Mag's Reviews > Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing

Negotiating with the Dead by Margaret Atwood
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's review
Dec 20, 2009

bookshelves: canadian, non-fiction
Read in September, 2006

The book developed from a series of six lectures on being a writer Atwood delivered at the University of Cambridge in 2000. I read two books recently that attempted the same thing in a way: Elizabeth Costello, and The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana. Coetze fictionalized his lectures and actually added the character of a writer (Elizabeth Costello) to present them, and Eco’s book held great literary promise, but did not deliver in the end; it concentrated on the legacy of comic books. Atwood, on the other hand, wrote a zestful and delightfully erudite treaty on being a writer, full of insights and literary references which is a pleasure to read. Atwood’s way of thinking appealed, as usual, to me. I just felt that illusive satisfaction coming from every line I read.

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