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Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood

Lady Oracle (original 1976; edition 1998)

by Margaret Atwood

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Title:Lady Oracle
Authors:Margaret Atwood
Info:Anchor (1998), Edition: 1 Anchor, Paperback
Collections:Your library

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Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood (1976)


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Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
Lady Oracle, one of Atwood's earliest fiction works, is a humorously peculiar book. With an undefined plotline and a meandering moral, the shining star of Lady Oracle is the precise, intelligent prose. The novel follows Joan Foster through her difficult childhood with a demanding, bullying mother and an uninterested father and into her flawed marriage with a morose social extremist and secret life as a writer of lurid Gothic romances. While the text is rambling, Joan/Atwood's musings on the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of fiction writing are particularly engaging. An odd, yet enjoyable read. ( )
  GennaC | May 9, 2017 |
A tale of a 1960s woman struggle to find her place in the world and deal with issues made by herself and loved ones. The book is good as in it grabs your attention and delivers the author's message; about gender issues and parents long lasting effect on their children. While the characters are interesting, there isn't much of a plot. It's a lot about the message. It's written really well with great details that bring a strong sense of realism. (Although, there are a lot of either run-on sentences or sentences that need commas.) I enjoyed the book for the ideology, but be prepared for a very slow storyline. ( )
  renbedell | Oct 10, 2016 |
Well written. A clever look at women's place in society. The psychology of the character, once fat and invisible, now slim and wanting invisibility, is well done and clever. The problem is the lack of story. I know you don't read Atwood for the story, but no one is going to be abridging The Blind Assassin because you'd be ruining a perfect piece of art. This book never quite attains that status and the incidents of Joan's life are frankly boring. ( )
  Lukerik | Feb 10, 2016 |
This is my first experience of Margaret Atwood. My Mum and I have a very similar taste in books and she’d read one of Atwood’s others (Oryx and Crake, I believe) and hadn’t enjoyed it at all, so it was with some trepidation that I started on this one and had it not been picked for my Book Club then I’m perfectly sure I wouldn’t have picked it up.

Within the group it certainly got very mixed reviews and I think I was the only person who fully enjoyed it. However, from the opening lines I was engaged with it, although now I come to write this review several weeks later I’m struggling to put my thoughts down on (electronic!) paper! It’s a novel of Joan’s relationships and how they influence her life. From her relationships with her bullying mother and loving Aunt Lou, to a Polish count and a dull husband… and how she eventually decides to leave this life behind for a new one.

People who like to have all the ends tied up neatly in a novel definitely won’t like the ending of this (this was one of the major criticisms from the other members of my book group), but I thought it was great – although I’m not convinced I want to read anything else by her! ( )
  Bagpuss | Jan 17, 2016 |
I wasn't really sure I would love this book until the very last page. I mean, it's Atwood, and I've loved Atwood in the past, but it's been a while since I've read anything by her. Really, quite a while. Maybe college? But I'd had a flurry of love for her then, collecting several of her books and dutifully moving them from house to house as I moved on to other literary loves. But then, after Aurororama, I was looking for some new fiction to read. And I have a fiction problem. Have I told you? Jessa and I used to keep each other in balance. She would read mostly fiction and I read mostly non-fiction and we would recommend the gems we found along the way. Now she's on Berlin and we rarely chat and I don't know how to find new fiction on my own! So I was skulking about my bookcases, trying to find an antidote to my growing irritation with two-dimensional representations of women all around me and... of course. Atwood.

So, Lady Oracle it was. Atwood would be perfect for taking women seriously, only her character, Joan Foster, doesn't take herself terribly seriously. In fact, she is sometimes unrelatable, a few times nearly unlikeable, but there is a bit of a mystery, in that the book starts with Joan reminiscing on her faking her own death. The book is her examination of her life -- how did it come to this? Where could she possibly go from here? Her memories are juxtaposed with excerpts from her books -- Joan is a writer, primarily of bodice-rippers. In a strange way it suddenly reminds me of 1982, Janine, by Alasdair Gray, one of my favorite novels, in that both use fantasy to reveal character, and both fantasies begin to fall apart as the dreamers confront themselves and their need for the dreams.

Then in the end things fall apart so rapidly and completely that I am sure I was cringing as I read, envisioning no possibility for anything resembling a reasonable, let alone happy, ending. But, without saying how it ends, it somehow achieved a sudden clarity, and that last paragraph I could kiss Atwood for -- it is surely one of my favorite last lines of all time. ( )
  greeniezona | Sep 20, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
Atwoodové román se odehrává v druhé polovině 20. století a politicky odráží zejména existenci západních levicových hnutí. Sama Atwoodová se aktivně hlásí k levici a patří k propagátorům ekologického života. V očích Joan jde ale o bezzubé bojůvky, kterým přes velkolepé ideály chybí konkrétní cíl i prostředky.
Bohatý děj doplňuje neodolatelný atwoodovský humor a samozřejmě i ironický feminismus. Její hrdinka se sice motá v začarovaném kruhu, své konání ale reflektuje s dokonalým odstupem: Joan se snaží řídit svůj vlastní život jako život svých romantických románových hrdinek, ale vůbec se jí to nedaří, život se jí vymyká z rukou. Každá další maska je jen komplikací, z níž už není cesty zpět. Snad jen ta schopnost nadhledu ji ještě drží nad vodou. A že se nedočkáme laciného happyendu, jaký by nechyběl v Joaniných románcích, či naopak nějaké konečné tragédie, je nasnadě.
Které já však v závěru vítězí, není vůbec jasné. Joan se v Itálii místo pocitu osvobození zmocní paranoia a fikce se životem se jí promíchá natolik, že ve snaze uchopit život do vlastních rukou praští flaškou naprosto nevinného chlápka.
added by _eskarina | editIdnes.cz, Hana Ulmanová (Dec 28, 2009)
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I planned my death carefully; unlike my life, which meandered along from one thing to another, despite my feeble attempts to control it.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Faking her own death, Joan Foster flees to an Italian seaside resort there to take stock of her life - and death - so far: a life of multiple identities and transformations, from fat girl to thin, from red hair to mud brown, from London to Toronto, from Polish Count to radical husband to the Royal Porcupine (her 'con-create' poet lover), from the secret writing of gothic romances to life as Canada's 'most distunguished female poet'. Blundering from one adventure to another, each crisis more lurid and extraordinary than the last, our irrepressible heroine is always hilarious and always a survivor - if only just.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385491085, Paperback)

Joan Foster is the bored wife of a myopic ban-the-bomber.  She takes off overnight as Canada's new superpoet, pens lurid gothics on the sly, attracts a blackmailing reporter, skids cheerfully in and out of menacing plots, hair-raising traps, and passionate trysts, and lands dead and well in Terremoto, Italy.  In this remarkable, poetic, and magical novel, Margaret Atwood proves yet again why she is considered to be one of the most important and accomplished writers of our time.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:37 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Joan Foster is the bored wife of a myopic ban-the-bomber. She takes off overnight as Canada's new superpoet, pens lurid gothics on the sly, attracts a blackmailing reporter, skids cheerfully in and out of menacing plots, hair-raising traps, and passionate trysts, and lands dead and well in Terremoto, Italy. In this remarkable, poetic, and magical novel, Margaret Atwood proves yet again why she is considered to be one of the most important and accomplished writers of our time.… (more)

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