Strange Things
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Strange Things

By (author) Margaret Atwood

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Margaret Atwood's witty and informative book focuses on the imaginative mystique of the wilderness of the Canadian North. She discusses the 'Grey Owl Syndrome' of white writers going native; the folklore arising from the mysterious-- and disastrous -- Franklin expedition of the nineteenth century; the myth of the dreaded snow monster, the Wendigo; the relations between nature writing and new forms of Gothic; and how a fresh generation of women writers in Canada have adapted the imagery of the Canadian North for the exploration of contemporary themes of gender, the family and sexuality. Writers discussed include Robert Service, Robertson Davies, Alice Munro, E.J. Pratt, Marian Engel, Margaret Laurence, and Gwendolyn MacEwan. This superbly written and compelling portrait of the mysterious North is at once a fascinating insight into the Canadian imagination, and an exciting new work from an outstanding literary presence.

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  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 126 x 192 x 14mm | 140.62g
  • 04 Mar 2004
  • Little, Brown Book Group
  • Virago Press Ltd
  • London
  • English
  • 184408082X
  • 9781844080823
  • 395,034

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Author Information

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than thirty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. The Handmaid's Tale, Cat's Eye, Alias Grace were shortlisted for the Booker Prize, The Blind Assassin won in 2001, and she has won many other literary prizes in other countries.

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Review quote

[a] wittily patriotic collection of lectures INDEPENDENT on Sunday

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Review text

Something about the great snowy wastes and the forested wilderness of northern Canada has fascinated writers for well over 100 years. From darkest gothic to lightest romance, novels and short stories have been set in the far north and readers seem to lap up every detail. Acclaimed writer Margaret Atwood goes exploring not only the region but also the books that have featured northern Canada and in a witty way she details what the allure is. Among her pen portraits is the phenomenon of the so-called 'Grey Owl Syndrome', in which white writers attempt to go native to spin their ripping yarns. Those whose work comes under the spotlight include Robert Service, Alice Munro, E.J. Pratt and Gwendolyn MacEwen. This portrait of writing through the decades was originally delivered as a series of lectures at Oxford University. It translates very well into book form. (Kirkus UK)

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