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Bluebeard's Egg and Other Stories

by
3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,905 Ratings  ·  219 Reviews
A man finds himself surrounded by women who are becoming paler, more silent and literally smaller; a woman's intimate life is strangely dominated by the fear of nuclear warfare; a melancholy teenage love is swept away by a hurricane, while a tired, middle-aged affection is rekindled by the spectacle of rare Jamaican birds...

In these exceptional short stories, by turns funn
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Paperback, 281 pages
Published 1996 by Vintage (first published 1983)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Madeline
Apr 20, 2014 Madeline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If someone were to ask me to encapsulate Margaret Atwood's writing style in three sentences or less, I would show them the first two lines of the first story in Bluebeard's Egg:

"When my mother was very small, someone gave her a basket of baby chicks for Easter. They all died."

BOOM. Welcome to Margaret Atwood, motherfuckers. You're going to like it here. Oh, and happy Easter.

I've only read a few of Atwood's short story collections, and I never find them quite as satisfying as her novels - I pref
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Manny
How I saw Sex And The City 2 after reading Bluebeard's Egg

Carrie wonders why she's so unhappy. She's spent her life pursuing excess, and now she's acquired everything on her list. She's a famous writer. She shares a beautiful apartment in the best part of Manhattan with the handsome, successful man she spent years snaring into marriage. She's got a walk-in closet full of expensive designer shoes. She eats out most evenings at the city's finest restaurants, and attends its most exclusive parties.
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Jordan
May 19, 2010 Jordan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have only read the short story "BlueBeard's Egg" so far, here is what I thought.

Within the pages of “BlueBeard's Egg” by Margaret Atwood we are introduced into a world of metafiction and intertexuality. Atwood spins the retelling of the fairytale of BlueBeard's Egg for the reader. Atwood does this through the narration of the man character Sally. Atwood wanders down the path of the complexities of the ordinary life, through the inner narration of the main character Sally. Atwood's main lite
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Arun Divakar
Aug 26, 2012 Arun Divakar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There was once a request for a day's absence from office that went like this :

My wife delivered baby. As I am the only father, I request you to declare holiday today !!

This at a moment of insane happiness is what a father wrote to his boss asking for a day off ! What should ideally have been written as :

I am now a proud father. I would like to take a day off and spend time with my family in this time of happiness.

This became something totally different in the hands of another English user
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abcdefg
If you're a woman, and you're having a shitty relationship with a man, this book will either depress the hell out of you or it will make you feel better to know that someone else knows how it feels to be a woman in a shitty relationship.

But not every story was centered around relationships between women and men. "Significant Moments in the Life of My Mother" and "Unearthing Suite" focus on parents seen through the eyes of their progeny. It's interesting to note how the entire book which largely
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Alaina
May 01, 2013 Alaina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Point me to the nearest Lesbian Separatist Feminist Commune, will you? What a lot of heterosexual angst this book has. The male characters are cads and the women are in love with them and unhappy.

I realize this is a book of its time, and the stories are about realistic women in realistic situations, but it has not aged well. Or maybe I just don't care for Margaret Atwood's writing. All of the stories were depressing except the last one, which was more of a personal memory and very sweet and lov
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Alexa
Aug 26, 2015 Alexa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fab-15, summer-15
This collection of short stories has come to represent “comfort” reads to me. Many of them feel quite autobiographical and realistic, with contemplative notes. Included are musings on (her?) parents, (her?) childhood, motherhood, and gender roles. They seem to have roots sunk deep in the reality of memory and nostalgia. There was none of the touch of surrealism I think I’ve detected in some of her other work, and yet also no grim reality either. I highly recommend this!
Amanda
Dec 29, 2011 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am soooooo happy right now. Not because the book is finally over, but because I am fulfilled by the very reading of it. This touching book is 13 of me. 13 beautiful, amazing, perfectly-shaped pictures of a woman I know as self and as friend and as human. Soft electric humanity. I. Love. It.
Regine
Nov 12, 2013 Regine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
Atwood, I'm giving you another chance.
Ana Mardoll
Feb 18, 2011 Ana Mardoll rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ana-reviewed
Bluebeard's Egg / 0-385-49104-2

This collection of Atwood stories includes:

