Margaret Atwood returns to short fiction with nine tales of acute psychological insight and turbulent relationships bringing to mind her award-winning 1996 novel, Alias Grace.
A recently widowed fantasy writer is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband in “Alphinland,” the first of three loosely linked stories about the romantic geometries of a group of writers and artists.
In “The Freeze-Dried Bridegroom,” a man who bids on an auctioned storage space has a surprise.
In “Lusus Naturae,” a woman born with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire.
In “Torching the Dusties,” an elderly lady with Charles Bonnet syndrome comes to terms with the little people she keeps seeing, while a newly formed populist group gathers to burn down her retirement residence.
And in “Stone Mattress,” a long-ago crime is avenged in the Arctic via a 1.9 billion-year-old stromatolite.
In these nine tales, Margaret Atwood is at the top of her darkly humorous and seriously playful game.