Nicolette Jones

You Are Left Tingling

Wilderness Tips

By Margaret Atwood

Bloomsbury 224pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

It is not easy to sum up the particular quality of Margaret Atwood’s short stories, because they do everything. They have irresistible ‘read-on’ opening lines: ‘Julie broke up with Connor in the middle of a swamp…’; ‘When she was nearly five, Susanna did a tap dance on a cheese box…’ They develop with the most satisfying ingenuity; each piece slots into place like marquetry, until you have the whole picture. They end in flourished climaxes that make you gasp that it all comes together, like a magician’s finale. And they are full of smart metaphor and memorisable aperçus and funny descriptions.

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