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Dancing Girls is Margaret Atwood’s highly praised first collection of short fiction. In it she explores the dark intricacies of the mind, the complexities of human relationships, and the clashes between cultures. In the stories, the mundane and the bizarre intersect in unexpected ways: ex-wives indulge in an odd feast at a psychiatrist’s funeral; a young student is pursuedDancing Girls is Margaret Atwood’s highly praised first collection of short fiction. In it she explores the dark intricacies of the mind, the complexities of human relationships, and the clashes between cultures. In the stories, the mundane and the bizarre intersect in unexpected ways: ex-wives indulge in an odd feast at a psychiatrist’s funeral; a young student is pursued by an obsessed immigrant; an old woman stores up supplies against an impending cataclysm. The fourteen stories range in setting from Canada to England, from Mexico to the United States, and portray characters who touch us and arouse in us compassion and understanding. In this astonishing collection, Margaret Atwood maps human motivation we scarcely know we have.From the Hardcover edition....

Title : Dancing Girls and Other Stories
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ISBN : 9780771008580
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Dancing Girls and Other Stories Reviews

  • Sara
    2019-03-03 06:37

    Writing effective short stories is probably more difficult than writing effective novels. You have very little space; you have to create viable, breathing characters in paragraphs instead of chapters; you have to weigh every word and know that it is essential or it must go; and you must convey something important, an idea, a thought, that lasts or has impact. Margaret Atwood does that like it is a science. I’m not generally a fan of short stories. They seem too often to leave me feeling as if there is more to the story if only the author had had the time and pages to flesh it out. Atwood seldom left me with that feeling in this collection, although I admit to loving some of the stories and feeling a little confused about others.The ones I loved:Betty Almost a coming of age tale, with the adolescent narrator who doesn’t quite understand the world of the grown-ups that she observes. Betty is part of “Betty and Fred” the couple who live next door at the cottages where her family is spending the summer, and the girl and her sister are a bit taken with Fred, but it is Betty who makes them welcomed and treats them well. Fred seems so ideal to their young minds. About half way through the tale, our narrator observes, “I began to think that I might not want to be married to Fred after all. He unrolled from Betty’s mouth like a long ribbon of soggy newspaper printed from end to end with nothing but the weather.” That simile said all.Under Glass I wanted to scream at this narrator who is involved in a relationship with a man who has just committed an infidelity and shrugs it off in a “boys will be boys” style. I wanted to tell him what no one’s ever taught him, how two people who love each other behave, how they avoid damaging each other, but I’m not sure I know.” and “He won’t come near me, touch me, doesn’t he that’s all he needs to do? He’ll wait for me to cool off, as he puts it. But if I go away like this I won’t be back.” She wishes she didn’t love him, but my question would be, why does she?The Grave of the Famous Poet A tale of alienation and breakup that felt perfectly heartbreaking to me. The setting is right for romance, but the narrator knows the romance is over. ”I pull him into me, wanting him to be with me, but for the first time I feel it’s just flesh, a body, a beautiful machine, an animated corpse, he isn’t in it any more, I want him so much and he isn’t here.” If you have ever experienced the end of love, you will recognize its shadow, whispering your name.The Sin Eater Joseph is an unorthodox shrink, who we meet through his "client" (because he doesn't call them patients or believe they are sick). "This world is all we have, says Joseph. It's all you have to work with. It is not too much for you. You will not be rescued." I could turn that last one into a mantra and share it with everyone who is young and struggling, middle-aged and feeling unsure of the path they have taken, old and feeling their time run out. You will not be rescued, but then Joseph and Atwood would probably tell you that if you pay close attention you will discover you can rescue yourself.

  • Ana Mardoll
    2019-03-07 23:55

    Dancing Girls / 0-553-37791-4This collection of Atwood short stories includes:- The War in the Bathroom- When It Happens- The Man from Mars- A Travel Piece- Polarities- The Resplendent Quetzal- Under Glass- Training- The Grave of the Famous Poet- Lives of Poets- Dancing Girls- Hair Jewelry- Giving Birth- Rape Fantasies- Betty- The Sin EaterThese stories are classic Atwood material: the stories explore pain in modern relationships, and the ennui that sets into modern life and leaves people feeling deeply sad, yet unable to explain their sadness. In the face of material security, socially acceptable relationships and jobs, and owning lavish goods and homes, why do we still feel so sad? Other stories carefully examine mental deterioration, whether mental illness ("The War in the Bathroom") as the main character slowly seems to spiral into dementia, or severe strain brought on by unusual circumstances ("A Travel Piece"). Atwood posits that, in the face of complete breakdown, a part of us still hangs onto our familiar routines, even when hanging on seems absurd. Whether this absurd cling to the familiar helps to maintain our sanity or whether it merely hastens the descent into madness is never made clear. ~ Ana Mardoll

