Die Räuberbraut
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Die Räuberbraut

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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  22,431 ratings  ·  1,127 reviews
Margaret Atwood's The Robber Bride is inspired by "The Robber Bridegroom," a wonderfully grisly tale from the Brothers Grimm in which an evil groom lures three maidens into his lair and devours them, one by one. But in her version, Atwood brilliantly recasts the monster as Zenia, a villainess of demonic proportions, and sets her loose in the lives of three friends, Tony,Ch...more
Hardcover, 583 pages
Published 1994 by S. Fischer (first published 1993)
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Edan
My sister Lauren once said something both wise and ridiculous, and I think Atwood's beautiful, readable, and funny novel echoes the sentiment: "Women are crazy. Men are stupid." In The Robber Bride we get a peek into the lives of three women: petite academic Tony, new age, delicate Charis, and gregarious, fashionable Roz; the histories of their marriages, their childhoods, and their current day-to-day experiences in 1990s Toronto, are fascinating. All three of them have suffered at the hands of...more
Aubrey
It's books like these that makes my rarely flouted 'always finish' rule earn its keep, for it often takes going through the entirety of any work for the meshing gears of personal reception to reveal themselves to my own perception. Granted, it didn't do a very good job of serving as inspiration for one of my more creative frenzies, but it was a decent whetting stone for my analytic ability without pissing me off too much, so reading it in tandem with The Second Sex was not such a horrible mistak...more
Lavande
I like a number of Margaret Atwood's works but not this one. It was like a Lifetime movie without the benefit of Tori Spelling and a fun, melodramatic plotline. Oh, the plotline was melodramatic all right but it was far from fun or even insightful. Three friends (all of them stereotypes of the post-feminist era) have dramatic encounters with an almost mythic creature/woman named Zenia who embodies all of the "negative" qualities in a woman, namely ruthlessness, lust and wandering passion. This t...more
C.
I'm in several minds about this book, because I am head-over-heels in love with Cat's Eye by same, and a lot of this reads like Cat's Eye shifted a couple of spaces to the left.

The reason I love Cat's Eye so unreasonably is, and it's time to stop pretending this isn't true, primarily because of some things that happened in my life sometime between (approx.) my sixth and seventh readings (though I use the term 'reading' loosely) of it, and so my love for it is all bound up rather painfully with a...more
Trevor
Everybody in this novel has a motive for killing Zenia – and that is the point, or at least, one of the points. Zenia is a dark, malevolent force – one of those people we desire in the dark, middle of the forest nightmare spaces in the black pits of our souls. She is the one who knows our secret desires and who uses them against us to bring about our own undoing. At least, we would like to believe it is our undoing she seeks and that she is the agent that brings it about. But that is the thing a...more
Manny
Well a hard headed woman,
a soft hearted man
been the cause of trouble
ever since the world began.
Oh yeah, ever since the world began
He listens to Elvis with half an ear as he finishes the last few pages. He'd felt worried when his wife told him he should read it. The Fay Weldon, last year... that had left him feeling disquieted. But this one was different. He wonders if Margaret is a lady or a woman or a babe. He guesses he'd better call her a woman. Privately, though, he's decided she's a ba...more
Andrea
Interesting enough for me to finish in less than 24 hours, but lacking in anything that would provoke lasting thought or examination.

I found this book to be a great disappointment. It's basically all about how three incredibly amazing women, so smart and strong and capable within themselves, are brought down and nearly destroyed by a fourth woman, through her attack on their common weak spot: the men in their lives. The exotically, impossibly beautiful Zenia systematically targets each woman, im...more
Sarah
Update: This review recently got a few likes, bringing it back to my attention. But, honestly? I'm ashamed of it. Because, I'm trying to pretend evil women don't exist. Zenia is obviously an exaggeration...but women and girls do awful things to each other. All the time.

Back in school, I was horribly bullied by girls. Horribly. They'd hit me, shove me against the wall, walk up behind me and pull my skirt up above my waist, trip me as I was getting off the bus. Why do I pretend those things didn't...more
mark monday
atwood's splendid deconstruction and then reconstruction of the ties that can exist between women is one of her more pleasurable novels. it is full of fascinating references to fairy tales; discovering the parallels to rapunzel, sleeping beauty, and cinderella (to name just three) is an ongoing delight and the title character herself is so mysteriously poisonous yet malleable in her many faces that she becomes almost mythic. just as enjoyable is the deftness and richness of the characterization....more
Jennifer (aka EM)
Apr 21, 2013 Jennifer (aka EM) rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pathological liars and their prey
Atwood at her finest - and in some ways, meanest (I mean that in a good way). I ended up loving it, although found it started slowly, lacking her usual sly and almost remote perspective, sharp insights, biting black humour. It was almost too sincere and - gasp! - clichéd.

