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Bodily Harm by Margaret Atwood
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Bodily Harm (1981)

by Margaret Atwood

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It's not my favorite Atwood book, but it is in no way a bad book.

The writing is fantastic and I love the constantly changing tone of the narration. Atwood exposes the human character in such a raw and chaotic way that it is almost impossible not to be swept away by her work. An interesting piece of fiction that explores sexual and political power in a way that truly makes the reader think. ( )
  CareBear36 | May 27, 2015 |
This is one of Atwood's earlier books, and I can definitely see some differences in her writing.

I think what I love about Margaret Atwood is that she is able to write about complex feelings and emotions, but in a round-about way that does not make it obvious that she is doing it.

This was the story of Rennie, a woman recently recovering from breast cancer (and feeling that her life is over). She basically stops living until she decides to go on a trip to a middle of nowhere island to get away from her life for a bit. And that's what happens...in a way. She gets a little caught up in a little revolution...

In typical Atwood fashion, the ending leaves the reader wondering...

Oh Atwood! I heart you! ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
This is one of Atwood's earlier books, and I can definitely see some differences in her writing.

I think what I love about Margaret Atwood is that she is able to write about complex feelings and emotions, but in a round-about way that does not make it obvious that she is doing it.

This was the story of Rennie, a woman recently recovering from breast cancer (and feeling that her life is over). She basically stops living until she decides to go on a trip to a middle of nowhere island to get away from her life for a bit. And that's what happens...in a way. She gets a little caught up in a little revolution...

In typical Atwood fashion, the ending leaves the reader wondering...

Oh Atwood! I heart you! ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
I found Bodily Harm to be really interesting, though at some points slow-moving. It was the first Atwood that I had read that blatantly had local politics at his core and really emphasized it. That is not to say that any of her other works don't have politics in them; it's just that this one had small-island politics and revolution at its core.

At first I thought it was another identity-crisis novel, but this had so much more to it. Yes, Renni was having a bit of a crisis, but then she found herself intertwined in the local politics of a small set of islands she was supposed to be writing a travel piece on. It was really interesting to see how it unfolded, especially as the novel drew to a close.

I was very interested in the changes of verb tense throughout the different portions of the novel. Also, the novel was broken into parts rather than chapters. I'm not quite sure why the distant past of Renni's life was in present tense, the closer past was in past tense, the current story was in present, and the ending was in future tense. It definitely helped me differentiate among the different threads of the story that was being woven.

Stylistically, the novel used a lot of dialogue, and the sentences were easy to follow and relatively short. The locals' version of English was very distinct, and I thought it came across well.

I would rank this early novel between Lady Oracle and Surfacing, with Lady Oracle above. I'd definitely recommend it. ( )
  Esquiress | Apr 20, 2013 |
ebook version
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Summary
A powerfully and brilliantly crafted novel, "Bodily Harm is the story of Rennie Wilford, a young journalist whose life has begun to shatter around the edges. Rennie flies to the Caribbean to recuperate, and on the tiny island of St. Antoine she is confronted by a world where her rules for survival no longer apply. By turns comic, satiric, relentless, and terrifying, Margaret Atwood's "Bodily Harm is ultimately an exploration of the lust for power, both sexual and political, and the need for compassion that goes beyond what we ordinarily mean by love.
added by tobiejonzarelli | editLibrary Journal
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Margaret Atwoodprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Donkers, TinekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Funhoff, TinekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
A man's presence suggests what he is capable of doing to you or for you. By contrast, a woman's presence ... defines what can and cannot be done to her.

John Berger, Ways of Seeing
Dedication
For Jennifer Rankin, 1941-1979.
For Graeme, James and John.
First words
This is how I got here, says Rennie.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Rennie Wilford, a young journalist running from her life, takes an assignment to a Caribbean island and tumbles into a world where no one is what they seem. When the burnt-out Yankee Paul (does he smuggle dope or hustle for the CIA?) offers a no-hooks, no-strings affair, she is caught up in a lethal web of corruption...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385491077, Paperback)

A powerfully and brilliantly crafted novel, Bodily Harm is the story of Rennie Wilford, a young journalist whose life has begun to shatter around the edges.  Rennie flies to the Caribbean to recuperate, and on the tiny island of St.  Antoine she is confronted by a world where her rules for survival no longer apply.  By turns comic, satiric, relentless, and terrifying, Margaret Atwood's Bodily Harm is ultimately an exploration of the lust for power, both sexual and political, and the need for compassion that goes beyond what we ordinarily mean by love.


Margaret Atwood is the author of over twenty-five books, including fiction, poetry, and essays.  Among her most recent works are the bestselling novels Alias Grace and The Robber Bride and the collections Wilderness Tips and Good Bones and Simple Murders.  She lives in Toronto.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:33 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Rennie Wilford, a young jounalist running from her life, takes an assignment to a Caribbean island and tumbles into a world where no one is what they seem. When the burnt-out Yankee Paul (does he smuggle dope or hustle for the CIA?) offers her a no-hooks, no strings affair, she is caught up in a lethal web of corruption.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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