  • Allison
    2019-02-28 00:41

    The only thing that saves this from the one-star category is the fact that I can imaging my creative writing professors at Rochester assigning these sorts of short stories, because they are right in line with all of the ones I read for class. I would read and become a bit excited near the end of the first third of the story, hoping with a bit of anticipation that now, after this confusion and meandering, everything will add up and lead to something beautiful or horrendous or at least meaningful. But after finishing the second third of the story, I finally realize that no, the first third was exactly what was going to happen throughout, and I would be destined to finish the story without finding any purpose to it at all, but I would finish it anyway, because I had already invested time and energy in the first two-thirds, and darn it, if there was some surprise at the end that made everything make sense, I didn't want to be such a lazy reader that I would miss it.But I rarely missed anything. And so, after trying four or five stories in Dancing Girls, I returned it to the library. I'll look for a novel the next time I decide to delve into Atwood.

  • Diana
    2019-03-16 01:52

    Libro que contiene ocho relatos que tratan sobre la relación entre una mujer y un hombre; algunos me han gustado más que otros. Es cierto que encontré cierta repetición... De todos modos, los leí sintiéndolos y eso ya es suficiente como para valorarlo positivamente. Además, me vi habitando en los cuerpos de las diversas mujeres que aparecen en esta colección. Hallarse supone conectarse con el autor o la autora, es por ello que el libro seguirá estando en mi estantería, reclamándome de vez en cuando. «Érase una vez» y «A favor de las mujeres tontas» me resultaron de gran importancia.Margaret Atwood es maravillosa. Sus reflexiones y su modo de plasmarlas sobre el papel me impresionan.«Pronto esatré allí, dentro están las plantas que han aprendido solas a parecer piedras. Pienso en ellas. Crecen en silencio, ocultándose en tierra reseca, nimiedades, pequeños ceros, sin más contenido que ellos mismos; sin valor alimenticio, sedantes y redondas para el ojo, y de pronto en ninguna parte. Me pregunto cuánto se tarda, cómo lo hacen».

  • Jana
    2019-03-12 02:34

    Normally, I’m a big fan of Margaret Atwood’s work, but there were a lot of elements in Dancing Girls which didn’t appeal to me. There’s a general tone of immaturity and of experimentation, and only a few of the stories actually read like they were written by the famous and noteworthy Margaret Atwood. The rest felt like they could have been written by anyone in the 1970s who liked to play around with perspective and tone.The pieces I liked were “When it Happens,” “Polarities,” “The Resplendent Quetzal,” and “Training.” These all carry what I think of as Atwood’s hallmarks: empathy for her characters, an understanding of the tough choices we humans are sometimes forced to make during our lives, and the difficulties men and women have in their communications and interactions with one another. “When it Happens” was my favorite—-there’s a timelessness to this story of an older woman preparing herself for what she considers to be the eventuality of war. While written in the 1970s, during the dual stresses of the Cold War and the Vietnam War, it could just as easily be set then, today, or twenty years from now.I wasn’t terribly interested in, or was bored by, the ten other stories in the collection. Some of them felt incomplete, as though I were reading a rough draft rather than the finished product. Some of them provided so little information about the narrator, setting, or circumstances that I couldn’t piece together what was happening. In others, the narration style was so odd that I didn’t know if the person was mentally ill, as in “Under Glass,” or possessed by some kind of spirit, as in “The War in the Bathroom.” Since no context is given outside the first-person perspective of those two stories in particular, I honestly found it difficult to care about anything which happened to the characters.It’s only because I liked four of the stories so much that I gave this collection two stars. If I had to guess, I would say that Atwood was simultaneously finding her voice as a writer and indulging in some of the avant-garde exercises of the 1970s, when many writers were testing the limits and boundaries of fiction. Readers who enjoy that will probably enjoy Dancing Girls much more than I did. Personally, I think Atwood really came into her own in the 1980s and 1990s, and I prefer her work from that time period much more.

  • Caleigh
    2019-03-12 05:49

    I prefer Atwood's novels to her short stories but I've had this book for eons and figured it was time to read it. And sure enough, I was nonplussed by most of the stories, hated a few, and enjoyed fewer still.The overall mood was definitely depressing, the attitude cynical, and if the pieces reflect Atwood's (then) opinions of relationships, she considered all men to be cheating deadbeats and women to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Several stories reminded me of dreams - disjointed, with people and places suddenly shifting so that you wonder if she's still talking about the same time period or character. And several stories seemed to be cut off a couple of sentences before the end. I'd turn the page but then...Many of the stories dealt with young women and their first jobs, first apartments, first lovers and first babies, which is to be expected given that this was one of her earliest books, comprised of stories originally printed in various magazines and periodicals at the start of her career. One can assume she was struggling to find her way as a young author in the midst of '70s feminism, with not much hope yet for a happy and balanced relationship.I can't say I loved this collection but it was interesting to get a glimpse of Margaret Atwood in her formative years as an author.

