mark monday's Reviews > The Robber Bride

The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
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's review
Feb 26, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: these-fragile-lives

atwood's splendid deconstruction and then reconstruction of the ties that can exist between women is one of her more pleasurable novels. it is full of fascinating references to fairy tales; discovering the parallels to rapunzel, sleeping beauty, and cinderella (to name just three) is an ongoing delight and the title character herself is so mysteriously poisonous yet malleable in her many faces that she becomes almost mythic. just as enjoyable is the deftness and richness of the characterization. atwood knows how to write characters who live and breathe, who think thoughts that are so true to life yet who still manage to surprise the reader with the decisions they make. and it should go without saying that the author's mastery of irony, of the poetic metaphor, of language itself, is present in spades.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
February 26, 2011 – Shelved
October 10, 2011 – Shelved as: these-fragile-lives

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Amber Dunten Wait, what? You just made me feel like an idiot. Parallels to Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella? I totally missed that. I guess once you think about it, it's obvious enough that Roz is a little like Cinderella. But she's the one with the money, and her Prince Charming turned out to be a dud.

And the others? I suppose Tony's ivory tower is the world of academia... but other than that one subtle allusion, how is Tony like Rapunzel? Do I have to keep reading to find out? (I'm about 2/3 of the way through.)

And Charis as Sleeping Beauty is a head-scratcher too. I guess her alto ego is asleep, but that's all I've got.

Is there more that I'm missing?

mark monday I'm certain you are not an idiot!

I wish I could help but at this point my memory is failing me, as I read this about 5 years ago. I liked the book quite a bit but unfortunately the details do not appear to have stuck with me.

I just googled "Fairy tales in The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood" and found this:

The story's title is a reference to the fairy tale, The Robber Bridegroom. The characters themselves are meant to mirror fairy tale characters. Tony is Rapunzel, Charis is Sleeping Beauty, and Roz is Cinderella. Zenia is the wandering orphan, the dangerous rootless wanderer, the prince-less one. The references make perfect sense as you get to know the characters.


Amber Dunten Hmm, well today I've finished it and these alleged parallels seem pretty weak to me. I don't see anything in their actual stories that parallels the stories of Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, or Cinderella.

mark monday :\

Davytron great review mark! I think the allusions are pretty clear. Atwood is about subtlety though so I can see how one could miss the references if one was expecting to be slapped in the face by them.

Amber Dunten Maybe you could tell me what some of the additional clues are that make these allusions clear, because I'm not seeing them.

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