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Moral Disorder Hardcover – Sep 5 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart; 1st Edition edition (Sept. 5 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771008708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771008702
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.3 x 21.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #807,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

An intriguing patchwork of poignant episodes, Atwood's latest set of stories (after The Tent) chronicles 60 years of a Canadian family, from postwar Toronto to a farm in the present. The opening piece of this novel-in-stories is set in the present and introduces Tig and Nell, married, elderly and facing an uncertain future in a world that has become foreign and hostile. From there, the book casts back to an 11-year-old Nell excitedly knitting garments for her as yet unborn sister, Lizzie, and continues to trace her adolescence and young adulthood; Nell rebels against the stern conventions of her mother's Toronto household, only to rush back home at 28 to help her family deal with Lizzie's schizophrenia. After carving out a "medium-sized niche" as a freelance book editor, Nell meets Oona, a writer, who is bored with her marriage to Tig. Oona has been searching for someone to fill "the position of second wife," and she introduces Nell to Tig. Later in life, Nell takes care of her once vital but now ravaged-by-age parents. Though the episodic approach has its disjointed moments, Atwood provides a memorable mosaic of domestic pain and the surface tension of a troubled family. (Sept. 19)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Atwood's brilliant and bracing novels appear apace, yet it's been 15 years since her last short story collection, Wilderness Tips. Atwood now returns to the form in a book of interconnected tales that span the life of a skeptical, stoic, book-loving woman named Nell. Swooping back and forth in time and mordantly assessing everything from fashion to the counterculture to real estate, Atwood touches down to illuminate Nell at age 11, knitting furiously while awaiting the arrival of an unexpected sibling. Lizzie turns out to be an exceedingly anxious child, and their exhausted mother leans too heavily on Nell for help. At once fascinated and repelled by the domestic arts, Nell strives to remain unencumbered during her sojourns as an "itinerate brain" at various universities, fending off married academics until she finally falls for one. Tig's dreadfully imperial wife, mother of his two sons, plagues them even after they flee to a farm, where Tig and Nell live in a fever of hard work and earthy sensuousness. Atwood's meticulous stories exert a powerful centrifugal force, pulling the reader into a whirl of droll cultural analysis and provocative emotional truths. Gimlet-eyed, gingery, and impishly funny, Atwood dissects the inexorable demands of family, the persistence of sexism, the siege of old age, and the complex temperaments of other species (the story about the gift horse is to die for). Shaped by a Darwinian perspective, political astuteness, autobiographical elements, and a profound trust in literature, Atwood's stories evoke humankind's disastrous hubris and phenomenal spirit with empathy and bemusement. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Neufeld on May 2 2007
Format: Hardcover
This collection of stories, Atwood's first since Bluebeard's Egg, is a solid, but not exceptional, work by Canada's most famous writer. Atwood is not as strong on literary craft as, for example, Alice Munro, who has also lately produced a collection of semi-autobiographical stories. Atwood has always been content to get across her ideas, which are central to her writing, and it is her ideas or "message" that tend to take precedence over craft. Even so, these stories are interesting and varied. Although it is risky to assume that the first person narrator can be equated to the author (this is generally not true, though the first person narrator is often quite similar to the author), one can certainly gain some insights into Atwood's experiences growing up with her father and mother and much younger sister from these stories. The first story is the only one that mentions the Roman Empire, and here the transition is a bit forced, although the point is well-taken (that our situation is comparable to life in the late Roman Empire). I was a little bothered by the way the two boys in the title story, "Moral Disorder"--the sons of Tig--are never given names or differentiated, not even once. They are always described as "the boys", as though they existed and acted like a single unit in the eyes of the narrator, Nell, and hence in the eyes of the author as well. But apart from these objections, the collection is an absorbing and worthwhile read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Debbie M Kuby on Dec 16 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This had me pretty confused for the first half of the book. Finally I figured it out and read it again. Interesting concept.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lafleurpetite on May 6 2010
Format: Hardcover
Related to this book and the protagonist in so many ways and on so many levels. Another great from the queen of fiction.
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Format: Hardcover
It is a real pleasure to see how Atwood's novels develop and change with times. Unlike many authors, she only gets better with each novel. Her novels are fresh, innovative and original. She is able to reinvent her fiction with each new publication, giving the reader something fresh, current and original with every new work. This collection of short stories is fabulous - Atwood at her best.
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8 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Westmount on Nov. 20 2006
Format: Hardcover
This collection of dull short stories has been so over-edited in a subtractive way, that any literary contents within have been pulverized. It appears to be an exercize in control and anal retentiveness, relying on facile shifts of perspective, that are supposed to justify very ordinary literature. In the first story, the author starts with Nell's story as an elderly, (possibly influenced by the begnning of Titanic the James Cameron Movie) and then exposes us to long and languid segments about every detail of her life. The last two pages of the story are supposed to justify this marathon of deliberate crawling, yet the shift from Nell and her husband to the Roman Empire is just as immobile, and a bit Hollywoody. Most of the book continues on in a format of short stories with Nell as the central character, gets better a bit towards the end, and then fizzles away like the Roman Empire.
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