  • John
    2019-03-04 06:29

    How Does Atwood do it? With every story I am hooked within a page. I am drawn to the characters and want to know more and more. I immediately feel connected. These short stories are from a younger Atwood than ones I have read. She seems more connected to the horribleness of being young, and single, and confused in love and relationships. They were delightful through and through. Full of many familiar themes I have found in her writings. The Man From Mars – Interesting how the the kicker at the end about Vietnam dates the story. Atwood includes her familiar comments about women’s treatment of other women; the protagonist is more comfortable among men. Very enjoyable. Betty – I like how the story is told through a kid’s perspective, and how that perspective changes through time. Polarities – Ugg too close to real life experiences – Encountering a friend during a mental breakdown. Under Glass – I read it twice. Maybe my fav. I loved the overtones of the characters being dogs. Or was it undertones of dogs being liking humans?The Grave of the Famous Poet – Did not grab me. Interesting that no names are used throughout. Hair Jewlery – No maybe this one is my favorite! I also read it twice. The longings for someone who does not love you back. Why do they haunt us? Why can we never really give these people up? When It Happens – A familiar inclusion of characters who were shaped by World War 2. How living through those times molded people for the rest of their lives. A Travel Piece – This story stands out to me in that it does not feel like the rest. Though it again has references to people who have been in the war. The Resplendent Quetzal – Wonderful. I am again amazed at how connected I feel to both of the main characters in 13 short pages. Training – Uncommon to have a male protagonist, but common to have a camp setting. Not my favorite, but one that made me think. The Lives of Poets – Surprisingly bland. Dancing Girls – A story about culture clash, another frequent theme of Atwood’s. Reading her stories has opened my eyes to how multicultural Toronto and Montreal are. The Sin Eater – Love the concept. Great capture of the awkwardness of funeral where things get said that probably shouldn’t. Giving Birth – An oddly structured story. I wonder why it did not drift back up to the level it started at. But I liked it. It had an appropriate raw intensity. Writing is like giving birth.

  • Paola
    2019-03-06 23:45

    Questa raccolta di racconti mi lascia un'impressione duplice: da un lato è veramente bella, i temi, lo stile, le riflessioni infinite dei protagonisti, le ansie e le fantasie.Dall'altro ho avuto molte difficoltà nella lettura: lo stile è circonvoluto (non trovo modo migliore di definirlo) e con un vocabolario ricchissimo, c'è un continuo discorso interiore dei personaggi che si mescola in modo spesso difficile da distinguere con la realtà. Non è possibile lasciare a metà un racconto e riprenderlo a fine giornata senza dover tornare indietro di qualche paragrafo per capire se si sta leggendo una parte di riflessione o di narrazione. Una lettura complessa e molto più lenta di quello che mi sarei aspettata dopo The Handmaid's Tale.La tematica è la vita, in ogni sua sfaccettatura: amore, nascita, morte, follia, paure, solitudine. L'ambientazione è quasi sempre grigia, sporca, sciatta, fredda. I desideri, una volta soddisfatti, sono niente, le relazioni sono tutte segnate dall'incomprensione e dall'insoddisfazione. Racconti che lasciano l'amaro in bocca.

  • verbava
    2019-03-19 04:45

    іноді здається, що в цих оповідань нема ні початку, ні кінця, просто вирвані з життя моменти, які мають свою передісторію і після яких ще купа всього відбуватиметься, - розповіді без розв'язок. фейбер пише схожу коротку прозу, теж лишає читача без можливості розпружитися; як і в нього, в атвуд нічого не закінчується, є тільки проміжні зупинки, і вони не обов'язково наприкінці оповідання.символічний - і дуже потужний - текс про "давати життя" наприкінці збірки, мабуть, один із найсильніших тут.

  • Arlie
    2019-03-18 06:33

    Atwood has written a collection of stories that are almost overwhelming in their depressing portrayal of the impossibility of intimacy in relationships. Each of the narrators is isolated and overly analytical. Yet, like all her stories, they offer a look at human motivation and draw the reader in.

  • Grace
    2019-02-21 23:29

    I love collections of short stories and in Dancing Girls, Atwood really packs a punch. It combines dark humor and lyrical philosophy all together. While I feel that the title could have been better, this is a book I throughly was inspired by.

