The Tent ) chronicles 60 years of a Canadian family, from postwar Toronto "/>
 

Moral Disorder

Margaret Atwood, Author
Margaret Atwood, Author . Doubleday/ Talese $24.95 (255p) ISBN 978-0-385-50384-6
Reviewed on: 07/24/2006
Release date: 09/01/2006
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An intriguing patchwork of poignant episodes, Atwood's latest set of stories (after The Tent ) chronicles 60 years of a Canadian family, from postwar Toronto to a farm in the present. The opening piece of this novel-in-stories is set in the present and introduces Tig and Nell, married, elderly and facing an uncertain future in a world that has become foreign and hostile. From there, the book casts back to an 11-year-old Nell excitedly knitting garments for her as yet unborn sister, Lizzie, and continues to trace her adolescence and young adulthood; Nell rebels against the stern conventions of her mother's Toronto household, only to rush back home at 28 to help her family deal with Lizzie's schizophrenia. After carving out a "medium-sized niche" as a freelance book editor, Nell meets Oona, a writer, who is bored with her marriage to Tig. Oona has been searching for someone to fill "the position of second wife," and she introduces Nell to Tig. Later in life, Nell takes care of her once vital but now ravaged-by-age parents. Though the episodic approach has its disjointed moments, Atwood provides a memorable mosaic of domestic pain and the surface tension of a troubled family. (Sept. 19)

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