Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Wilderness Tips” as Want to Read:
Wilderness Tips
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Wilderness Tips

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  4,780 ratings  ·  241 reviews
In each of these tales Margaret Atwood deftly illuminates the single instant that shapes a whole life: in a few brief pages we watch as characters progress from the vulnerabilities of adolescence through the passions of youth into the precarious complexities of middle age.By superimposing the past on the present, Atwood paints interior landscapes shaped by time, regret, an ...more
Paperback, 228 pages
Published March 16th 1998 by Anchor (first published 1991)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Wilderness Tips, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Wilderness Tips

Nine Stories by J.D. SalingerThe Complete Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan PoeA Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O'ConnorDubliners by James JoyceThe Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Collections of Short Stories
160th out of 1,663 books — 1,323 voters
The Firm by John GrishamOutlander by Diana GabaldonSophie's World by Jostein GaarderThe Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison WeirWild Swans by Jung Chang
Best books of 1991
23rd out of 157 books — 67 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
His wife has left Wilderness Tips lying on the coffee table, and he picks it up. Over the last twenty years, several women have told him to read it. He doesn't like to be pushed into things.

Now, though, his curiosity has got the better of him. The first few pages do make him a little uneasy. The scene where the boys are spying on the waitresses' beach party through their binoculars. He also feels like a voyeur. But that soon disappears. He isn't overhearing her private conversations: Margaret i
"He is English and Jewish, both at once. To Marcia he seems more English; still, she isn't sure whether his full name is Augustus or Gustav or something else entirely. Possibly he is also gay; it's hard for her to tell with literate Englishmen. Some days they all seem gay to her, other days they all seem not gay. Flirtation is no clue, because Englishmen of this class will flirt with anything. She's noticed this before. They will flirt with dogs if nothing else is handy. What they want is a reac ...more
I checked this out of the local library and downed it very quickly, more to be done with it that from extreme enjoyment.

While I think Atwood is a terrific stylist, her works leave me cold, and her endings invariably disappoint. I didn't care a whit for anyone or anything in these stories, which I don't think even merit the appellation "story." Rather they should be called depressing vignettes of depressing people.

Although Lois in "Death by Landscape" merited a bit of pity, Atwood did not do any
I have been waiting a long time to use this word in a review. I really liked this collection and it comes as no surprise considering I am Atwood’s fangirl and have been for a long time.
I feel everyone will something else to speak to them in these stories. Some people might like the descriptions of the changes in Toronto over decades. Some might find this mood of melancholy particularly moving.

To me it was the summer camps which play an important in two of the stories: True Trash and D
This is a marvellous collection of short stories by Margaret Attwood. How does she do it? Each story opens with a cracker of a first line, and ends with me feeling like i have had the stuffing knocked out of me. These are stories to be read one at a time and savoured.

"When Susanna was nearly five, Susanna did a tap dance on a cheese box." What? Who wouldn't want to read on with a first line like that.

Margaret Attwood seems to have the ability to take hold of a feeling and give it words, give th
I enjoy Atwood (I have previously read The Handmaid's Tale, Bodily Harm, Oryx And Crake, The Blind Assasin...and I think that's it) and had not read any of her short stories before. While I liked most of the short stories, I didn't find them as compelling as her novels. They were interesting to me but a little depressing, as they were mostly about lives that didn't go the way that people thought they would, lost potential, and also how time passes us by. Eek!
I really like this collection. Margaret Atwood is very interesting to me, and in some ways a kind of model. I admire how she can make relationships between men and women, which are not, to me, inherently interesting, the right stuff to build a story around. She does this by judicious employment of sometimes extravagant metaphor. Which is pretty much how everybody does it, everybody writing "literary" "short fiction," but somehow I like how she does it. This is probably partly because of her weir ...more
nu re, atkal mana problēma ar krājumiem. kā man vērtēt tādu čupu stāstu, kur katrs īstenībā ir pats par sevi? dažiem dotu trīs zvaigznes, dažiem piecas, daži bija citu atkārtojumi vai tik (negribu teikt vāji, jo tas ir nepieklājīgi pret tādu rakstnieci) nu, tik bālāki, ka varēja arī nebūt.
kopumā jau jāsaka, ka man patika. man patīk atvudas valoda, bet man ir aizdomas (nu labi, es zinu, esmu lasījis penelopiādi), ka šeit tā nav redzama visā krāšņumā. gribu lasīt vēl viņas lietas.

