Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to


Posted by nliakos on August 29, 2015

by Margaret Atwood (Fawcett Crest/Ballantine 1972; ISBN 0-449-21375-7)

I am never completely sure what is going on in Margaret Atwood’s novels, and Surfacing was no exception. A young woman (the narrator, never named) spends a week in her family’s abandoned cabin in the woods of Quebec with her lover, Joe, and David and Anna, a married couple who are their friends. The narrator is ostensibly searching for her missing father; her mother died of an illness, and after that, he disappeared, but she believes him to be alive.

The relationships between the four shift as the days pass; the narrator struggles both with the memory of her ex-husband (or ex-lover; I wasn’t sure about this) and the baby he forced her to abort, and with her relationship with the extremely taciturn Joe. She gradually descends into madness, but is apparently able to “surface” in the end.

There is a lot of hostility expressed by the Canadian characters toward Americans (“Yanks”) in general and some American characters in particular.

It was a pretty weird book with a lot of comma splices; but at least it held my attention until the last page.


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