  • Chris
    2019-02-26 00:43

    The first collection of short stories by the ever prolific Margaret Atwood. When I started my #summerofwomen, one of my big goals was to bootstrap myself on the works of both Atwood and Toni Morrison, two authors I'd embarrassingly missed my entire life. Though I enjoyed Atwood's first three novels (The Edible Woman, Surfacing, and Lady Oracle), it was jumping forward to The Handmaid's Tale in October that made me realize that she really hit her stride a bit later. As such, this 1976 collection of short pieces feels not altogether formed. If I had it to do over again, I might start with Bluebeard's Egg or Wilderness Tips instead.In many cases, the ideas behind the stories are quite good -- I find myself fonder of them by explaining what they were about to a friend of mine -- but the actual experience of reading them is a bit lackluster. "The War in the Bathroom" is a short, strange piece about an old woman living in an apartment with a shared bathroom. The narrative choice (someone describing her day to day semi-omniciently, but also suggesting that she lives with the woman) gives it an unsettling edge, but not much payoff."The Man From Mars" holds up all too well, a skin-crawling story about a "well-meaning" stalker who harrasses a college girl. It's made clear that the man, also a student, is from another country and may not understand personal barriers so well. Nonetheless, he is a stalker, and the experience is rendered in uncomfortable detail. One of the best stories in the collection, but not a happy read."Polarities" is intriguing. Again taking place on a college campus, it concerns an adjunct professor and his friendship with an eccentric female graduate student who gets more agitated and strange as the story progresses. She begins to think that the city's electricity is getting out of control, and needs to be re-routed on an east-west axis, with human agents acting as resistors to push it in the right direction."Under Glass" is the first of several stories of relationships on the rocks, many of them in similar ways. Here, the new wife visits her husband (they still live separately?) to find that he's already had an affair, and probably will continue to do so. The emphasis here is on the hopelessness of knowing you've entered into a long-term contract with someone, and they've broken the cardinal rules right out of the gate."The Grave of the Famous Poet" has a couple visiting a small town in search of literary tourism. The hum-drum of their relationship is broken by a too-violent sexual escapade that is likely to break them apart.Despite the name, "Rape Fantasies" is the funniest story in the collection, and one of the most interesting. Starting with a Cosmo-style magazine piece about how all women have rape fantasies once in a while, the ladies of the office pool compare theirs. Our snarky narrator spins increasingly hilarious and absurd variants, partly to amuse herself and partly to annoy her co-workers. My favorite is the one where a rapist with a cold comes into her window, only to find that she, too, has a cold. "I'b goig to rabe you," he says through stuffy nose. They lie in bed handing each other kleenex and watching the Late Show. "Hair Jewelry" is the third relationship-on-the-rocks-in-more-or-less-the-same-way story in the book, and it's long to boot. I did like this line: "Surrounded now by the doleful young, I can only feel grateful for having escaped, hopefully forever (for I no longer believe in reincarnation), from the intolerable bondage of being twenty-one.""When It Happens" is one of the most fully realized stories in the collection. An old wife, putting up her canned pickles for the winter, begins to fantasize about the possibility of complete societal breakdown, and cannot stop. Her husband has to leave to join a militia party to keep them safe. Or does he? She sees smoke in the distance. Is the town on fire? She knows the electricity will not last much longer..."A Travel Pieces" begins lackadaisically, a travel writer grousing quietly about the quality of air travel, before the plane crashes in the middle of a large body of water. On a lifeboat, we see little attempts at power and order, calm from chaos and good planning. But they still only have a few peanuts and one bottle of water. And the sun is hot, and it's been more than 24 hours now. Immobile and unsettling."The Resplendent Quetzal" is the best of the relationship-on-the-rocks stories, with a few interesting spins on the she's bored/he's distracted dynamic. And it's about birdwatching! (Hi Mo!)"Training" is about a young man (mid-teens) named Rob, who works with disabled kids at an outdoor camp. He takes a particular liking to Jordan, who has to be restrained in her wheelchair due to seizures and involuntary muscle spasms. He has taken the job because he comes from a long line of doctors, but as a sensitive child, he has not learned to be clinical in the face of infirmity -- everything affects him. Some of the other patients, boys, are both handicapped and bullies, especially to Rob. An unfortunate incident at the talent show changes everything, and Rob accidentally receives his critical distance."Lives of the Poets" is another campus fable about the impossibility of making a living through art, and even sustaining oneself through the written word. Short but effective.The title story takes place in a tightly-packed apartment complex, a single woman living alone, a nosy, xenophobic landlady, and a strange foreign man who lives downstairs. The dancing girls of the title are heartbreaking, and the last lines are beautiful. A superb story.The final story, "Giving Birth," is an internal meditation of the fears and uncertainties of impending motherhood. Though fiction, it could just as easily have been a personal essay were it not for the presence of a ghost woman who our narrator sees on occasion, a proxy for herself, a sort of apparition of the worst case scenario. Effective and haunting.The style of the stories throughout is on par with Atwood's earliest books, which is strong and effectively crafted, but hasn't quite broken through into full-blooded mastery that it would in the years to come. A very fine start, and I look forward to exploring further.