man pat patīk,
May 21, 2010 Rachel added it
Shelves: fiction, 2010
I'm not going to rate this because I don't have a solid enough memory of it. I do have a vague sense of unease thinking about it, though. Isn't inciting a vague sense of unease one of Margaret Atwood's specialties? I guess that would merit it a few stars.
Jean Carlton
I enjoy Atwood's writing style. The stories are powerful, sometimes unsettling and rather bizarre but thought provoking. As with all collections of short stories some are more meaningful to me than others. I have learned to read collections of stories differently than I read a novel. I read one story and then close the book. I need at least a bit of time to digest what I've read, especially in the case of well written rather 'deep' stories. AS I think about it I seem to get more out of it.
If I g
Aug 17, 2011 Tania rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Atwood fans; short story fans
I am not a fan of the short story genre; in fact, the only reason I picked up this book is because I am such an enormous fan of Margaret Atwood's. The mere fact that this collection held my attention well enough for me to complete it is in itself a major feat. In reality, were half stars an option I'd probably give it 3.5.

As usual, Atwood focuses on all aspects of female experience: love, relationships, sex, power. She's a gifted wordsmith who has an uncanny ability to get to the heart of matte
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
It is hard to comment on such a perfectly executed collection of short stories as those found in Margaret Atwood's Wilderness Tips. The ten short stories in this collection include: True Trash, Hairball, Isis in Darkness, The Bog Man, Death by Landscape, Uncles, The Age of Lead, Weight, Wilderness Tips, and Hack Wednesday.
I can honestly say that I found them all equally brilliant.

The collection of stories covers the unpredictability of life: disappearances, betrayals, affairs, revenge, reflectio
In Wilderness Tips, Margaret Atwood writes ten short stories that are at once poignant and deeply disturbing. Each story illustrates one moment in a person’s life that changes them forever. They grow from young and idealistic to old and bitter in the space of a few pages and all of the stories ended up being dark in one way or another. They all carried themes of loss, missed opportunities, mistakes, dead ends and sad realizations.

They all took place in Canada, with some containing native Canadia
The writing, of course, was excellent - good imagery, engaging, at times humorous - but the stories are relentlessly depressing. Each one is about a middle-aged woman going through a sort (and all pretty much the same sort) of crisis. She's arrived at this point in her life armed with both a firm set of beliefs and a hardened ego, contemptuous of men and marriage; if she's single, she's having an affair with a married man, and if she's married, she's thinking about straying outside the home hers ...more
Jakey Gee
She can do no wrong.

A really enjoyable, sun-bleached, nostalgic collection, this. Most of the stories (‘Hairball’ is a bit of a Roald Dahl-y exception) feel quite wistful and retrospective, looking back on childhood, early relationships, formative moments and near-misses. I often found them sweetly sobering: the things we don’t know, the people we trusted, the way things might have been…

A few really stood out for me: ‘Death by Landscape’ (about the girls’ fated canoe trip) was a gorgeous pictu
taken me ages to get to this. Review coming, but meanwhile just want to boast. I realised as I opened this book that the story 'The Age of Lead' was in this collection with me!:

 photo bbs91cover14.jpg

here's the table of contents:
bbs 91 contents photo bbs91contents1.jpg

sorry, but it's not often you get a contents page that reads Atwood, Barnes, Beard, Boyd... and also includes two of my other favourite authors Munro and Trevor. So, good excuse to display the evidence...
..oh, it hasn't displayed. Bollocks. I'll try again...has it now?
This is classic Atwood in easy-to-chew pieces. The stories, ranging from mildly depressing to deeply tragic, are almost beside the point. She is the loner kid who sits at the table watching everyone, learning (from a distance) to see beneath the insouciance, rebellion, the nearly unflappable cool… horribly scarred characters in her books always have some kind of redeeming value. There are no one-dimensional villains in her worlds, and the most pathetic dooms are portrayed with compassion. Yet on ...more
Bindu Manoj
3.5, if there was option for that. Quintessential Atwood. The punch was comparatively mild, maybe because it was immediately after acerbic to the hilt 'Good Bones'
Kathy Hiester
Wilderness Tips by Margaret Atwood is an anthology of ten short stories that are touching but yet extremely unsettling. Each story exemplifies a split second in a person’s life that changes them forever. They grow from immature and naive to mature and harsh in just a few pages and all of the stories ended up being dark with themes of loss, missed chances, blunders, and sad comprehension. While the themes are all dark all ten of the stories had the same truth that rings true in every reader’s lif ...more
Sam Hunter
A really nice collection of short stories. My favourite by a fairly wide margin is 'Hairball'. Some of Atwood's stories are a little dry—brilliant, but dry. Hairball is dirty, visceral, and wildly funny. 'True Trash', 'Isis in Darkness' (though it petered out a bit toward the end), and 'The Bog Man' are also excellent.
Weirdly, my four favourites are the first four stories in the collection so maybe I suffered from Atwood-fatigue midway through. Maybe I don't empathize as well with the protagoni
Dan Keating
I've never read Margaret Atwood before, despite owning several novels and hearing from just about everyone that I would love her.

