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

Wilderness Tips

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,854 Ratings  ·  308 Reviews
A leathery bog-man transforms an old love affair; a sweet, gruesome gift is sent by the wife of an ex-lover; landscape paintings are haunted by the ghost of a young girl. This collection of short stories takes us into familiar territory to reveal the logic of irrational behaviour & the many textures lying beneath ordinary life.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by Virago Press (UK) (first published 1991)
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 Wilderness Tips, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Wilderness Tips

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
Apr 24, 2016 BrokenTune rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I'm going to have to take a break from Margaret Atwood. I love her novels, but her short stories have left little impression on me. (And let's not even mention my recent run in with The Heart Goes Last...).

There are only two stories in Wilderness Tips that I can remember and that were of some interest to me - Uncles and The Age of Lead.
The latter caught my interest because it makes reference to the Franklin expedition, which is an event I have some interest in.

Other than that, the stories are we
Jan 10, 2009 Madeline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Mar 04, 2013 Kinga rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: random
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
Jan 08, 2016 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
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...

Sep 24, 2008 Miquela rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 09, 2011 zespri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
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
Jan 16, 2009 Sus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Kathy Hiester
Sep 24, 2011 Kathy Hiester rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 11, 2007 karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
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
Jakey Gee
Feb 17, 2013 Jakey Gee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
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
Mattia Ravasi
A collection of slice-of-life late-naturalist tales about failed love and divorce. The characters (and the stories at large) are all samey-samey; if you write about dull topics you need to make them interesting, or to write incredibly well. Atwood writes well but fails on most other fronts.
Oct 07, 2015 Alexa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fab-15
Individually I really enjoyed many of the stories in this collection; as a whole though it has left me feeling weighted down with its pessimistic view of human relationships – if this consists of tips for navigating the wilderness of our intertwined lives, sometimes it seems like the most important tip from this might be “avoid other humans at all costs.” As a whole, these are sad tales of betrayal, remorse, and hypocrisy. Yet many of them were delightful! Maybe the more relevant tip is that “hu ...more
nu re, atkal mana problēma ar krājumiem. kā man vērtēt tādu čupu stāstu, kur katrs īstenībā ir pats par sevi? dažiem dotu trīs zvaigznes, dažiem piecas, daži bija citu atkārtojumi vai tik (negribu teikt vāji, jo tas ir nepieklājīgi pret tādu rakstnieci) nu, tik bālāki, ka varēja arī nebūt.
kopumā jau jāsaka, ka man patika. man patīk atvudas valoda, bet man ir aizdomas (nu labi, es zinu, esmu lasījis penelopiādi), ka šeit tā nav redzama visā krāšņumā. gribu lasīt vēl viņas lietas.

man pat patīk,
Stef Smulders
Dec 07, 2015 Stef Smulders rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-stars
One of the best collections of short stories I have read till now. Masterfully composed, interesting, full of psychological insight, moving and with irresistible wit, dark humour. Atwood has a way of perfectfully introducing the characters and slipping in all background information the reader needs to get full understanding of what is happening.
Jean Carlton
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
Apr 20, 2012 Debbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 20, 2016 Corielle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I love Margaret Atwood. Joe Hill named a boat after her in The Fireman (review forthcoming), and I may have squealed a little in delight when I saw it. I'm still getting through her whole bibliography -- I love going to Half Price Books and seeing if they have anything by her that I've missed. Her novels and short stories rarely miss the mark for me. Wilderness Tips, a short story collection published in 1991, does not disappoint.

“The girls in the stories make such fools of themselves. They are
Book Club Mom
Nov 18, 2014 Book Club Mom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wilderness Tips is a collection of ten short stories by Margaret Atwood and was first published in 1989. I enjoyed reading this somewhat unusual group of stories which are tied together loosely with some common themes.

She writes about summer camps, mental breakdowns, marriage and relationships, death, women’s careers and women’s rights, newspapers and social issues.

Some of the stories have surprise endings, some include graphic medical details, and all of them are reflective about times past.
Aug 17, 2011 Tania rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 18, 2010 Bitsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 18, 2012 Barbara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
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
Oct 02, 2012 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, mine
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
Nicole Mcgovern
Feb 10, 2015 Nicole Mcgovern rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Each of these stories is like a perfect little snow globe, shaken, then settling down again. They are the kind of stories that stay with you and you find yourself thinking of them in odd places. My favorite "death by landscape".
Aug 09, 2014 Sal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Atwood's prose is what merits this collection's four-star rating. Certain stories stand out in my mind--"The Bog Man" and "The Age of Lead."

The problem is that so many of the stories follow the same map--affairs with married men or married women considering an affair. After a few stories, it's pretty easy to feel like you're reading the same one over and over again.

Even with repetition on mind, Atwood's prose is wonderful and engaging. Her descriptions rise off of the page and settle somewhere
Loved the short stories in this book specifically those that rotated around what it means to get older and the struggles one can face to simply keep surviving and going on with life when loved ones around you aren't making it, have bleak futures, everyone has an expiry date... - lots of excellent stories in this bundle but my favorite was The Age of Lead which can be read on its own this site :
Juls Dergacheva
Nov 23, 2015 Juls Dergacheva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's like listening to stories told you by a woman on xanax. Tranquil with no sign of emotion she tells you terrible things. A perfect medicine for one's anxiety.
Apr 20, 2015 Nirica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this holiday has been so fun, i've just been breezing through books. some of these stories were SO GOOD!! they're all sort of light and unreal and have non-endings and i liked them a lot
Bindu Manoj
3.5, if there was option for that. Quintessential Atwood. The punch was comparatively mild, maybe because it was immediately after acerbic to the hilt 'Good Bones'
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
FABClub (Female A...: Wilderness Tips group discussion 23 8 Oct 05, 2015 08:08AM  
delicious - spoiler ahead 3 6 May 15, 2014 12:40PM  
JPMorgan whistle-blower gets $64M for mortgage fraud tips 1 3 Mar 16, 2014 11:50PM  
  • Stones
  • A Bird in the House
  • Island: The Complete Stories
  • The Collected Stories of Carol Shields
  • Friend of My Youth
  • We So Seldom Look on Love
  • As for Me and My House
  • Murther and Walking Spirits (Toronto Trilogy, #1)
  • Small Change
  • Do the Windows Open?
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...

Share This Book

“Knowledge is power only as long as you keep your mouth shut.” 8 likes
“Once in a while, though, he went on binges. He would sneak into bookstores or libraries, lurk around the racks where the little magazines were kept; sometimes he'd buy one. Dead poets were his business, living ones his vice. Much of the stuff he read was crap and he knew it; still, it gave him an odd lift. Then there would be the occasional real poem, and he would catch his breath. Nothing else could drop him through space like that, then catch him; nothing else could peel him open.” 5 likes
More quotes…