  • Lex Columbine
    2019-03-19 07:36

    Las historias donde las protagonistas son mujeres son las mejores por el género de su autora evidentemente, comparando con las que tienen a un hombre como protagonista no logran destacar de la misma manera ni tienen una reflexión tan profunda o intima. Me gustó su narración de la cotidiano, las historias son en su mayoría tristes, no por esa cotidianidad si no por esa introspección de lo que podría ser y no fue o de lo que es ahora y no va poder ser otra cosa, personajes que se ven atrapadas y no se dieron cuenta de cómo lentamente se vieron arrastradas a esas situaciones.Esta antología tiene una carga feminista, a través de sus protagonistas que reflexionan sobre sus relaciones, sobre sus carreras y sobre cómo ven a otras mujeres.Su prosa es lenta, descriptiva y rica en palabras que me hicieron consultar unas cuantas veces el diccionario, también poética y se nota la influencia de Shakespeare. Me recordó un poco a su contemporánea Alice Munro, tiene una marca la literatura canadiense que le da una carga especial a la naturaleza, supongo que por sus altas temperaturas. Las mejores para mí, en este orden:Betty, la tumba del famoso poeta, translucida, vidas de poetas, chicas bailarinas, historia de un viaje

  • Jim
    2019-02-24 02:48

    I've read quite a bit of Atwood over the years, several of her books I have liked very much. As a short story writer I have found her less interesting, though she is a good writer. There were a few selections here I enjoyed, though it seemed that some of the stories were dated (and in fact, in turns out the stories were written in the 1970s), and a few others that I started and then discarded as not catching my interest. I liked "Polarities" the most.

  • Mariano Hortal
    2019-02-25 05:42

    Publicado en http://lecturaylocura.com/chicas-bail...Todo el mundo conoce la capacidad de crear historias de su compatriota Munro, lo que quizá no se conoce tanto es la de Margaret Atwood. Ya hablé convenientemente sobre ella en el recopilatorio “Asesinato en la oscuridad” y ahora todo ello se refrenda con este “Chicas bailarinas” que reedita Lumen en su sello de narrativa.En el anterior recopilatorio que comenté jugaba con factores distintos: más cercanos a la narración de género policíaco, ciencia ficción… En este caso, sin embargo tenemos una aproximación más acorde con la temática usada por Munro: Esa narración de lo cotidiano.Atwood es capaz de mostrarnos toda la belleza de lo sutil y hacer lo extravagante más cercano a la realidad.Consecuentemente, la mayoría de los casos estamos ante narraciones en primera persona y las mujeres son las verdaderas protagonistas. Solo tenemos que leer el relato “Betty”:“Cuando me dieron la noticia de su muerte me sentí condenada, pues me dije que por lo visto aquel era el castigo por ser abnegada y solícita, que eso era lo que les ocurría a las chicas que eran como yo (creía ser).[…] Pero las personas cambian, sobre todo después de muertas. Al dejar atrás la edad melodramática, me di cuenta de que si no quería ser como Betty tendría que cambiar. […] En cuanto a Fred, ha dejado de intrigarme. Los Freds de este mundo se delatan por lo que hacen y por lo que eligen. Son las Bettys las que resultan misteriosas.”Para comprobar cómo busca profundizar en la construcción de la identidad de la mujer en sí misma y de la evolución en la construcción de dicha identidad. Da un paso más en el fantástico “La tumba del famoso poeta” ya que adopta el entorno de la pareja para mostrarnos esa misma evolución en un marco distinto, pero muy real para la mayoría de mujeres que afrontan matrimonios no del todo avenidos:“Esto es un intervalo, una tregua. Ambos sabemos que no puede durar, han surgido demasiadas diferencias (de opinión, decimos nosotros), pero ha habido algo más; lo que para él significa seguridad para mí significa peligro. Hemos hablado demasiado o no lo suficiente: para lo que tenemos que decirnos no hay lenguaje, lo hemos intentado todo. Pienso en las antiguas películas de ciencia ficción, en el ser de otra galaxia al que finalmente se encuentra tras años de señales y de peripecias, para a la postre destruirlo porque no logra hacerse entender. En realidad, más que una tregua se trata de un descanso, esos cómicos mudos en blanco y negro que se pegan hasta desplomarse y, tras una pausa, se levantan para emprenderla de nuevo a golpes. Nos amamos, eso es cierto, signifique lo que signifique, pero no nos amamos bien; para algunos es un talento, para otros solo una adicción.”Su idea no es pontificar estableciendo una posible solución, sino mostrar una situación con todas sus consecuencias, y que cada uno juzgue en esta lectura lo que crea conveniente. Precisamente en el párrafo anterior juega con la semántica habitual de las palabras que ya conocemos para dotarlas de significados distintos, como es el caso de amor. Esta multiplicidad de resultados es signo de la realidad contemporánea que vivimos.A pesar de la indudable calidad de este tipo de relatos, no se diferencian de esas obras de arte que suponen los que ejecuta Munro. Sin embargo, cuando juega con otros factores se producen, en mi opinión, los destellos de genialidad a los que nos tiene acostumbrados Atwood.En el fantástico “Joyería capilar” encontramos muestras de este buen hacer, derrumbando a golpes uno de esos tópicos que, en la mayoría de las ocasiones, la nostalgia oculta:“Nunca he entendido por qué la gente considera la juventud una época de libertad y alegría. Probablemente se debe a que ha olvidado la propia. Rodeada ahora de lastimeros jóvenes, solo puedo sentir gratitud por haber escapado, espero que para siempre (pues ya no creo en la reencarnación), de la insoportable esclavitud de tener veintiún años.”Parece ser que cualquier tiempo pasado NO fue mejor para la canadiense. Yo particularmente estoy muy de acuerdo y prefiero disfrutar del momento actual con todas sus consecuencias.En el excepcional “Aprendizaje” y en “Dar a luz” es donde encontramos toda la fuerza poética de la escritora; del primero, con solo dos frases:“Era uno de los pocos movimientos voluntarios que podía hacer”“Lo extraño era el silencio. A esta edad, lo normal sería que los chicos gritasen, formaba parte del juego; pero allí los partidos se jugaban en silenciosa concentración.”Nos describe con una sutileza sin igual la situación, que se vuelve claustrofóbica según la estás leyendo, es un relato cargado de intensidad y que refleja con toda su crudeza los difíciles momentos que se viven en el campamento de minusválidos. Vale la pena leerlo para disfrutarlo en primera persona.“Dar a luz” supone un colofón inmejorable a esta recopilación:“Posa los dedos en mis labios cuando pronuncio esas palabras; aún no ha aprendido el secreto de formarlas. Espero su primera palabra: sin duda será milagrosa, algo que no se ha dicho todavía.”Esa primera palabra en un bebé es, indudablemente, un milagro; como cada muestra de esta estupenda escritora.

