. Roz, Charis and Tony all share a
wound, and her name is Zenia. Beautiful, smart and hungry, by turns
manipulative and vulnerable, needy and ruthless, Zenia is the
turbulent center of her own perpetual saga. She entered their lives
in the sixties, when they were in college. Over the three decades
since, she has damaged each of them badly, ensnaring their
sympathy, betraying their trust, and treating their men as loot.
Then Zenia dies, or at any rate the three women - with much relief
- attend her funeral. But as The Robber Bride begins, Roz,
Charis and Tony have come together at a trendy restaraunt for their
monthly lunch when in walks the seemingly resurrected
In this consistently entertaining and profound new novel, Margaret
Atwood reports from the farthest reaches of the war between the
sexes with her characteristic well-crafted prose, rich and devious
humor, and compassion.
About the Author
Margaret Atwood is the author of over twenty-five books, including
fiction, poetry, and essays. Among her most recent works are the
bestselling novels Cat''s Eye and The Robber
Bride, and the collections Wilderness Tips and
Good Bones and Simple Murders. She lives in Toronto.
In Her Own Words: Margaret Atwood on The Robber Bride Excerpted from the author’s Address to the American Booksellers Association Convention, Miami, Florida, June 1, 1993 One of my favorite books as a child was Grimm’s Fairy Tales , the unexpurgated version—the one with the red-hot shoes. My parents sent away for it by mail order without knowing just how unexpurgated it was, and then worried that it would terrify my brother and myself. It didn’t terrify us, but it did fascinate us; and it’s from Grimm’s that I’ve derived the title of my forthcoming novel, The Robber Bride . In the original story, it’s "The Robber Bridegroom"—a tale of a wicked maiden-devouring monster—so why did I change it? Well, I was sitting around one day thinking to myself, "Where have all the Lady Macbeths gone? Gone to Ophelias, every one, leaving the devilish tour-de-force parts to be played by bass-baritones." Or, to put it another way: If all women are well behaved by nature—or if we aren’t allowed to say otherwise for fear of being accused of anti-femaleism—then they are deprived of moral choice, and there isn’t much left for them to do in books except run away a lot. Or, to put it another way: Equality means equally bad as well as equally good. From what I’ve just said, you will realize that The Robber Bride is a book with a villainess in it. What kind of villainess? Well, to begin with, a villainess who knows how to make an entrance. On October 23
From Our Editors
From the author of The Handmaid's Tale and Cat's
Eye comes a story of villainy and moral choice. Roz, Charis
and Tony are connected through their unfortunate relations with
Zenia, a needy, ruthless and manipulative woman. Entering their
lives in college, Zenia harms each of them by ensnaring their
sympathy, betraying their trust and treating their men as loot.
The Robber Bride is a novel to delight
in, as the women fall prey to this recognizable menace and then
“Atwood has never written better than in this novel of glittering breadth and dark, eerie depths.” – The Sunday Times (U.K.) “A remarkable achievement, constantly entertaining and intriguing.” – The Ottawa Citizen “Deserves every superlative we can muster from hilarious to wise .… A genuine tour de force, witty and original, suspenseful and sagacious.” – Booklist “Funny, thoughtful, moving…Atwood’s plotting is masterful, and her humor is razor-edged, sexy, and raucous.” Washington Post “Nobody maps female psychic territory the way Margaret Atwood does.…What a treasure she is.” – Newsweek “A hugely enjoyable novel.” – Globe and Mail “Imaginative and suspenseful…a virtuoso performance.” – Publishers Weekly “Wickedly funny…witty…well-observed.” – Observer (U.K.) “Brilliant and entertaining.” – Boston Sunday Globe “Grabs the funny bone, the brain, and sometimes the throat.” –Kingston Whig-Standard “Brilliant and entertaining.” – Ottawa Sun “Startling, provocative and rewarding.” – Canadian Forum “Excitements, wit, and insight sizzle across the pages. Atwood’s survey of impulses that bedevil life seethes with imagination, inventiveness and intelligence.” -Peter Kemp “Compelling and astonishingly rich…
1. In The Robber Bride Tony says that people like Zenia
don''t get into your life unless you invite them in. What devices
does Zenia use to first gain entry into the lives of Tony, Charis,
and Roz? How does she alter her techniques to attract and control
2. On the surface, Tony, Charis, and Roz are not a bit alike yet
similarities exist. For example, during their childhoods they each
developed what could be called "dual" identities. How do the
psychological devices they developed as children help or hinder
3. While seeming all-powerful, the constantly changing Zenia
lacks a center of her own. Do women have to break rules and operate
as outlaws to achieve the same power as men? Do women have a kind
of power that is different from male power?
4. Is there a difference between the lies Zenia tells and those
told by other characters in the novel? Are there "good" lies and
"bad" lies? Do the hearers play a role in the construction of these
5. Read the poem "The Robber Bridegroom," reversing gender as
you read. What does this poem tell us about the nature of evil?
6. The American writer Lewis Hyde has asked, "Why is the
Trickster the Messenger of the Gods?" Is Zenia a trickster? Is she
also a messenger of the gods, and how?
7. Think of female villains from literature and film. What do
they seem to have in common? Is female villainy portrayed
differently from that of men?
8. William Blake said of Milton''s Paradise Lost that
Milton often seemed to be of the devil''s part without knowing it.
Does Atwood have a sneaking sympathy for Zenia? Do you?