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Dancing Girls and Other Stories

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3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,456 Ratings  ·  144 Reviews
Students and journalists; farmers and birdwatchers, ex-wives, adolescent lovers - and dancing girls. All ordinary people or are they? In this splendid collection of short stories, Margaret Atwood maps the human motivation we scarcely know we have in a startlingly original voice, full of a rare intensity and exceptional intelligence. With brilliant flashes of fantasy, humou ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 5th 2007 by Vintage Books London (first published 1977)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sara Steger
Jun 18, 2016 Sara Steger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Writing effective short stories is probably more difficult than writing effective novels. You have very little space; you have to create viable, breathing characters in paragraphs instead of chapters; you have to weigh every word and know that it is essential or it must go; and you must convey something important, an idea, a thought, that lasts or has impact. Margaret Atwood does that like it is a science.

I’m not generally a fan of short stories. They seem too often to leave me feeling as if th
...more
Allison
Nov 12, 2008 Allison rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The only thing that saves this from the one-star category is the fact that I can imaging my creative writing professors at Rochester assigning these sorts of short stories, because they are right in line with all of the ones I read for class. I would read and become a bit excited near the end of the first third of the story, hoping with a bit of anticipation that now, after this confusion and meandering, everything will add up and lead to something beautiful or horrendous or at least meaningful. ...more
Jana
Mar 31, 2015 Jana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Normally, I’m a big fan of Margaret Atwood’s work, but there were a lot of elements in Dancing Girls which didn’t appeal to me. There’s a general tone of immaturity and of experimentation, and only a few of the stories actually read like they were written by the famous and noteworthy Margaret Atwood. The rest felt like they could have been written by anyone in the 1970s who liked to play around with perspective and tone.

The pieces I liked were “When it Happens,” “Polarities,” “The Resplendent Qu
...more
Caleigh
Jan 01, 2012 Caleigh rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, short-stories
I prefer Atwood's novels to her short stories but I've had this book for eons and figured it was time to read it. And sure enough, I was nonplussed by most of the stories, hated a few, and enjoyed fewer still.

The overall mood was definitely depressing, the attitude cynical, and if the pieces reflect Atwood's (then) opinions of relationships, she considered all men to be cheating deadbeats and women to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Several stories reminded me of dreams - disjointed, wit
...more
Ana Mardoll
Feb 20, 2011 Ana Mardoll rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ana-reviewed
Dancing Girls / 0-553-37791-4

This collection of Atwood short stories includes:
- The War in the Bathroom
- When It Happens
- The Man from Mars
- A Travel Piece
- Polarities
- The Resplendent Quetzal
- Under Glass
- Training
- The Grave of the Famous Poet
- Lives of Poets
- Dancing Girls
- Hair Jewelry
- Giving Birth
- Rape Fantasies
- Betty
- The Sin Eater

These stories are classic Atwood material: the stories explore pain in modern relationships, and the ennui that sets into modern life and leaves people feelin
...more
verbava
Dec 14, 2012 verbava rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
іноді здається, що в цих оповідань нема ні початку, ні кінця, просто вирвані з життя моменти, які мають свою передісторію і після яких ще купа всього відбуватиметься, - розповіді без розв'язок. фейбер пише схожу коротку прозу, теж лишає читача без можливості розпружитися; як і в нього, в атвуд нічого не закінчується, є тільки проміжні зупинки, і вони не обов'язково наприкінці оповідання.
символічний - і дуже потужний - текс про "давати життя" наприкінці збірки, мабуть, один із найсильніших тут.
Grace
I love collections of short stories and in Dancing Girls, Atwood really packs a punch. It combines dark humor and lyrical philosophy all together. While I feel that the title could have been better, this is a book I throughly was inspired by.
John
Jun 08, 2013 John rated it really liked it
How Does Atwood do it? With every story I am hooked within a page. I am drawn to the characters and want to know more and more. I immediately feel connected.

These short stories are from a younger Atwood than ones I have read. She seems more connected to the horribleness of being young, and single, and confused in love and relationships. They were delightful through and through. Full of many familiar themes I have found in her writings.

The Man From Mars – Interesting how the the kicker at the e
...more
Kari
May 16, 2009 Kari rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
So far this is my least favorite of Atwood's books. It is a collection of short stories; the stories have shared feminist themes like most of Atwood's work. I do have three favorites despite it not being my favorite of her works: "The Man from Mars," "When It Happens," and "The Grave of the Famous Poet."

