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

Dancing Girls

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  2,203 ratings  ·  128 reviews
This splendid volume of short fiction testifies to Margaret Atwood's startlingly original voice, full of a rare intensity and exceptional intelligence.Her men and women still miscommunicate, still remain separate in different rooms, different houses, or even different worlds.With brilliant flashes of fantasy, humor, and unexpected violence, the stories reveal the complexit ...more
Paperback, 243 pages
Published June 1998 by Anchor Books (first published 1977)
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 Dancing Girls, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dancing Girls

Oliver Twist by Charles DickensDancers in Mourning by Margery AllinghamSave Me the Waltz by Zelda FitzgeraldThe Killing Dance by Laurell K. HamiltonDancing Girls by Margaret Atwood
Dance Metaphors in Titles
5th out of 100 books — 22 voters
The Silmarillion by J.R.R. TolkienThe Shining by Stephen KingThe Honourable Schoolboy by John le CarréThe Thorn Birds by Colleen McCulloughLord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson
Best Books of 1977
24th out of 67 books — 36 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
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
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
Ana Mardoll
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
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.
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
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
Mariano Hortal
Publicado en

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
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
Jan 17, 2010 Kate rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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.
"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
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
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.
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
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
<3 also kinda fucking depressing
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
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.
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
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
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
Aug 09, 2011 Jen added it
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
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
Annmarie Sheahan
Although not all of the stories in this Atwood collection were five star worthy, as a whole, this did not disappoint, and the stories I loved were so good that I feel the entire book deserves my praise. Plain and simple, Margaret Atwood is the best female contemporary author out there, and in my opinion, probably the best female author I've ever read. Her use of language is superb and she is able to write about the fantastical and the ordinary with equal eloquence and depth. A thorough reading o ...more
I have been slowly adding to my Margaret Atwood collection through purchases at used book/yard sales and, after reading this collection of short stories, I am thinking maybe those dollars have been wasted. I guess that's my fault for continuing to accumulate stacks of books by an author I have never read before, but I was hoping I could trust the word-of-mouth recommendations. There were one or two stories that were even remotely memorable, but the rest were dry and empty. It wasn't even because ...more
A so-so collection of short fiction that took me forever to slog through.

The collection is dark, depressing and rather abstract in some stories. The main characters include a woman who appears to be suffering from some sort of schizophrenia and dementia, a woman being stalked by a foreign student, several couples in relationships that range from unhappy to adulterous, a counselor at a camp for children with disabilities, and a racist who insists on seeing new tenets in her building in their "nat
Laura Hartmark
Lives of The Poets is my favorite short story here. More of a carrying card than anything else, it explains the arc from pathetic to meteoric that is quickly swooped by poets.
The character is in her bathroom, blithering and afraid with head cold and nose bleed: the epitome of a fire gone out. Then she realizes that she is a poet - so she will go stand in front of a room full of people, open her mouth, and..."out will pour blood."
Amazing. I've been slowly working my way through Atwood's evergrowing body of work through the years, and usually have liked her post-1990 work better than her pre-1990 work (after reading Cat's Eye, Life Before Man, and Lady Oracle in too close succession and finding them to be far too similar to one another.) There are exceptions, though. And her collections of short stories certainly seem to be among them.
There's nothing too ostentatious here. Like I said in my comments, one can see a prelud
Megan C
I lost this book so many times. It makes it very difficult to remember the beginning of the collection, however, there are bits and pieces I remember, and Atwood's tone is, as always, something I very much love.

I especially liked the alternating narration in the story about the couple on vacation that practically hated each other but didn't know how to live without each other, each one giving a little peek into the other. And I don't think I'll forget the story about the travel writer who ends
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
FABClub (Female A...: Dancing Girls group discussion 25 7 May 14, 2015 05:43PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Dancing Girls by Margaret Atwood 1 12 Apr 11, 2015 12:02PM  
  • A Bird in the House
  • Dinner Along the Amazon
  • The Moons of Jupiter
  • Dressing Up for the Carnival
  • Heat and Other Stories
  • Echoes from the Macabre: Selected Stories
  • The Selected Stories of Patricia Highsmith
  • Light Lifting
  • Island: The Complete Stories
  • St. Urbain's Horseman
  • A Long Stay in a Distant Land: A Novel
  • All the Anxious Girls on Earth: Stories
  • Honored Guest
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, #1) The Blind Assassin The Year of the Flood (MaddAddam, #2) Alias Grace

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“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.” 31 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.” 27 likes
More quotes…