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Moral Disorder

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3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  6,554 ratings  ·  691 reviews
Alternate Cover Edition of ISBN # - 9781844080335
Mass Market Paperback, 260 pages
Published 2007 by Virago (first published September 13th 1996)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ellen
It's me, not you, I want to apologize to Margaret Atwood. One of my all-time favorite authors, who I consider one of my oldest and best friends, although we've never met. I have fallen out of love with her. I confess to not having finished the book. This is unheard of, like not having a second slice of pizza. I won't go as far as to say there is a sense of stagnation in the stories. Perhaps she has all too successfully evoked the ennui of average life. Attempting a committed and thorough read, I ...more
Marigold
Margaret Atwood = writer I am most intimidated yet inspired by. These short stories form a semi-autobiographical sketch about a woman, Nell, from childhood through into her 60's, but are not in chronological order. The stories focus on her relationships with her parents, husband, sister, husband's ex-wife, and more. It's like getting a box of really cool photographs of someone you don't know, & their family, & you're trying to piece together their story from the photos & figure out w ...more
Sarah
I noticed some reveiws are not so favorable for this book.
As an avid Atwoodian, I was struck by the similar themes running through this collection of vignettes about girlhood and growing up, childhood perception, adulthood reflection, memory and aging that appear in her earlier work (Cat's Eye, Edible Woman, Wilderness Tips) because it seems like a return to previous ideas but from a different vantage point informed by the deaths of family members and one's own aging. At times the stories seem a
...more
Stephen Durrant
Does anyone write crisper, cleaner English than Margaret Atwood? A few hundred of her sentences per day might help all of us write better. So, on the level of language, no complaints! In other ways, though, this is an uneven collection. It begins brilliantly and ends well, but the middle sections about the narrator and her life with Tig in the countryside just did not engage me. The problem may arise in part from the somewhat ambiguous nature of this book. Is it a collection of short stories or ...more
Stela

While reading Margaret Atwood’s Moral Disorder I kept remembering William Burroughs’s wish that his Naked Lunch be read in any order and direction. In his case, it was an attempt to challenge the narrative by denying chronology – no event could pretend to have happened before or after another.

There is a similar attempt towards the dissolution of the novel In Margaret Atwood’s book, for every “chapter” can also be read independently, but in this case more as a suggestion that life is a series of
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Will
This is described as a collection of short stories but it is actually a series of portraits of one person. So although you could, you wouldn’t really want to read them out of order. They chronicle the life of Nell (though we don’t know her name for the first part of the book as it’s written in the first person), with Atwood’s usual sharp observations and dry wit.

Nell was born in the thirties and grew up well before the social changes of the sixties, so is a bit uncomfortable with them. In one ea
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Jennifer Barrett
I chose to read Moral Disorder for my next Atwood book because it was a book of short stories. I thought it would be a good decision as it would be easy to read during my sporadic down time. I will not go so far as to say that Atwood deceived me, however after the third story I realized how truly misinformed I had been. The picturesque narrative of a woman’s life bounds along seamlessly with ever-changing perspective from first to third person views and makes the book impossible to put down.
“Bad
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Holley Rubinsky
Published in 2006, the stories in Moral Disorder must be Margaret Atwood's fictional autobiography of her childhood. I loved this book when I realized that this recollection of experiences was her take on that part of her life. Atwood these days can seem very remote, a distant star, yet these stories take the reader into the heart and, even more exciting, the mind and insights of a bright, bright child. Her character, unnamed in the intimate first-person narratives, writes at the end of the capt ...more
Yani
Mi primer encuentro con esta autora no estuvo mal. Si bien no fue para cinco estrellas, un 3.5 definiría mejor este libro tan peculiar que contiene esbozos de temas muy interesantes de género e historias que pueden arrancar lágrimas.