"The Man from Mars" is an interesting tale about a woman being stalked by another student. There is an awesome twist at the end of the story when the woman narrator inquires about what happened
...more
Mariano Hortal
Publicado en http://lecturaylocura.com/chicas-bail...

Todo el mundo conoce la capacidad de crear historias de su compatriota Munro, lo que quizá no se conoce tanto es la de Margaret Atwood. Ya hablé convenientemente sobre ella en el recopilatorio “Asesinato en la oscuridad” y ahora todo ello se refrenda con este “Chicas bailarinas” que reedita Lumen en su sello de narrativa.
En el anterior recopilatorio que comenté jugaba con factores distintos: más cercanos a la narración de género policíaco, cie
...more
Animlgrl
Feb 19, 2015 Animlgrl rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2015
Loved all the stories, and as with all other short story books, some more so than others. The one that REALLY stood out for me was "When It Happens" (Holy. Cow- a precursor to A Handmaid's Tale, anyone?!) "Polarities" was also fantastic, watching this man fall for a woman as she becomes less desirable to most. "A Travel Piece" UGH! I want to know what happens!!! Write a sequel, please Ms. Atwood! And "Training" was another fave, an interesting relationship between a girl with severe cerebral pal ...more
Kate
Jan 17, 2010 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Atwood devotees
Recommended to Kate by: TS/ handling
Shelves: short-stories
"You were, of course, the perfect object. No banal shadow of lawnmowers and bungalows lurked in your melancholy eyes, opaque as black marble, recondite as urns, you coughed like Roderick Usher, you were, in your own eyes and therefore in mine, doomed and restless as Dracula."

"In the corner of his eye the old woman swelled, wavered, then seemed to disappear, and the land opened before him. It swept away to the north and he thought he could see the mountains, white-covered, their crests glittering
...more
Kristin
Pulled this off my back-log shelf after reading the Oryx & Crake trilogy. Originally compiled in 1977, some of the stories seemed a bit data, but I found gems here and there.
Stewart
"Dancing Girls" is an early collection from the 1970s of short stories by Canadian writer Margaret Atwood. Like many collections of short fiction, this one contained some stories of greater interest than others. Most take place in Canada. A few of the stories look at the dividing line between fantasy and insanity and others at male-female interactions.
"The Man from Mars" from 1977 is an especially good entry. It is a humorous account of cultural misunderstanding between a college student, who
...more
Raymond Markley
While I respect the creative effort of anyone, I really had a hard time with this one. In the other things that I've read by her I find that the developed character is really interesting and I want to finish the work. More than that, when reading some of her works I get bummed out near the end and start rationing pages so I can keep reading the work as long as possible. Not so with this one. I did finish it, but had a few college flashbacks to things I was forced to read. And again I do respect ...more
Tasha Robinson
Normally I'm a huge fan of Margaret Atwood, but this early collection just felt like wading through mud for me. So many sketches of characters that go nowhere, stories that are just about a state of mind that never resolves into anything particularly telling, prose that isn't particularly interesting or lively. Her more recent work feels so much more ambitious, and deeply felt, and wise, than this. There are standouts in this collection, like the classic "Rape Fantasies," and "Training," but mos ...more
Sellaphane
I'm more a fan of Atwood's books, and this collection of short stories did next to nothing to sway me into thinking her short fiction is as good as her long ones.

All of these stories are gorgeously written, let me just get that out of the way. The prose is evocative and beautiful, even when it's stark and short.

However, most of these stories were just "meh" to me. The only two I actually really liked and think about even now are "Rape Fantasies" and "A Travel Piece". "RF" was surprisingly good
...more
Corielle
Jul 25, 2016 Corielle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I started tackling Margaret Atwood's oeuvre a couple years ago -- I think the first one I read was Alias Grace, and since then I've read 17 of her books. Every time I go to Half Price to see if there's anything new (to me), and I'm starting to run out! Dancing Girls is a short story collection (her first one, in fact), and while it wasn't one of the better Atwood books that I've read, it was still pretty good.

