Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Murder in the Dark: Short Fictions and Prose Poems” as Want to Read:
Murder in the Dark: Short Fictions and Prose Poems
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Murder in the Dark: Short Fictions and Prose Poems

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  950 Ratings  ·  97 Reviews
These short fictions and prose poems are beautifully bizarre: bread can no longer be thought of as wholesome comforting loaves; the pretensions of the male chef are subjected to a loght roasting; a poisonous brew is concocted by cynical five year olds; and knowing when to stop is of deadly importance in a game of Murder in the Dark.
Paperback, 110 pages
Published 1994 by Virago (first published 1983)
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 Murder in the Dark, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Murder in the Dark

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

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jul 16, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Some stories better than others.
Just not for me.
Glenn Sumi
Oct 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most people know Margaret Atwood as a novelist (The Blind Assassin, The MaddAddam Trilogy, Cat’s Eye, most recently The Heart Goes Last).

But she’s also an excellent short story writer, poet and essayist. This slim volume from 1983 feels like a hybrid of those last three genres; the writing’s looser than in her poetry collections, but the pieces aren’t long enough to be considered stories. Vignettes? Perhaps. “Prose poems” is an apt description, but many of them are as chock full of ideas a
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Das einzige, was mich an diesem Buch stört, ist der Untertitel „Horror-Trips und Happ-Ends“, weil – zusammen mit dem Titel – falsche Erwartungen geweckt werden (vermutlich eine Sünde des deutschen Verlags). Die kurzen bis sehr kurzen Geschichten (oft eine Seite, häufiger zwei bis drei) kreisen anfangs um Kindheitsimpressionen, später um Geschichten selbst, am Ende um Männer und Frauen. Die kurze Form ermöglicht es Atwood, ganz wunderbar ausgefeilte, poetische, tiefsinnige Sätze zu formulieren. D ...more
Jun 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The whole collection is brilliant, but the stories in part 3 are especially poignant and provoking -- "Simmering," "Happy Ending,"Women's Novels," and "Bread."
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like to imagine what it would be like to wander around inside Margaret Atwood's brain. I imagine it is a rich world filled with memories, references to many facets of life, including popular culture, with filtered light and pockets of darkness.

I really enjoyed this collection of short stories and poems. Some stories didn't click with me but the stories that did draw me in, I felt an intense connection to.

The stories and prose were dark with humorous undertones. I like how she finds a balance b
Gail Winfree
Mar 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m a big fan of Margaret Atwood, though I haven’t read anything by her since “Surfacing” many years ago. A few days ago, I was scanning my bookshelves looking for something else when I came across “Murder in the Dark” (that’s the nice thing about having a library of thousands of books; you never know what you might find). This is a thin book, 110 pages, of short fiction and prose poems—27 vignettes that deal with that many subjects, but mostly relationships between things, primarily men and wom ...more
La edición que yo he leído y que no aparece en goodreads es, según indican en el prólogo, una selección de relatos de los libros Asesinato en la oscuridad y Buenos huesos. La contraportada de mi edición dice así:

“Atwood nos propone este libro como un juego: uno de los jugadores es el asesino; otro, el detective, otro, la victima. Se apagan las luces, se comete el crimen, el detective cuenta hasta diez, entra en la habitación y vuelve a encender las luces. Puede interrogar a todos, salvo a la víc
Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"You aren't really a god but despite that you are silent. When You're being worshiped there isn't much to say."

I've heard a lot about Margaret Atwood. Some people are obsessed with her writing, but some don't really get it. I'm preparing myself to plunge into some of her longer works (especially wanting to read Oryx and Crake). However, while spending a couple of days in a hostel in London, I've decided to read something a little bit shorter.

Out of pure curiosity (hearing so much about Margare
Oct 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story, "Happy Endings," is an exercise in metafiction. Atwood invites the reader to participate in the making of the story, or at least highlights the reader’s constant role in creating a work of literature. She presents a variety of alternative endings to a brief introductory paragraph involving John and Mary, requiring the reader to select from among the various options, imitating different genres and styles of writing.