El libro cuenta la vida de Nell y la divide en relatos que abren y cierran un episodio. Trazan un eje entre ellos y permiten saltos temporales y espaciales, que constituyen una especie de biografía no-cronológica del personaje. Nell es una mujer que atraviesa las et
...more
Marissa
Margaret Atwood is of course, as we all know, awesome sauce. This was definitely a work in a different vein than her science fiction stuff, but it has the same dark, menacing tone that she does so well. You can feel her subconscious twisting these stories out, which are unsettlingly mundane. The book reminded me about the vague, intuitive terror of adulthood and the passing of time that I feel the edge of almost all the time these days. Here's a quote:

"I would have to go into the tunnel whether
...more
Amanda
FU GR app for losing my review. It was one of the best reviews I've ever written and I'm too lazy (and forgetful) to recreate it. So I guess, also, FU me for being lazy and forgetful. Anyway, this book is a great representative of Margaret Atwood's writing. She is the best best writer of the human psyche as I've experienced it. I was saying how I feel sorry for her characters for never ending up happy, but even still, I love how she can express a human in the most beautiful complicated labyrinth ...more
Inaniel
This was my first Atwood ever. I'm surprised how much I like this book. It's a collection of quite wonderful short stories which all belong together and tell episodes from the life of Nell. Every story has a different atmosphere. I enjoyed her writing so much that after finishing the last story I started again with the first one just to see wether the reading would feel different with having in mind the other stories. Highly recommended.
Evanston Public  Library
Margaret Atwood has a clever way of moving through the decades in this collection of related stories. The recurring main character, Nell, is a little girl anxious about the impending birth of a sibling in the 30s, a teenager just realizing that she's miles ahead of her boyfriend in intelligence and maturity in the 50s, a slightly rootless young woman in the 90s.
Somehow this all works with Atwood's smooth handling, and as we read of the mostly trivial trials and tribulations that Nell faces, we
...more
Emily Rae
Atwood has a beautiful way of describing life and its experiences so accurately. On the first page she writes,

"I think of bad news as a huge bird, with the wings of a crow and the face of my Grade Four school teacher, sparse bun, rancid teeth, wrinkly frown, pursed mouth and all, sailing around the world under cover of darkness pleased to be the bearer of ill tidings, carrying a basket of rotten eggs, and knowing- as the sun comes up- exactly where to drop them. On me, for one."

I am amazed th
...more
Michael
This book should have been subtitled: "Sh!t happens."

A collection of short stories about a woman from childhood to old age, this book touches into Nell's life at odd, disjointed moments, usually as she is going through the worst periods of her life. Dealing with fear, pain, anxiety, depression, sickness, we miss out on all the good moments of falling in love and joy. Without that connective tissue, it's hard to care what happens to her.

Which is not to say that it is without merit. Atwood is a di
...more
Kate
What a wonderful read! If you haven't noticed, I've been on a bit of an Atwood kick lately, and while this one is very different than her dystopian novels I've been reading, I absolutely LOVE getting lost in the lush prose word forests of such an incredible mind.

This short story collection features snippets of one woman's life told in marvelous details that skip across time, just like memories do. However, they also fit together and tell a larger story: one of being incredibly human, full of los
...more
Mike
Meh.

Margaret Atwood has an amazing gift for prose, prophecy, and the telling detail, and sometimes they combine to create amazing, angry works of art like The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake. In other outings, what shines through most is her sense of disappointment. Her disappointment with life, with people, with the way they are, with men and their patronizing and domineering, with women and their submission and foolishness.

This is a ten-part sort-of novel, the equivalent of something like
...more
Guilie
This is the first non-dystopia I read from Margaret Atwood, and I loved it. A collection of short stories that tell a whole story with Atwood's trademark incision into the nature of human conflict. Descriptions cut to the chase and build onto the story's mood. Each story stands poignantly alone, and yet at the end of each you're so glad there's more coming--except at the last one, which made me turn back and reread the whole thing again. I suspect I'll be doing that more often.
Mary Soderstrom
During our recent trip to Europe, I thought about books a lot. Margaret Atwood's short story collection Moral Disorder was one that kept coming to mind after a day spent in the 1800 year old Roman ruins at Conínbriga, Portugal.

These stories are about the best things Atwood has written in a couple of decades, in my opinion. She opens herself up as she has rarely, writing about people who are very much like herself and her family. At first the reader may think the stories are unrelated, but each
...more
Cynthia
I listened to these short stories in the car after dropping my youngest daughter off at college. It was a perfect match for my emotional mother heart.

These are family stories, I believe they must be autobiographical. My favorite was about the elderly realtor.