“Everyone thinks writers must know more about the inside of the human head, but that's
...more
Judith
Jul 09, 2015 Judith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
maybe 3.5 stars. i feel like atwood's short stories are generally stronger than her prose, which sometimes rambles and baffles. she can already say so much in 10 pages. some of the short fiction is banal though; starting to believe it's a trend that i like only 30% of her compilations, so naturally out of the 14 stories i found 4 of them truly memorable

1. the war in the bathroom - the first story and v refreshing in its searingly vivid descriptions. even at the end the relationship between the t
...more
Ian
May 11, 2014 Ian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is Atwood’s first collection and, to be honest, it’s actually a little dull. The contents were originally published in a variety of Canadian literary magazines. No dates are given, but I’m guessing the stories date from no more than a few years before the collection appeared. I’m still not entirely sure what to make of Atwood’s fiction. I find her novels much more successful than her short fiction, but I’ve yet to read one of them with as much power as her Alias Grace – though The Handmaid ...more
Arlie
Jul 27, 2010 Arlie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Atwood has written a collection of stories that are almost overwhelming in their depressing portrayal of the impossibility of intimacy in relationships. Each of the narrators is isolated and overly analytical. Yet, like all her stories, they offer a look at human motivation and draw the reader in.
Penni Russon
Jan 29, 2011 Penni Russon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
This was an excellent listen. Atwood is such a fabulous storyteller and her language is superb, interesting, peppered with startling observations, but neither showy or distracting - never at the expense of character or story.
Eduardo
May 06, 2015 Eduardo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Some of the stories here are fine ("The Man from Mars", "Betty", "A Travel Piece").
My favorite in this collection is "The Resplendent Quetzal".
Overall, not an optimum Atwood.
Michelle Olsen
Jan 30, 2015 Michelle Olsen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I'd like to start off by saying that Margaret Atwoods' dark, provocative, gritty, poetic style of writing hooked me from the time I read Cats Eye. That book originally hooked me onto her work, and since then, I've been searching for more and more.

This book is no exception. A deeply intrinsic look into the darkness and complexities of both human relationships, and the human mind, Dancing Girls offers a wide variety of examples to this thought. From the deeply introverted, to the older housewife
...more
Nancy
Mar 13, 2014 Nancy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It was like someone trying to write stories for "The Twilight Zone" and failing miserably.
Munro
Jun 26, 2016 Munro rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll be honest and say I couldn't quite finish all the short stories. While I adore Atwood's writing style (she's one of my favourite authors; "Surfacing" and "Handmaid's Tale" are amazing), I had a lot of trouble getting into these stories. I found her main characters to have such similar personalities that I could hardly tell them apart. And there was nothing meaningful in most of the stories.

I did really enjoy her familiar writing and some of the stories enough to give this three stars, thou
...more
Meg
<3 also kinda fucking depressing
Chris
Dec 06, 2015 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own
The first collection of short stories by the ever prolific Margaret Atwood. When I started my #summerofwomen, one of my big goals was to bootstrap myself on the works of both Atwood and Toni Morrison, two authors I'd embarrassingly missed my entire life. Though I enjoyed Atwood's first three novels (The Edible Woman, Surfacing, and Lady Oracle), it was jumping forward to The Handmaid's Tale in October that made me realize that she really hit her stride a bit later. As such, this 1976 collection ...more
Jen
In "Dancing Girls," Margaret Atwood probes the places in our minds we know but seldom discuss. I wanted so badly to like this volume because I love Atwood's dystopian novels and the unique voices she gives to each of her narrators. But the common theme running through the collection--negative relationships between men and women--makes for an unpleasant reading experience. After just a few stories, I felt so bad that I didn't want to continue reading. The stories are undeniably well-written, but ...more
Rebecca Scaglione
Apr 30, 2013 Rebecca Scaglione rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I picked it up, I had no idea that Dancing Girls by Margaret Atwood was a book of short stories. I’m usually not a short story fan overall, but was excited to read Atwood’s take, since I’m a big fan of her.

I’m still working on my Margaret Atwood Challenge, reading one of her novels per month, basically in order of publication, so this is my December book.

While a few of the stories in Dancing Girls had endings that left me stumped, I still enjoyed reading them. But for the most part, they ke
...more
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FABClub (Female A...: Dancing Girls group discussion 25 8 May 14, 2015 05:43PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Dancing Girls by Margaret Atwood 1 12 Apr 11, 2015 12:02PM  
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  • The Apple Tree: A Short Novel and Several Long Stories
  • The Selected Stories of Patricia Highsmith
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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
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More about Margaret Atwood...

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“We love each other, that’s true whatever it means, but we aren’t good at it; for some it’s a talent, for others only an addiction.” 33 likes
“Everyone thinks writers must know more about the inside of the human head, but that's wrong. They know less, that's why they write. Trying to find out what everyone else takes for granted.” 30 likes
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