- Significant Moments in the Life of my Mother
- Hurricane Hazel
- Loulou
- Uglypuss
- Betty
- Bluebeard's Egg
- Spring Song of the Frogs
- Scarlet Ibis
- The Salt Garden
- The Sin Eater
- The Sunrise
- Unearthing Suite

Most of the stories revolve around the superb Atwood device of women in comfortable, "correct" lives, yet who are unbearably sad and alone. Many of these women have relationships outside of themselves - husbands, lover
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kate
sigh. this book is why there is a tv show about 1960s ad agencies in new york and not a tv show about 70s era canadian hippies. canadians aren't always terribly exciting and the me generation wasn't necessarily as earthshatteringly special as books like this would like you to think.

disconnected tales of disconnected souls in toronto, a city undesigned in order to be disconnecting and dislocated.

like most things canadian, it bashes capitalism and shies away from being blatantly sexy. I say this b
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Marianne Søiland
Mar 04, 2016 Marianne Søiland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Atwood og noveller. Hva kan jeg si? Særdeles god. Omtale kommer på bloggen min.
Jeneé
Mar 27, 2015 Jeneé rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
The first story in this book mostly revolves around the narrators mother. Right off the bat you can tell there is a feminist undertone. But while super radical feminism can be annoying. I found this story and others to follow more inspiring and did not showcase viscous feminism but shed light upon realistic female struggles.
Atwood tells stories about a different time in history, when the roles of men and women differed drastically and a divide existed between the two sexes.
The Second story is ab
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A.M.
Don't be fooled by the title, for these short stories aren't exactly reinterpretations of classic fairy tales - at least not in the same style as, say, Anne Sexton's Transformations. Atwood's collection is modern, and each story centers on male/female relations - often failed ones. "Puss in Boots" becomes "Uglypuss," with all of the sexual connotations such a name implies. Bluebeard's secret lies behind a door we don't wish to open.

Atwood's writing is so well-crafted. Perhaps it's the poet in he
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Jamie
May 13, 2008 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is only the second Atwood work I've read, though I've got several in the queue for possible use on my thesis. In comparison to The Handmaid's Tale (perhaps cliche, but that's where I got started), this collection of shorts certainly doesn't hold itself up too well. I enjoyed them quite a bit, but they were a bit inconsistent and somehow missing the magic I felt "THT" had. I think Atwood pinpoints the problem in the last story, when her narrator notes that "it will mean action, a thing I avo ...more
Sanni
Jun 17, 2012 Sanni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
En ollut aikaiseemin lukenut Atwoodilta novelleja, mutta mielestäni tämä novellikokoelma on toiseksi paras, mitä Atwoodilta olen lukenut. Heti Sokean surmaajan jälkeen tietysti.

Novellit ovat yhtä aikaa absurdeja ja arkisia ja ehkä sen takia onnistuvat tavoittamaan oudompia samaistuttavia tuntemuksia. Esimerkiksi Betty-novellissa kertoja tuntee huonoa omatuntoa siitä, että pitää karismaattisesta, tosin ilkeästä miehestä enemmän eikä tämän aina ystävällisestä ja herttaisesta vaimosta. Mikä tekee i
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Rocktopus
Jun 24, 2012 Rocktopus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a difficult book to describe well. It is about women in heterosexual environments. Some of the characters are lovers/wives, sometimes they are women regarding the way that their mothers (or other women close to them) handle themselves. Some of them seem like they will be pathetic, but are actually very easy to sympathize with. Some of them are very strong and lovable, like LouLou and Yvonne and Emma. This book is about the frustrating (mainly crappy) relationships that they are in or nea ...more
Sarah
Dec 01, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Atwood has a way of letting readers peer into her characters' minds as they go about their days. Nothing was extremely exciting or crazy but that's why I loved this collection of short stories- I have a thing for simplicity. I think it's something special when an author can make an average human into something interesting and unique, and it reminds me that everyone has a mind that is constantly thinking. I particularly enjoyed Bluebeard's Egg, The Salt Garden, and Significant Moments in the Life ...more
Matt Weber
Sep 17, 2013 Matt Weber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The language and moment-to-moment observations in these stories are great, and there are some really creative characters (notably Loulou from "Loulou; or the Domestic Life of the Language"), but some aspects of these stories start to seem perverse after a bit. There is never any resolution, never even any particularly momentous action. These are quality problems in the sense that they're the problems of a thoughtful writer, but in resisting the deformations of storytelling convention, they make ...more
Katie
Jan 03, 2015 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How the heck does she do it? There are entire worlds in each story within this collection, and each one has something in it that speaks directly to my heart. Atwood is one of the only authors for whom I break out my highlighter--I know I will need to revisit certain passages. I want to copy them down on paper and give them to my loved ones: "Here, read this and understand me."
Judith
Jul 10, 2015 Judith rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
disappointed! so many of the stories revolve around women who are entangled in crappy relationships with crappy guys! stop! give me interesting women, exciting women, imaginative scornful women, women who don't give a damn! i don't want women who stick with cads in lousy arrangements! if this is to be a reflection of real life then i despair (and most of the stories really do read with a horrifyingly placid sort of reality)
of course the prose was excellent and the tone was consistent but nothing
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missy jean
Mar 16, 2015 missy jean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This collection really, really hit me where I'm at.
Cara
Jan 13, 2016 Cara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What bugs me the most about Atwood is how often she recycles ideas. While the marginalia in the first short story tipped me off that I had at least read that story once before, the lack of marginalia suggested I gave up after that story. Yet, everything felt so familiar. I kept thinking "was this in Cat's Eye? Edible Woman? Life Before Man?" which felt especially odd, since the connections I was supposed to be drawing were from fairy tales NOT written by Atwood (as blatantly suggested by the tit ...more
Erica
Mostly not really my cup of tea, but I liked it. This book was recommended to me by my girlfriend, who found it very compelling when she read it years ago, but I think perhaps that was colored by the time and place when she was reading it.

