The Robber Bride

Paperback | October 24, 1998

byMargaret Atwood

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Margaret Atwood's The Robber Bride is inspired by "The Robber Bridegroom," a wonderfully grisly tale from the Brothers Grimm in which an evil groom lures three maidens into his lair and devours them, one by one.

But in her version, Atwood brilliantly recasts the monster as Zenia, a villainess of demonic proportions, and sets her loose in the lives of three friends, Tony, Charis, and Roz. All three "have lost men, spirit, money, and time to their old college acquaintance, Zenia. At various times, and in various emotional disguises, Zenia has insinuated her way into their lives and practically demolished them. To Tony, who almost lost her husband and jeopardized her academic career, Zenia is 'a lurking enemy  commando.' To Roz, who did lose her husband and almost her magazine, Zenia is 'a cold and treacherous bitch.' To Charis, who lost a boyfriend, quarts of vegetable juice and some pet chickens, Zenia is a kind of zombie, maybe 'soulless'" (Lorrie Moore, New York Times Book  Review). In love and war, illusion and deceit, Zenia's subterranean malevolence takes us deep into her enemies' pasts.

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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 tr...

From the Publisher

Margaret Atwood's The Robber Bride is inspired by "The Robber Bridegroom," a wonderfully grisly tale from the Brothers Grimm in which an evil groom lures three maidens into his lair and devours them, one by one. But in her version, Atwood brilliantly recasts the monster as Zenia, a villainess of demonic proportions, and sets her loose ...

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than forty volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction, but is best known for her novels, which include The Edible Woman (1969), The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), The Robber Bride (1994), Alias Grace (1996), and The Blind Assassin, which won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000. A ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:624 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 1.6 inPublished:October 24, 1998Publisher:McClelland & StewartLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0771008546

ISBN - 13:9780771008542

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Reviews

Rated 1 out of 5 by from Keep Your Enemies Closer A woman changes the lives of 3 other females for the worst. She lies, betrays and steals their men (as well as money), and suddenly, she's back....I did not like this book.... I was confused most of the time and I didn't even bother finishing it.
Date published: 2009-03-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic read This is one of the best books I have read. If you like any of Atwood's works you will surely love this one. Once I started it, I couldn't put it down...Typical Atwood: beautifully written, an amazing story, with that dark witty humour. I loved it.
Date published: 2008-11-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Women will relate to the fabulous characters This book captivated me -- I couldn't put this book down. Zenia is such a great female villain, she makes the book an irresistible read. The other female characters are well-developed and given such interesting qualities and lives. Atwood's Alias Grace and Cat's Eye are better all-round books than this one, but this book has a certain wisdom in it communicated through the lives of the very different women who are united in their dislike for one woman, and yet despite this they all seem to have learned something valuable through Zenia.
Date published: 2003-08-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Atwood's Apogee Margaret Atwood is often hailed as an iconoclast in Canadian fiction, and rightly so. From her first novel "The Edible Woman" to her prize winning "The Blind Assassin", her prose and poetry are a boon to the literary world. However, with her novel "The Robber Bride", she reaches a pinnacle in the creation of a multidimensional work. Set in Toronto at the beginning of the '90's, the story follows the lives, past and present, of three friends and the effects on them of their nemesis, the cunning, beautiful and manipulative Zenia. As she preys upon them (and their men), Atwood does a remarkable job of tying the past and present of the three women together and exploring their weaknesses and strengths as Zenia unleashes her almost-supernatural powers. Rich with metaphor and comparison, one cannot help perusing the idea of such a villain(ess) entering into one's own circumstances, perish the thought. A novel of intelligence and wit, but also simple story telling, "The Robber Bride" is a must read for anyone who considers themselves literate and Canadian.
Date published: 2001-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Intricately Woven Tale I just finished reading Margaret Atwood's Robber Bride and I thought it was amazing! She is my favourite author and she definitely did not disappoint with this novel. The twists and turns, the insinuations, and the underlying meanings were wonderful. I couldn't put it down!
Date published: 2001-01-05

Extra Content

Bookclub Guide

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 do not appear to be at all alike, yet similarities do in fact 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? In what ways do their own children differ from them?3. While seeming all-powerful, the constantly changing Zenia lacks a centre of her own. Is it possible for women to achieve the same kinds of power that men do in today's society, or do they have to break rules and operate as outlaws? Do women have a kind of power that is different from male power?4. Magic can mean two things: sleight of hand played by stage magicians, and true "magic," or supernatural ability. What role does each kind of "magic" play in the novel, if any?5. The restaurant where Zenia reappears is called The Toxique. What role does naming - of persons and places - play in this novel?6. Is there a difference between the lies others tell and Zenia's lies? Are there "good" lies and "bad" lies? Do the hearers play a role in the construction of these lies? Discussion questions provided courtesy of Anchor Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. All rights reserved.

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. 

Editorial Reviews

WINNER OF THE TRILLIUM BOOK AWARDFINALIST FOR THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S AWARD FOR FICTION“Atwood has never written better than in this novel of glittering breadth and dark, eerie depths.” The Sunday Times  “A remarkable achievement, constantly entertaining and intriguing.” The Ottawa Citizen “Funny, thoughtful, moving…. Atwood’s plotting is masterful, and her humor is razor-edged, sexy, and raucous.” The 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 “Brilliant and entertaining.” Boston Sunday Globe “Brilliant and entertaining.” Ottawa Sun