One option, Option A, is a conventional, fairytale-like, saccharine end
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clever and funny and ironic and sardonic and wry. And those aren't just synonyms.
Tyler Jones
They say of the boxer Roy Jones Jr. that he was so fast that in one second he could land ten punches. If they could measure writing the same way, then Margaret Atwood would be crowned the all-time rabbit-punch record holder. She throws lightning fast combinations. What is this? (Bam!) Poetry? (Bam! Bam!) Micro-fiction? (Bam! Bam!) Micro-memoir? (Bam! Bam! Bam!). Which is not to say she can’t throw the knock-out punch; People like to make poison. If you don’t understand this you will never unders ...more
Karen Powell
For just a taste of Atwood's insight on women and their relationships with men, these short stories deliver a punch in concentrated prose. One memorable favorite of mine is "Boyfriends," where the only detail about each boy the narrator dated in her youth that can be recalled is what outfit she wore on their date. Another favorite is "Simmering," which tells of the gradual gender role reversal over a long period time until men become bound to the kitchen, and women are forced to work lest they t ...more
Jul 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Margaret Atwood is an author whose works are full of shifting perspectives-perspectives that sometimes make you ask yourself, 'What am I reading? Does it mean anything?' Throughout your read, you wonder if you're really going to understand the sense behind her dreamlike sentences, her endless metaphors and tons of similes.

And yet, you find she delights you while she's annoying you, enlightens you while she's driving you crazy. She's flowery with her language and yet she's unpretentious. Her re
Faith Justice
Jan 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: given-away
I love Margaret Atwood and these brief flash fictions and prose poems don't disappoint. From "Mute": "They think you can't talk, they're sorry for you, but. But you're waiting for the word, the one that will finally be right. A compound, the generation of life, mud and light."
Jane Glossil
So good! I don't know how to describe her writing, but I do know I wish I could write like Margaret Atwood.

* Murder in the Dark
* Simmering
* Women's Novels
* Happy Endings
* Bread
* The Page
* Mute
* Iconography
* Strawberries
* Hopeless
* Hand
Mariano Hortal
Publicado en

Una de las muchas asignaturas pendientes en literatura la voy a cubrir con mi reto a tres años y tiene que ver con la profundización en la carrera literaria de la canadiense Margaret Atwood; nacida en Ottawa en 1939, esta prolífica escritora y crítica, pasa por ser la más importante de Canadá junto con la más que conocida Alice Munro, que también entrará en el reto lector. En España se hizo más famosa por ganar el Príncipe de Asturias de las l
Hm. Entweder war das jetzt einfach nicht, was ich vom Titel her erwartet habe, oder ich bin nicht der Typ für Kurzgeschichten, oder ich komme einfach nicht mit Atwood klar.
Feb 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A collection of prose poems and short stories that differ from one another in everything but that elusive quality of brutal sincerity that defines the style of M. Atwood for me. Every one of these stories has its own world, beauty, logic and paradox. Seriously, it is impressive how much power such short creations have. Not the author that avoids difficult themes even in short form, Atwood kept things interesting to say at least. Themes range from a child preparing poison to women/man relationshi ...more
Not my favourite of Atwood's short stories collections as it felt a bit experimental in the free form style most of the pieces had. Although I wasn't a fan of the stories that had an experimental tone, there were a variety of style several with what I would classify as more "typical Atwood" (insightful and clever), which I will always be a fan of!
Nov 09, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canada
About 25% of this 80 page book is worth reading; the other 75 is pretty bad. I'll start with what worked.

She has a piece, the longest in the book, about a trip to Mexico. It's not perfect by any means, but it really does live up to the premise of the book: thoughtful, full of striking imagery, surprising in the best way. The fact that it circles around different sides of one experience helps, I think.

The fourth section was also pretty strong. "Hopeless" was the single best piece I read there.

The prose poems are eloquent and thought provoking and, as with "real" poetry, one has to be careful not to read them too quickly: "I forgot what things were called and saw instead what they are".