Themes: marriage, sisters, attempts at farming.
Rachel
"These are the tenses that define us now: past tense, back then; future tense, not yet. We live in the small window between them, the space we've only recently come to think of as still, and really it's no smaller than anyone else's window." (p. 4)

"I hadn't yet discovered that I lived in a sort of transparent balloon, drifting over the world without making much contact with it, and the people I knew appeared to me at a different angle from the one at which they appeared to themselves; and the re
...more
Yossarian
To me it seemed to be about how we tell stories to ourselves to make sense of ourselves. How we construct our identity, what we present, what we hide, what we distort... It has an autobiographical feel, though I think Atwood has said it is not – but what is an autobiography if not trying to make sense of ourselves through stories. And how that telling of episodes change throughout our lives depending on who we are at that moment, or what our needs are.

It is ambiguous whether the stories concern
...more
Christopher Rodriguez
I think everything I can say about this book/ I said in a post I made trying to convince another to try and work through this book once again.

It's long. It's mundane. And even if your like me and love the concept of idiosyncrasies, you'll still find it at times a little more than just a dose of humdrum.

However, I would say something similar Melville, even though he is one of my favorite author precisely because of that humdrum. Because some authors can make that waiting worth the time and hit
...more
Corielle
Oh look, it's another Margaret Atwood book that I devoured and adored. I know, I know, you're all amazed.

“She wasn't ready to settle down, she told her friends. That was one way of putting it. Another was would have been that she had not found anyone to settle down with. There had been several men in her life, but they hadn't been convincing. They'd been somewhat like her table - quickly acquired, brightened up a little, but temporary. The time for that kind of thing was running out, however. Sh
...more
MKTH
Best (or critically important to the text) Quotes:

"They always want to kill the leaders. With the best of intentions, or so they claim. The leaders have the best of intentions as well. The leaders stand in the spotlight, the killers aim from the dark; it’s easy to score."

"Once, this might have been an argument. Now it’s a pastime, like gin rummy."

"eerie politeness"

"On the other hand, it’s his general view that Rome is going to hell in a handcart, and I’ve noticed that most retired men feel like
...more
Jennifer
I've read through many of Margaret Atwood's books,I like her writing style, though it tends to suck me into an (even more) introspective spiral that it takes a few days to crawl back out of. She writes with a very internal-sensory-perception that comes so close to something that is beyond our human abilities thus far - which is being truly inside someone else's mind. With many of her books you can get lost in the passages of someone else's thoughts and experiences. With an occasional insights th ...more
Steffi
I am not a big fan of short stories in general. And I didn’t even know this was a collection of short stories because the blurb on the German edition (which I bought at a bargain!) did not make that very clear. After reading this I know why it failed to do so. This doesn’t feel like a collection of short stories at all. All stories deal with the same protagonist and her family. It has the feel of an episodic novel to it.

This was the first work by Atwood in a long time that wasn’t speculative fi
...more
Kate
This book is, to my mind, a model of what a linked short story collection should be. 1. Each of the stories can stand on its own. None read like fragments of a larger story. 2. Yet, the collection as a whole has a sense of continuity and wholeness. The whole is something more than the sum of its parts. 3. Finally, there’s a reason why it’s a short story collection rather than a novel. It focuses on the life of a single character (Nell), but in tracing that life through short stories, Atwood is a ...more
Ingrid
As usual, I find myself struggling to articulate exactly why I enjoyed this book so much. The NYTimes review on the inside flap seems to fit my sentiments: "The reader has the sense that Atwood has complete access to her people's emotional histories, complete understanding of their hearts and imaginations." Indeed, the author describes her characters' feelings and situations with lovely but not overbearing detail.

I also very much enjoyed the format of the book. It took me a little while to get i
...more
Akshay
There is no denying that Margaret Atwood is a fine writer. "Moral Disorder" is funny and touching and it provides an insight into domestic family life in all its horrors. As in a photograph album, time is measured in sharp, clearly observed moments. She entices readers to flip through the photo album of a Canadian woman who closely resembles herself. The writer takes the reader along on an emotional journey through loneliness, love, loss and old age. The secret resentments and alignments--diffic ...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
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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

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“She wasn't ready to settle down, she told her friends. That was one way of putting it. Another was would have been that she had not found anyone to settle down with. There had been several men in her life, but they hadn't been convincing. They'd been somewhat like her table - quickly acquired, brightened up a little, but temporary. The time for that kind of thing was running out, however. She was tired of renting.” 56 likes
“In the end, we'll all become stories.” 36 likes
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