Then, by about p 100, it kicked in. Cunning use of language and symbolism (the eggs!) - and most of all, a study in a particularly disturbing kind of psychopathology to which so many of us have been prey. Slices to the bone and...more
Beth F.
Nov 07, 2008 Beth F. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sarah B. - I'm mailing this one to you
Reading this book was like wading into a lake that has a predictable downward slope. Your ankles get wet and you take a few more steps because you feel like taking a leisurely soak. Pretty soon your knees are wet. And then your thighs, your hips, your waist, your—AHHHHH--!!!

And then all of a sudden you find you’ve just hit a major drop-off and half of a nanosecond later you are all the way in, whether you wanted to be or not. I started this book and thought it was just sort of okay. Atwood’s pro...more
Madeline
"The story of Zenia ought to begin where Zenia began. It must have been someplace long ago and distant in space, thinks Tony; someplace bruised, and very tangled. A European print, hand-tinted, ochre-colored, with dusty sunglight and a lot of bushes in it - bushes with thick leaves and ancient twisted roots, behind which, out of sight in the undergrowth and hinted at only by a boot protruding, or a slack hand, something ordinary but horrifying is taking place.
Or this is the impression Tony has b...more
Jessica Donaghy
This book has become comfort reading me -- there's no telling how many times I've read it. Atwood has a remarkable skill for revealing how her characters think, which is a separate facet of characterization, so different from describing a character's personality or way of life. Of all the fascinating women in this book, Tony is my favorite. I identify not with her personality, but with the way she thinks.
Kirsten
May 27, 2008 Kirsten rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kirsten by: Meghan
I wasn't completely thrilled with the narrative structure of this novel: the book is broken into sections with the three primary characters explored in sequence in each section. This approach began to seem a little lumbering to me, and also a bit repetitive. However, in the middle section, events really took off and I found myself engrossed, then distanced again in the final 60 or so pages as things were wrapped up.

At first my hackles were raised at the thought that the biggest trespass one woma...more
Jody  Julian
I forced myself to read this slowly, doling it out like the last, deliciously sinful pieces of fudge. Margaret Atwood is the high priestess of fiction. The Robber Bride is a clever twist on a Brothers Grimm fairy tale called The Robber Groom. Instead of a villain, we're treated to the consummate villainess, Zenia. She rips through the lives of three women and their lovers with the predatory qualities of a top notch hunter. And the clincher is that each unsuspecting woman welcomes her into their...more
Rain
All this drama over these three losers? I just don't get it. I really don't understand women who find out that their husbands/boyfriends/girlfriends are cheating then go ballistic on the other women. What? The "other woman" is irrelevant, she took no vows, made no commitments, did not pledge her undying (faithful) love to you, the partner did. Really that's beside the point, just couldn't resist a mini-rant.

I actually related to all four women as I seem to have met each of them at some point in...more
Chris
The first Atwood novel I read was The Handmaid’s Tale. If I touch the book, I can remember that first reading. Devouring the book as I lay on the couch, the leather cool despite the fact that it was a sweltering Philadelphia summer, I remember being torn between the desire to read the book, the desire to watch the Bulgaria with its cute goalie in the World Cup, and the need to walk the dog.

Despite the strong memory and the fact that I have taught it, The Handmaid’s Tale is not my favorite Atwoo...more
Wendy
Oh. Margaret, why hath thou forsaken me? This book sucked! Two stars is just me being generous, because it's Margaret Atwood. This was a boring daytime soap opera. It could have been written by Danielle Steele. Where is the feminism? Where is the sarcasm? The satire? The point?

This far-fetched novel is about some desperately evil chick who emotionally tortures 3 women over 3 decades for no apparent reason other than she enjoys it. I couldn't be more bored and had to force myself to read it, lik...more
Peter
One of Margaret's nastier books. As often is the case the rumours that an Atwood book might actually be a thinly veiled take on the inner circles of Canlit...this one leads to endless speculation about the voracious man-thief, the insipid males and the various other characters. On the other hand it seems a relatively realistic portrayal of adultery in all its forms.
Holly
How is it possible for a mere mortal like me to describe a work of Margaret Atwood? Her prose is superb and she can craft a story, but her brilliance to me is her ability to include feminist themes and ideas in thought-provoking ways. The Robber Bride is the story of three middle-aged female friends whose common bond is past experience with a hateful and destructive woman, Zenia, who lied to, stole from, and cheated each of them. When Zenia reappears after a number of years, each character recou...more
Tony
There is a lot to like in The Robber Bride: brilliant, intelligent, witty writing and one truly great character, a diminutive, female historian named Tony who studies and teaches War. She should certainly identify War in the form of a femme fatale named Zenia who attempts to destroy Tony, her two friends, and the men in their lives. That she doesn't was for me this book's flaw.

