Wilderness Tips
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Wilderness Tips

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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  4,448 ratings  ·  221 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, 240 pages
Published March 16th 1998 by Anchor (first published 1991)
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Manny
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...more
Madeline
"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
Miquela
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...more
Kinga
Poignant!
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...more
zespri
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...more
karen
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!
Sus
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
Rachel
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
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...more
Tania
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...more
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...more
Bitsy
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...more
Barbara
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...more
Alan
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?
Katie
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
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...more
Julie
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
Monica
"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.


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.
Kate
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 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.
Debbie
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.
Snotchocheez

Just further proof (in my mind, anyway) that Ms. Atwood is a genius. I liked almost all these short stories, a few (like "Hairball", perhaps pandering to the kitty lover in me) were masterpieces.
Nikki
It was quite interesting to read Atwood's writing in the short story form. Her writing isn't what I'd normally go for, but I still find it very interesting to read.
Cheryl
Dec 12, 2008 Cheryl added it
My all time favorite collection of short stories EVER. I love the way one tiny detail, one glimpse of a secret, one chance meeting, alters everything.
Hawkin47
I loved this book. I first read the word chiaroscuro in this book, when I was maybe 13, and I still remember the context. That's how vivid her words are.
David
Death by Landscape: Brill.
Heather
I will always remember this book as one of my first Atwood samplings (this review is based on a re-read). My brother read to me the following passage from "Death by Landscape," and, as a former Girl Guide and Boy Scout with our fair share of youth camping experience, we both cracked up, and heralded Atwood as a comedic genius:

"Cheerfulness was required at all times, even at breakfast. Loud shouting and the banging of spoons on the tables were allowed, and even encouraged, at ritual intervals......more
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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
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

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