  • Micaela Alvi
    2019-03-17 23:38

    There's not much to say about this. It was just boring. The stories lacked plot and it just felt very underwhelming to me. Maybe I should just stick to her novels instead of her short stories 🤷🏻‍♀️

  • Olivia Brown
    2019-03-22 23:52

    Normally I'm a huge fan of Atwood's work, but I must say it was a somewhat arduous task to persevere with some of these stories. Some I loved, such as 'Dancing Girls', 'The Man From Mars' and 'Giving Birth'.Of the rest, most were downright depressing or failed to hold my interest. Normally a brilliant writer, Atwood adopts a more cynical attitude than usual and the absence of any form of optimism in this book makes it a difficult read. 2 stars for the stories that I enjoyed, but I can't say I will be revisiting this collection any time soon.

  • Judith
    2019-03-17 03:48

    maybe 3.5 stars. i feel like atwood's short stories are generally stronger than her prose, which sometimes rambles and baffles. she can already say so much in 10 pages. some of the short fiction is banal though; starting to believe it's a trend that i like only 30% of her compilations, so naturally out of the 14 stories i found 4 of them truly memorable1. the war in the bathroom - the first story and v refreshing in its searingly vivid descriptions. even at the end the relationship between the two main characters is still shrouded in mystery, but i can appreciate that 2. the man from mars - borderline creepy and also terribly amusing! "a lumbering elephant stampeded by a smiling, emaciated mouse" who could think up anything this creative?? where does atwood's thought process even begin??? 4. under glass - bitingly visceral. atwood at her most critical and meticulous, dissecting the layers of human relationships that we hide our intentions behind, how we fight and self-doubt and bargain, how we settle for less. makes u want to slap the protag, except u think u might do the same, in her place6. rape fantasies - by far the best story and atwood at her most magnificent!!! the capably written black comedy is really something. it makes it impossible not to laugh, and yet the entire time you're chastising yourself for it. joking about rape without trivializing it (or trivializing it without blaming the victim/turning it into farce/shying away from the power dynamics inherent in the act) takes real skill, and how cleanly she cuts through all the humor to get to the true crux of the issue: rape isn't some sexy stranger appearing in your bathroom. it's about loss of empathy, control, dominance, being seen as sub-human. the rest of the stories - including the titular one! - were less rad. but maybe i just can't relate yet.

