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First published in 1972, Surfacing was Margaret Atwood's second novel, following the critically acclaimed The Edible Woman. Atwood had already made her mark as a one of the most exciting new voices in Canadian poetry, winning the Governor General's Award in 1966 for The Circle Game, while her groundbreaking book of criticism, Survival, had started the process of redefining the meaning of Canadian literature.
In Surfacing, poetry and prose brilliantly come together in a heart-wrenching novel that focuses on a woman's desperate attempt to put the ghosts of her past to rest. With three friends, she's returned to the remote cabin in Northern Quebec where she spent her childhood. She's overwhelmed, almost to the point of emotional paralysis, by memories of her father and his death by drowning, her failed marriage and painful divorce, and an abortion that haunts her waking dreams. While she appears to be ambivalent about the landscape, it is the landscape that in fact will provide her with the means of healing herself and her broken spirit. Like Atwood's poetry of this period, Surfacing is a deeply psychological novel. Atwood uses the recurring image of surfacing from beneath the waves of an icy northern lake as a symbol of this woman's struggle to regain control of her life, to refuse to be a victim of her past. Surfacing is a poignant novel filled with the power of the Canadian wilderness to cleanse the soul, an image of the wilderness that has remained a preoccupation for Atwood throughout her writing career. --Jeffrey Canton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“One of the most important novels of the twentieth century…utterly remarkable.”
–New York Times Book Review
“Atwood probes emotions with X-ray precision. All in all, it’s an exhilarating performance.”
–Globe and Mail
“A brilliant tour-de-force.”
–Winnipeg Free Press
“Atwood’s powers of observation are disconcertingly acute, combining an ear for the vernacular with an eye for the jugular.”
“The depth and complexity of Atwood’s critique of contemporary society are stunning.”
“It is excellent in so many ways that one cannot begin to do justice to it in a review. It has to be read and experienced.”
–Margaret Laurence, Quarry
“Margaret Atwood is one of the most intelligent and talented writers to set herself the task of deciphering life in the late twentieth century.”
“In this disturbing book, Margaret Atwood has written a fascinating, sometimes frightening novel about our Canadian landscape, about our paranoia, about what we are and what we are becoming.…Astonishing.”
“Surfacing is likely the best piece of fiction produced by Atwood’s generation in North America or anywhere.”
“[Atwood is] a superb storyteller who brings intelligence and wit to bear in a compelling personal vision.”
“It is quite simply superb.…She writes with the ease of total acceptance, from right inside the culture, authenticating our experience, holding up a mirror so that the image we get back is not distorted by satire or made unreal by proselytizing…but real.”
“The sophistication of its telling, the power of observation and imagination make the book remarkable.…It’s a masterful encounter with the way we live now.”
From the Hardcover edition.
What an incredible writer, she takes you on a journey that is difficult but awesome. I chose to read it because long ago, I tried a couple of times to read it but couldn't. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Ann Drake
As long as you pick up a book that says Margaret Atwood down the spine you will be on to a winner. This book sits happily alongside her other great reads, it's enjoyable and... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Mr. Jp White
i had to read this book for college and did it ever suck. They told me i had to write an essay about it, so i wrote an essay about the only interesting character, Dave, and teacher... Read morePublished on Oct. 1 2013 by Torie Monaghan
I read this book in my early 20's in the early 90's and found that her telling of the 70's was intriguing.Published on Dec 31 2011 by David Sabine
I had many thoughts about "Surfacing" while reading it. I thought it felt like homework at times; thought another author should cover the book, take Atwood's story and tell it... Read morePublished on June 23 2011 by Chris
On the exterior many lives are impetuously lived, in constant motion, constant flux, demanding change... while on the inside, important wheels have long since stopped turning. Read morePublished on Jan. 26 2002 by Cipriano
Having read most of Margaret Atwood's works of fiction, I have to say that Surfacing is probably the darkest of any I have read by her -- including the Handmaid's Tale. Read morePublished on Jan. 1 2002 by Denton Loving
This is one of Atwoods early novels. Written in the seventies it has many of that decades concerns in it: environmentalism, organic reality taking precedence over... Read morePublished on Oct. 9 2001 by Doug Anderson