In The Robber Bride, all men are slothful, sex-driven shits. (Except the gay guys, of course). The women are better tha...more
Rachel
Aug 11, 2007 Rachel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Someone wanting to indulge little spite
Recommended to Rachel by: College Course
Shelves: 3-liked-it
Margaret Atwood, like Toni Morrison, never ceases to amaze me in her talent for purely beautiful writing. The Robber Bride is a very entertaining read, telling the story of love, jealousy, anger, spite, revenge and friendship. The novel follows several women and delves into their twisted past regarding the love-to-hate definition of a bi-atch, Zenia. (Sorry, but no other word will suffice.) The story is so enthralling that you can't help but find yourself dying to dive in every chance you get.
Lucille
I feel like I'm going to get shot for saying this, but when I first started reading, I couldn't help thinking of the Pretty Little Liars series- the mysterious, manipulative and gorgeous friend who ruined their lives, then died, then shows back up in their lives to cause more mayhem. Obviously, this book had a lot more content to it than Pretty Little Liars, but that was my first impression.
Zenia is the embodiment of a femme fatale. She lies as easily as breathing and she knows how to get to pe...more
Shirari Industries
Aug 23, 2010 Shirari Industries rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women, people who hold grudges or who think of revenge, or who have been wronged
Recommended to Shirari by: sharon zetter
Shelves: gender
Margaret Atwood is amazing. The way she crafts such detailed and interconnected backstories for each woman in this book is pretty staggering. I loved seeing the same scenes and places from each character's very different perspective. One character has what seem to be psychic experiences including a family relationship with healing powers. Another has a refreshing take on the power of women and the weakness of men. The others are perhaps even more interesting. The resulting story is a mystery unf...more
Nancy O'Toole
Before reading The Robber Bride, I had read and loved four different Margaret Atwood novels (The Handmaid's Tale, The Blind Assassin, Cat's Eye, and Alias Grace), which put my expectations sky high. It says a lot about this book that I ended up enjoying it as much as I did, although I don't think it quiet measures up to the other Atwood novels I've read. The Robber Bride tells the story of three women, who's lives are all destroyed by the wicked Zenia, and how that shared experience ties them to...more
Amanda Nelson
I would love to give this more stars for the amazing sentences Atwood can write. Let's just pretend that I am doing so. I loved a lot of technical stuff about the book: the structure, her super-clear use of similes (something that irritates me in the hands of less skilled authors), the way she makes the female characters both archetypes of the feminine, but also deep and complex characters. Atwood's examination of what makes women act the way they do toward each other was fascinating.

But (you k...more
Stephanie "Jedigal"
Great book. Was reading this because A) I like Atwood, and B) it’s one of the Atwood titles on the 1001 list. Turns out, as I discovered pretty quickly, I had read this book before once, surprise surprise. I’m thinking it was a LONG time ago (a couple decades or more), and that I read after and because of really enjoying her AHT, my first Atwood. At any rate, reading this again I experienced a subtle and pleasant feeling of déjà vu throughout.

NOTE: COULD BE SOME SPOILERS

I thing I truly loved is...more
Melody
As always, Atwood is compelling and disturbing, a master of wit matched by theoretical and narrative power. The Robber Bride tells the story of Roz, Tony, and Charis, three old friends whose encounter with the toxic and destructive Zenia, the robber bride of the title, causes each to remember her history. Though Zenia played a destructive part in each woman's young life, it is their encounter as mature women that foregrounds Atwood's prowess as a Jungian psychoanalytic writer and theorist of the...more
Gay
This was one LONG book! It was also one of the most well-written books that I have ever read. Margaret Atwood's vocabulary, grasp of pop culture and idioms is phenomenal. On the other hand, it takes a long time for anything to happen and Zenia, who is the robber bride, is hard to believe. Can anyone be that devious, that amoral, that conniving, that evil, and that captivating? Perhaps. The story surrounds the influence that Zenia has on her three girlfriends from college and how, in each case, s...more
Blair
I feel a bit stupid admitting this - mainly because Atwood is such a well-established and respected author - but I just couldn't enjoy this book like I wanted to. It isn't that I found it poorly written, or even that I didn't think the plot was intriguing, I simply felt very strongly that there was something about the whole thing I just didn't 'get'. I found most of the characters and the details of their lives quite grotesque and unbelievable, and for some reason (and I can't think of a way to...more
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South Shore Readers: Discussion: The Robber Bride 13 21 Apr 27, 2014 09:15AM  
Into the Forest: Robber Bride Spoilers 25 20 Oct 20, 2013 12:34PM  
Into the Forest: Robber Bride No Spoilers 10 17 Sep 17, 2013 05:15PM  
Zenia: What did we actually know about her? 2 55 Oct 10, 2012 10:26AM  
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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
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“Male fantasies, male fantasies, is everything run by male fantasies? Up on a pedestal or down on your knees, it's all a male fantasy: that you're strong enough to take what they dish out, or else too weak to do anything about it. Even pretending you aren't catering to male fantasies is a male fantasy: pretending you're unseen, pretending you have a life of your own, that you can wash your feet and comb your hair unconscious of the ever-present watcher peering through the keyhole, peering through the keyhole in your own head, if nowhere else. You are a woman with a man inside watching a woman. You are your own voyeur.” 69 likes
“Genius is an infinite capacity for causing pain.” 26 likes
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