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Wilderness Tips

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  7,915 ratings  ·  503 reviews
In each of these tales Margaret Atwood deftly illuminates the single instant that shapes a whole life: in a few brief pages we watch as characters progress from the vulnerabilities of adolescence through the passions of youth into the precarious complexities of middle age.  By superimposing the past on the present, Atwood paints interior landscapes shaped by time, regret, ...more
Paperback, 228 pages
Published March 16th 1998 by Anchor (first published 1991)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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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
Glenn Sumi
For readers of Wilderness Tips who didn’t grow up in Canada in the late 20th century, this will seem like another typical, non-SF Atwood book: the short story collection is full of wry observations about interpersonal relationships; the settings are either the wilderness (I count 5, or roughly half) or downtown Toronto (the other half); and the sharp, knowing prose verges on poetry at times, especially in the stories’ startling final lines.

But for Canadians, there are other treats in store!

Ashley Daviau
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my second foray into Atwood’s writing and I think it’s safe to say that she has become a new favourite author of mine! The way she writes is just hypnotizing, it sucks you right in until you feel like you’re living in the pages of the book with the characters. And it’s even more remarkable because she manages to do that even with short stories! I loved every one of these stories and found myself disappointed as each was coming to a close, it wasn’t enough and I wanted more! Which is pret ...more
Johann (jobis89)
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As always, Atwood explores really interesting themes with female protagonists! Average of 3.85 for these stories. Full review to come.
Pam Baddeley
Having had this on the shelves for some time, I picked this up with the mistaken belief that it was a novel, an impression not corrected by the cover copy which consisted of quotes about other books by Atwood. So when I came to the end of the first short section, I was taken aback when the next item was about totally different characters in a different situation. This was partly due to the anticlimactic nature of what turned out to be the ending of the first story, especially as that story, abou ...more
Jan 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
"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
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: random, pub-1991
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
Maria Fernanda Gama
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was my first book by Margaret Atwood, and I can understand why people love her so much. Her writing is intelligent, sophisticated and deeply moving. All of these short stories are very complex, with a lot of different symbols and interpretations and I think it will take more than one read to fully grasp everything in it.
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first foray into Atwood's short fiction, and it's obviously a format she excels at just as much as with novels. I appreciated the thread that ran through the collection: Most of the stories are set in Canadian wilderness, the ones that aren't take place in Toronto, and several of them contain fictionalized portrayals of Atwood's Canadian literature contemporaries. The themes she explores are both grand and mundane, but always incredibly relatable on a human level: Disillusionment, th ...more
Aug 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
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...

Pranjal Joshi
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Atwood’s deeply engrossing sense of description of Canada’s photogenic natural and human landscape fleshes into ten short stories- a posy of recollections that come achingly when youth has been lived and left; and now only resides in one’s regret and lost chances. A book to be picked and dusted from the shelf to stir a long lazy afternoon with unfiltered thoughts (read: the author’s characters come across as so self-lived), as you tilt your head at the pages read, in recognition of a nasty/delic ...more
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 23, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
May 30, 2011 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
Kathy Hiester
Sep 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book of Feminist Stories. Chock full of misogyny and lady rage. Please read if you like women.
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a round up from 3.5 stars.

A few of these reads were just amazing and had such an impact for such a small story, however, others were just fine.

My personal favourites were The Bog Man, Death by Landscape, and Weight.
Book Club Mom
Nov 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Jake Goretzki
Feb 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
*Nor is it Darce she wants, not really. What she wants is what Ronette has: the power to give herself up, without reservation and without commentary. It’s that languor, that leaning back. Voluptuous mindlessness. Everything Joanne herself does is surrounded by quotation marks.
*Boredom is the mother of invention.
*An interest in the clothing of the present is frivolity, an interest in the clothing of the past is archaeology; a point Vincent would have appreciated.
*“You weren’t born then,” he says.
Aug 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, short-stories
I usually find it incredibly hard to get along with short stories; with not enough meat on them to get my teeth into I usually end up feeling that they're nowhere near developed enough for my tastes or that they end just as I'm getting into them. Happily, that wasn't the case with this, a sufficiently weighty collection of stories all dealing with moments when a life is changed, and all perfectly contained within their pages neither outstaying their welcome or leaving you unfulfilled.

Contains fa
Jun 11, 2007 rated it liked it
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!
Stef Smulders
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
The Brain in the Jar
Nov 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: realism

At its worst, Wilderness Tips suffers from Atwood’s most common flaw. Although she’s blessed with intelligence that never gets in the way of her stories, there is always a little too much distance between the reader and the characters. That’s an odd complaint, considering the book’s genre. Compare it to Raymond Carver, and Atwood has better characters yet doesn’t create as much sympathy.

It’s odd. It should be the opposite. The close look at people in all their glorious flaws should make us feel
Stephanie Burton
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

I've enjoyed several Margaret Atwood novels over the years, but didn't realise she had also published short story collections until I spotted this one at a charity book sale. It was only a Euro and is even signed! Then ten stories are, as I would expect from Atwood, wonderfully well written and I enjoyed reading them all. Often I find short story collections to be a bit hit and miss, but that was absolutely not true in this case. Now, a coupl
Chris Dietzel
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
A completely different approach to short stories than Atwood's 'Good Bones and Simple Murders.' That collection felt very experimental. This collection felt refined and polished. I've been reading a ton of short stories recently and as soon as I started this it was evident of how superior Atwood is from the average author. 'True Trash', the first story in the collection, does some remarkable things and Atwood makes it look easy. Only one or two stories fell flat, the rest were wonderful.
Oct 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 rounded down

A strong collection which made for very enjoyable reading.
Mar 16, 2010 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
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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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