Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood (Galley)
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Genre: Fiction, short stories, horror, vampires, literary, fantasy, further proof that Margaret Atwood can do no wrong
Rating: 4.89 out of 5 stars
Summary: Margaret Atwood returns to the short story form (at least anthology-wise) for the first time since her 2006 collection Moral Disorder. With nine tales centered around long dead authors, soon to be dead authors, old age and death and ranging from tales about severed hands and vampires, to long-dead grooms, tiny imagined people and death by stromatolite, this is Atwood at her darkly comedic best.
Despite the seemingly impossible feat I may have set for myself, I decided to go a different route with this short story collection and rate these nine stories (or rather tales) written by the perpetually fabulous Margaret Atwood and order them from best tale to worst tale. Worst being a relative term since really, I loved them all. Honestly, if I were rating them according to US academia none would receive lower than an A.
While only three of the tales are interconnected, the same themes run through all the stories. Specifically themes of aging and in turn death (through either murder or old age), revenge, change (the old making way for the new and the juxtaposition that comes with it) and acceptance.
Most of these ideas Atwood explores through classical poetry, literature, and more specifically, long dead poets and authors, always keeping in mind (to borrow a quote) that storytellers never die. They just disappear into their own stories.