Well, jury's in, I love Margaret Atwood.

With some reservations. Each story in "Wilderness Tips" stands alone very well, but as an overall collection, it hits the same notes a few too many times - regarding dealing with middle-age, sexual frustration outside the traditional bounds of shame, anthropology, writing for newspapers, and camps. If you're reading straight thro
An enjoyable readable book. Lots of Canadian summer camps and intense friendships between young girls ("True Trash" and "Death by Landscape"). Men and women with intense professional relationship. Extra-marital affairs, feminism. Preserved men, in swamps and ice respectively ("The Bog Man" and "The Age of Lead"). I think my favorite stories were "The Bog Man" and "Uncles"--the latter especially is an exceedingly mysterious tale. I couldn't figure out if the narrator was criticizing the main prot ...more
The next book in my Margaret Atwood month is Wilderness Tips, a book of ten short stories (I think this Maragret Atwood month may evolve into a Margaret Atwood obsession).

As keen eyed followers of the this blog, some of you will probably be saying: “But Hannah! Don’t you find short stories difficult to empathise/get involved with? And was it not on these grounds that you so cruely slandered Joyce’s Dubliners only a few days ago?”

Yes yes I know shut up, but this is Atwood we’re talking about.

S.L. Dixon
This is a wonderfully engaging set of stories.
Most of the stories focused on the sum of a life leading up to a moment, stopping at moment and glimpsing beyond. Most had a rather defeatist sway to them, good times gone, or missed all together.
These stories often branched out into tangents, but somehow the quality of writing made every minute piece of side story, every ancillary character, meaningful if only that it segued somewhere else.
Every character fit and felt real, the dialogue w
"I see these wives, packs of them, or pairs or teams, loping around in their tennis whites, over at the club. Smug, but jumpy." This is what I love most about this author; she paints vivid pictures with her words.

Of all the stories, "True Trash" and "Death by Landscape" were my favorites. Two very memorable stories that I will read again and again.

Lib King
This is interesting. A critique of a particular viewpoint of a particular feminism at a particular time. An examination of particular roles set out for women and for men and how they're filled, and some subversions of the expected. In particular, hairball, the bog man and uncles are quite sharp in their analysis of some typical tropes. Isis in darkness is also hilarious & great, and I loved the age of lead. Some of the others I found a bit dated or missing something, or somehow missing the p ...more
Rev. Nyarkoleptek
Jesus. Atwood's a fine writer, but in this collection of short stories, every lead character is in deep emotional pain, and when descriptive prose like Atwood's is brought to bear on lives like that, the results are excruciating.

These stories are almost pornographies of despair.
So glad I found this selection of Atwood short stories. A fantastic collection which was difficult to put down. Each tale had its own unique style/message a selection of gems. It is certainly a book I will return to when I need a little "literary pick me up" .
missy ward-lambert
It's becoming clear that Margaret Atwood is some kind of literary soulmate for me. She notices the same kinds of things as I notice, she says things exactly how I wish I could say them. This collection of short stories is astonishingly lovely.
I love Margaret Atwood! There I said it. This collection of short stories is great and really showcases her quirky, dark sense of humour. My favourites were Hairball, Uncles and Weight. A great read.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
delicious - spoiler ahead 3 4 May 15, 2014 12:40PM  
JPMorgan whistle-blower gets $64M for mortgage fraud tips 1 1 Mar 16, 2014 11:50PM  
  • Island: The Complete Stories
  • The Moons of Jupiter
  • Stones
  • The Collected Stories of Carol Shields
  • We So Seldom Look on Love
  • A Bird in the House
  • As for Me and My House
  • Murther and Walking Spirits
  • Swamp Angel
  • Shiloh and Other Stories
  • Small Change
Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master's degree from Radcliffe College.

Throughout her writing career, Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and honourary degrees. She is the author of more than thirty-five volumes of poetry, childr
More about Margaret Atwood...
The Handmaid's Tale Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam Trilogy, #1) The Blind Assassin The Year of the Flood (MaddAddam Trilogy, #2) Alias Grace

Share This Book

“Knowledge is power only as long as you keep your mouth shut.” 5 likes
“Once in a while, though, he went on binges. He would sneak into bookstores or libraries, lurk around the racks where the little magazines were kept; sometimes he'd buy one. Dead poets were his business, living ones his vice. Much of the stuff he read was crap and he knew it; still, it gave him an odd lift. Then there would be the occasional real poem, and he would catch his breath. Nothing else could drop him through space like that, then catch him; nothing else could peel him open.” 4 likes
More quotes…