A couple of the childhood ones are charming (especially collecting all sort of dangerous things to make one big bucket of "poison", without any idea of what to use it for).

As the book progresses, the topics tend to get darker and more of them focus on the balance of power between men and women. She's we
Lisa S
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women, 1980s, canadian
I forgot how amazing Atwood was! definitely need to read more by her
Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
Some wonderful imagery and amusing musings on writings and stories.

I rather liked: A plot is just what and what and what and what. But what about how and why?
(I paraphrase.)
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
La infancia. La adolescencia. El juego. El amor. Los hilos que mueven la vida. Un pequeño libro con un gran universo. El paseo de la memoria y la ficción.
Dec 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
This is a collection of Attwood’s shorter fictions and some of it is very short pieces indeed; prose poems, or as one critic put in; flash fiction. There is quite a variety of fictions; childhood reminiscences, gender, men, some speculative fictions and food and cookery! These are more clearly feminist than some of Attwood’s other work.
There are several recurring motifs, one being; “Is this the man through whom all men can be forgiven?” The title piece “Murder in the Dark” is based on the child
Rick Patterson
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit a bias about Margaret Atwood. I think she's an astonishingly important writer, so much so that it's difficult to imagine Canadian culture without her. Her contributions to poetry, criticism, and novels across an incredible range of genres are so profound--in every sense of the word--that it's hard to overstate how vital she is to who we are and even how we think. When Alice Munro received her Nobel Prize for Literature a couple of years ago, I thought, "Good. About time too. Now, ...more
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Typically Atwood.
“Murder in the Dark”
Favorites among all the stories:
Definition of simmer
1 :to stew gently below or just at the boiling point
2 a :to be in a state of incipient development
b :to be in inward turmoil

“The wives said that there were only twenty-four hours in a day; and the men, who in that century were still priding themselves on their rationality, had to agree that this was so.”
Rationality in men will always remind me of you and your advice – some enterprises are not lu
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Minúsculo libro con minúsculos relatos. Lo compré por 1€ en una tienda de segunda mano esperando poco más que pasar el rato, pero Margaret Atwood es mucha Margaret Atwood. Así, nos encontramos con humor negro, frases ingeniosas, algún toque de reivindicación feminista y prosa poética un poco demasiado críptica para mi gusto. En general, mucha más miga de la que esperaba y una gran cantidad de frases citables que hubiera subrayado si escribir en los libros no me pareciese un sacrilegio.
Jun 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars. I enjoy how some of her sentences are sinister in an understated sort of way. But.. I want more.

Atwood has like.. 2 more chances for me to like her (books already determined). If those don't deliver, then I'll just have to face it: I love The Handmaid's Tale, not her.
Onbee Kim
Very different yet beautiful piece of work. It may take a while to understand the underlying message or theme in a particular chapter but other than that, it was a very short, quick read! (Yes I know it took me like almost 3 weeks again. But I was busy with work!!!)
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
New Canadian Libr...: * October 2017: Murder in the Dark 5 5 Sep 25, 2017 07:43AM  
FABClub (Female A...: Murder in the Dark group discussion 9 8 Jul 17, 2015 09:18AM  
  • Dinner Along the Amazon
  • The Fire-Dwellers
  • The Lamp at Noon and Other Stories
  • Elementals: Stories of Fire and Ice
  • Junk Mail
  • The Assignation: Stories
  • The Great Wall of China
  • Happenstance: Two Novels in One About a Marriage in Transition
  • Fireworks: Nine Profane Pieces
  • Man Descending: Selected Stories
  • My Mother Was An Upright Piano
  • Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont
  • What We All Long For
  • Jeeves and the Impending Doom
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...
“Prayer is wanting. Jesus, Jesus he says, but he's not praying to Jesus, he's praying to you, not to your body or your face but to the space you hold at the centre, which is the shape of the universe. Empty.” 7 likes
“...the hearts gone bubonic with jealousy and greed, glinting through the vests and sweaters of anyone at all.” 3 likes
More quotes…