  • Nicola Mansfield
    2019-02-22 05:33

    Quite a good collection of 1970s Atwood. A couple of excellent stories and the rest are, for the most part, refreshingly free from Atwood's militant feminism. Overall good read.1. The War in the Bathroom - Fantastic start to this collection! A woman moves to a new boarding house and the old man who coughs up a lung every morning in the bathroom next to her room annoys her. This is the premise but not what the story is about. The book is written from a very strange point of view which had me weirded out at first, then I made a guess, then another and I'm pretty sure whose pov we are getting. A nice sudden twist ending left me shaking my head in sinister delight. (4/5)2. The Man from Mars - I vaguely have an idea as to what the title refers to in this story. It's a fairly sedate story; character centred. A university girl who is very tall and large has always been thought of as one of the boys and never had any attention from a man nor has she really wanted it. But then one day she meets a stranger "from another culture" who starts to follow her leading up to the point that he is stalking her, always there in the background and visible. This suddenly makes her interesting to her friends and the men start asking her out. The ending is interesting and I really enjoyed this quiet story. (4/5)3. Polarities - A quiet man of solitude meets an efficient, organized woman at the university where they both work. At first, their relationship is friendly but brisk. Then Louise starts showing up at his place and talking about the current between the poles and completing the circle. She ends up in a mental institution. An engrossing read all about character with a confusing end. I liked it but didn't really understand it (3/5)4. Under Glass - Atwood's usual feminist drivel. A woman moaning on about how badly done to she is by a man. (0/5)5. The Grave of the Famous Poet - A couple goes to a small town where a famous author lived and was buried. They don't really have a lot of interests in common and by the end of the story, they know their relationship is over. Readable but not exciting. (3/5)6. Rape Fantasies - At first, I didn't even want to read this one with a title like that. I remember back in the early 80s when this was a thing It was in all the magazines and talk shows, like Donahue. I even read a book full of rape fantasies when I was way too young to be reading such stuff. Anyway, this is indeed about the same thing. Women in an office lunchroom start talking about it and then the narrator goes off and tells us her rape fantasies which are more like "rapist" fantasies. She always manages to stop the man by connecting with him. The story is surprisingly humorous but it definitely makes a statement. Well-written in a conversational tone, I actually really enjoyed it. (4/5)7. Hair Jewellery - A slow meandering story of a woman who reminisces about an old boyfriend, never a lover, who has haunted her rather mildly her whole life. She never really wanted him and she tells the story of their dating. But not even meeting him many years later at a conference, where they are both disappointed in what the other has become, removes him from the dusty shelf of her memory. Very readable but boring. (3/5)8. When It Happens - A mature woman whose kids have flown the nest starts worrying about "it" which we can guess is the end of the world as we know it. Her husband notices a slight change in her behaviour and she imagines how it would happen. The line blurs between what is her imagination and what is real in this story. That makes it a bit disconcerting which actually is a great feeling to go along with this plot. My favourite so far. (5/5)9. A Travel Piece - An interesting tale. A woman who wrights for the travel section of newspapers and occasional magazines is on her flight home. We listen to her thoughts as she thinks about how she must always be pleasant and look for the positive things on each of her travels This has made her feel like she isn't living a "real" life and has started to wish she did Then she is thrown into a real-life situation when her plane crashes into the middle of the ocean. Mostly a character piece and I really enjoyed it. (4/5)10. The Resplendent Quetzal - An interesting piece about a husband and wife who have grown apart and lost communication.She daydreams that he has died somehow while he daydreams killing her. Switching back and forth from her to his point of view It is from the husband we first find out about the child. This now gives us a better insight into the characters. Good! (4/5)11. Training - Beautiful! This is the best story in the collection. Concerns the inner turmoil of a young man being forced to go into the "family business", medicine. His grandfather and father were doctors/surgeons and both his older brothers are in med school. He is supposed to start pre-med this fall. But he can't stand it, the blood, the flesh, the cutting, the disease. This summer he has been sent off to be a counsellor at a camp for "crippled" children. Here he becomes attached to a non-communicative 9-year-old with cerebral palsy. His greatest terror is that one day he will go screaming mad. (5/5)12. Lives of the Poets - Semi-autobiographical I'm sure.A woman gets a nose bleed a few hours before she's to give another reading from her poetry book.She reminisces on her life up to this point, her husband a painter, their marriage, living off government art grants, not being able to produce more work fast enough to make a living and one can't help but feel that the constant mention of blood symbolises the menstrual blood. Good writing. (4/5)13. Dancing Girls - We finally come to the titular story. It's very good though not the best in the collection. A woman from Toronto is going to university in the US and lives in a boarding house. She has the only room with a kitchenette and shares a bath with the room next door. All tenants are students, mostly foreign. Now a new man comes to be her neighbour and she listens to his antics from the landlady. He does nothing, never leaves his room except to smoke and stare at the front doorway and is always borrowing the vacuum. He is no bother until the night he has a loud banging party with dancing girls. (4/5)14. Giving Birth - Readable but I didn't really get the imagery. Simply a story about a woman giving birth. Certainly not a positive point of view but not necessarily negative either, more depressing with strange images. (3/5)

