Mass Market Paperbound
720 pages, 6.9 × 4.15 × 1.2 in
March 26, 1999
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 Zenia...
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 BrideExcerpted from the author’s Address to the American Booksellers Association Convention, Miami, Florida, June 1, 1993One 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—when, as you’re aware, the sun passes from Libra into S
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 ultimately triumph.
“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.”
“Funny, thoughtful, moving…Atwood’s plotting is masterful, and her humor is razor-edged, sexy, and raucous.”
“Nobody maps female psychic territory the way Margaret Atwood does.…What a treasure she is.”
“A hugely enjoyable novel.”
–Globe and Mail
“Imaginative and suspenseful…a virtuoso performance.”
“Brilliant and entertaining.”
–Boston Sunday Globe
“Grabs the funny bone, the brain, and sometimes the throat.”
“Brilliant and entertaining.”
“Startling, provocative and rewarding.”
“Excitements, wit, and insight sizzle across the pages. Atwood’s survey of impulses that bedevil life seethes with imagination, inventiveness and intelligence.”
“Compelling and astonishingly rich…”
–Books in Canada
From the Hardcover edition.
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 men?
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 them?
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 lies?
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?