GoodReads Rating – 4 Stars
Stone Mattress is a collection of nine short stories by the no-introduction-needed author Margaret Atwood. These stories are described on the cover of the book as being ‘nine wicked tales’ which indeed they are, including a murder carried out with a 1.9 billion-year-old weapon, fanatic arsonists, and bodies frozen in storage lockers, just to highlight a few.
This was my first Atwood book, I have been meaning to read some of her work for years, and I am glad that I started with this collection. It gave me short, sharp bursts of her exquisite writing style. Each story contained lines of metaphor and dialogue that took by breath away. Atwood truly knows her craft, with the ingenious was of making me feel on edge, when I don’t know why I’m on the edge at all.
My favorite stories within the collection were the first three, Alphinland, Revenant, and Dark Lady. These three stories were beautifully and subtly intertwined, giving the reader a story that have been an entire novel in itself in three short bursts of narrative. These stories follow a fantasy author, her ex lover, and her ex lover’s past conquests.
The theme of aging and coming to the end seems to be quite prevalent throughout the stories. You encounter fragile old characters doing extraordinary things (such as committing elaborate murder) and see the aging process through their perspective, as they draw closer and closer to the end of their time.
All in all, I thought this collection was a wonderful introduction to Atwood’s work, and I very much look forward to reading some of her novels in the not too distant future. I recommend this collection to anyone who is interested in Atwood, or just a lover of short stories,, as I feel there is something for everyone in this collection, be it crime, horror, or mysterious tiny dancing people.