So perhaps my time-and-place is coloring my view now.

This is a collection of very realistic short stories. My taste usual runs to the whimsical, fantastic, and/or humorous, and these stories are mostly melancholy, often verging on bleak. The characters are bel
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Nicola Mansfield
Mar 15, 2015 Nicola Mansfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll start off by admitting that I'm a great fan of Atwood's writing but absolutely cannot stand her as a person. This being her earlier work I expected to run into some of the vitriolic, man-hating feminism of hers that I can't tolerate. However, I only came to heads with her a couple of times. I found this collection quite satisfying. Due to my opinion of the author feel free to read my following comments with interest, amusement or offense. These are the thoughts that ran through my mind afte ...more
Marigold
Short stories set in Canada in the 1940s, I think, through 1980s, which are overall about relationships between men and women, and parents/children or mothers and daughters. Themes - the adventurous spirit versus the "passive" spirit; the melancholy of remembering times past; the fascinating depths that might be behind the facade of a seemingly ordinary person; the "not seeing" that sometimes happens when you think you know someone really well; rituals.

There's also something here about how we a
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Amit
Sep 25, 2014 Amit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, women
I have been meaning to pick up Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assasin for a while, but for one reason or whim or another, I never have even started with it. Some of the reviews of this collection of short-stories by her, mention that it needs novel's length to really do justice to her writings. But to me, this collection of short stories looked alluring for precisely the fact that you don't need to invest lot of time with such a collection, unlike a novel.

I wasn't disappointed. Decidedly, none of t
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Sara
Jun 21, 2016 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These are very...realistic. Four stars is probably a hair high but I really fell for the title story. And a couple of the others felt like seeds for other things - I kept thinking of scenes and moments in Cat's Eye, for example, or other, later short stories that I had enjoyed much more. Anyway it's Atwood so it's depressing and angry and a little mean and very clever and conscious of the petty little details other writers might have missed in stories about dissatisfaction.

Also if you listen to
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Ria
Apr 01, 2016 Ria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An interesting collection of disparate tales.
It starts off with reminiscences about the author's mother then leads onto other characters stories, a lady who stalks men to be models, the eponymous tale of Bluebeard's egg set in a modern incarnation, a lady living with a group of poets and many others go into a volume of stories that deal with heartbreak, tragedy, the loss of love, yearning for love and in some instances love rekindled.
Fascinating and engaging little vignettes that encapsulate a "
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A.F.
Jul 23, 2012 A.F. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite, favorite book of her short stories, and my go-to book for comfort food. Favorite story: Significant Moments in the Life of My Mother. The stories here feel so much more tender than her later stories; more about being a woman than a feminist, although feminism still prevails; it's not as strident and overbearing as it is in The Handmaid's Tale.
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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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