Thursday, May 26, 2011

Why I Love Margaret Atwood: Finding What Is Unique About An Author for the Literary Blog Hop

Literary Blog Hop

Another essay topic! That’s what I thought when I read this week’s Literary Blog Hop prompt from The Blue Bookcase. Talk about one author that you love and why his or her writing is unique. Please be specific. The first author that came to mind was Margaret Atwood. (I don’t think I’ve read enough of her stuff; I have a healthy stack of her work on my shelf and of that I think I’ve only read half.) Before I began my post on why I think Margaret Atwood is unique, I thought I would first read the response on The Blue Bookcase from Christina. What struck me most about her response comes in the second paragraph. She writes:

“It's about the word "unique," and the fact that it is an absolute. Absolutes, like "equal" and "perfect," technically cannot be used with modifiers like "more," "very," and" less." Something is either unique (totally one-of-a-kind, unlike any other) or it isn't. And yeah, I know that language evolves and nowadays everybody uses absolutes just like any other adjective and blah, blah, but just humor me for a minute. Let's assume that in order for an author's writing to be unique, it has to truly be UNIQUE. The trouble with that assumption is that I would have to have read everything anyone has ever written in order to know whether the elements I consider to be unique are actually unique. Get it? Obviously I'm not going to be able to make that kind of a judgement… . Real uniqueness is a pretty tall order.”

After reading Christina’s take on the word “unique”, it made me question my response. While I think of Margaret Atwood as a unique writer, how do I really know? I suppose I don’t. What I do know is that of all the authors I read, I find her unique and I hope that I can explain why. I’ll try not to make this an essay, unlike my Hop post on April 28th.

I’ll keep to one aspect of Atwood’s writing. What I find unique about Margaret Atwood’s work is her ability to write in different genres, while keeping all her work literary. She writes intense dystopian novels, my favourite being The Handmaid’s Tale. She then moves from the future to the past with a work like The Blind Assassin. She then goes further back into the past with mythological works like The Penelopliad. All three are works I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend. She also writes poetry and children’s literature. Though her work is often called feminist, I don’t think that matters. Men and women alike can relate to the characters in Atwood’s books. It’s about the quality of literature.

It’s not an essay! Now if only blogger was working I could have this post up Thursday afternoon…. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Who is your loved/beloved unique author?


  1. Excellent response! I love Margaret Atwood, too. I read one of her children's books (Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda) a couple of weeks ago, and even that was literary! She is amazing. I have a copy of The Penelopiad that I want to get to soon, but I was hoping to make myself brush up on The Odyssey, first.
    Thanks for participating in the hop!

  2. I've been meaning to read Margret Atwood for ages. I think I now will. Great post. I'm your newest follower.

  3. I also became an instant fan of Margaret Atwood after reading The Handmaid's Tale but haven't explored anything else by her yet. I have Oryx & Crake waiting on the shelf and everything else she's written on the TBR list.
    She writes such vivid description that takes your breath away. Great choice :)

  4. I haven't read Margaret Atwood yet, but I did buy The Blind Assassin fairly recently and hope to read it soon. We'll see, then, if I agree with you. ;)

    The author I chose is genius, in my opinion, but definitely not for everybody.

  5. I love Atwood too, and I wouldn't say her writing is feminist anymore than it is humanist-- just that sometimes she focuses on one gender. I didn't like Year of the Flood though.

    My beloved author is Mordecai Richler.

  6. Christina, It's good to have an idea of the story of the Odyssey, but the story is more about Penelope's situation, what is expected of her and what she lets happen to her.

    che, I can't encourage enough people to read Atwood.

    Teacher, She's written so many books I don't know if I'll ever read them all.

    Adam, like I said to che, I think everyone should read at least one of her books. I really liked The Blind Assassin, I hope you like it too.

    John, I read your review of The Year of the Flood. I totally understand your reasons for not liking it. Am I terrible for never having read Richler?

  7. When I read the question, I thought "How can I answer that without mentioning Atwood (again!))?"
    However, i never got time to participate in the hop, so I'm glad you did talk about Atwood!
    I also think that the way her works are paradoxical and somewhat contradictory makes her a unique writer...

  8. I haven't read any Atwood - is the general consensus that newbies should start with The Blind Assassin?

  9. My first Atwood was The Handmaid's Tale and I loved it. The Blind Assassin would be good to start with too.