  • Kari
    2019-03-04 03:52

    So far this is my least favorite of Atwood's books. It is a collection of short stories; the stories have shared feminist themes like most of Atwood's work. I do have three favorites despite it not being my favorite of her works: "The Man from Mars," "When It Happens," and "The Grave of the Famous Poet." "The Man from Mars" is an interesting tale about a woman being stalked by another student. There is an awesome twist at the end of the story when the woman narrator inquires about what happened to her stalker after he was sent out of town. Turns out he was deported later after stalking another woman...the man stalked women indiscriminately. The woman narrator is hurt by this information, because it means she isn't special after all."When It Happens" is about an older couple told through the point of view of the wife. She is worried about things changing: war, technology, the children. She spends a great deal of time watching thing change around her. "The Grave of the Famous Poet" has to be my favorite of the stories. It is about a young couple, and their relationship is ending. There is a specific quote which just had me, "We love each other, that's true whatever it means, but we aren't good at it; for some it's talent, for others only addiction."

  • Kate
    2019-03-09 02:36

    "You were, of course, the perfect object. No banal shadow of lawnmowers and bungalows lurked in your melancholy eyes, opaque as black marble, recondite as urns, you coughed like Roderick Usher, you were, in your own eyes and therefore in mine, doomed and restless as Dracula.""In the corner of his eye the old woman swelled, wavered, then seemed to disappear, and the land opened before him. It swept away to the north and he thought he could see the mountains, white-covered, their crests glittering in the falling sun, then forest upon forest, after that the barren tundra and the black solid rivers, and beyond, so far that the endless night had already descended, the frozen sea."

  • Stewart
    2019-02-24 03:56

    "Dancing Girls" is an early collection from the 1970s of short stories by Canadian writer Margaret Atwood. Like many collections of short fiction, this one contained some stories of greater interest than others. Most take place in Canada. A few of the stories look at the dividing line between fantasy and insanity and others at male-female interactions. "The Man from Mars" from 1977 is an especially good entry. It is a humorous account of cultural misunderstanding between a college student, who was in high school the president of the United Nations Club, and an immigrant who is obsessed with her from an unnamed country that must be Vietnam.

  • Tasha Robinson
    2019-02-26 23:41

    Normally I'm a huge fan of Margaret Atwood, but this early collection just felt like wading through mud for me. So many sketches of characters that go nowhere, stories that are just about a state of mind that never resolves into anything particularly telling, prose that isn't particularly interesting or lively. Her more recent work feels so much more ambitious, and deeply felt, and wise, than this. There are standouts in this collection, like the classic "Rape Fantasies," and "Training," but most of these stories were a bit of a chore for me.

  • Animlgrl
    2019-03-06 06:32

    Loved all the stories, and as with all other short story books, some more so than others. The one that REALLY stood out for me was "When It Happens" (Holy. Cow- a precursor to A Handmaid's Tale, anyone?!) "Polarities" was also fantastic, watching this man fall for a woman as she becomes less desirable to most. "A Travel Piece" UGH! I want to know what happens!!! Write a sequel, please Ms. Atwood! And "Training" was another fave, an interesting relationship between a girl with severe cerebral palsy and her camp counselor (or rather his relationship with her). Always love Atwood.

  • Raymond Markley
    2019-03-09 07:55

    While I respect the creative effort of anyone, I really had a hard time with this one. In the other things that I've read by her I find that the developed character is really interesting and I want to finish the work. More than that, when reading some of her works I get bummed out near the end and start rationing pages so I can keep reading the work as long as possible. Not so with this one. I did finish it, but had a few college flashbacks to things I was forced to read. And again I do respect anyone's creative efforts and while some moments were good here, overall a tough read.

  • Penni Russon
    2019-03-15 02:29

    This was an excellent listen. Atwood is such a fabulous storyteller and her language is superb, interesting, peppered with startling observations, but neither showy or distracting - never at the expense of character or story.

  • Nancy
    2019-02-22 23:48

    It was like someone trying to write stories for "The Twilight Zone" and failing miserably.

  • Eduardo
    2019-02-22 04:36

    Some of the stories here are fine ("The Man from Mars", "Betty", "A Travel Piece").My favorite in this collection is "The Resplendent Quetzal". Overall, not an optimum Atwood.

  • Loreley
    2019-02-27 05:45

    ზოგი მოთხრობა ძალიან მომეწონა, მაგრამ საშუალო შეფასება მაინც 3,14 გამოვიდა

  • Kristin
    2019-02-25 04:55

    Pulled this off my back-log shelf after reading the Oryx & Crake trilogy. Originally compiled in 1977, some of the stories seemed a bit data, but I found gems here and there.