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Surfacing by Margaret Atwood
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Surfacing (1972)

by Margaret Atwood

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3,598882,189 (3.36)310
Recently added byprivate library, Kgarts, pinax, Guitman80, cindywho, alexdavies, Zjev, ginaruiz, Sam.Prince
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Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
Uncompromisingly bleak, but written so vividly it's hard to pull away from.

Similar to a Shane Meadows film, it's possible to appreciate the quality of the novel whilst simultaneously being unable to recommend it to anyone, knowing that you would be putting them through something that isn't "enjoyable".

The writing style is very much towards the poetic end of the spectrum. Much of the character development is drawn from glimpses of an internal monologue looking out at the world (from the protagonist's detached perspective) meshed with inward-looking fragments of memory and emotion.

I'm sure this book has been analysed to death in a million classrooms... once you get past the depressing plot and basic interactions between the dysfunctional characters on the book's surface there are so many interesting motifs, themes and concepts bundled together, in particular ideas about what it means to be a human and what value (or harm) modern societies bring us. There are also recurring themes of invasion and intrusion: emotional, physical, societal and military.

Worth reading. ( )
  Sam.Prince | May 7, 2019 |
I loved the first three-quarters of the book. The main character was layered and the era provided us with a way to scrape off her skin until she was raw and bleeding. I'd forgotten how blunt and nasty the end of the '70s could be. That's when main character turned painful and to be honest, annoying. Her abrupt descent into madness and subsequent surfacing happened too quickly.

Atwood's writing is beautiful, but I think I'm taking a break for a bit. ( )
  authenticjoy | Mar 29, 2019 |
I first read Surfacing in university, now, 35 years later, it is included on the syllabus of my daughter’s Can Lit course. Though written in 1972, and set in a remote area of Quebec in the 1960s, it felt very contemporary to me. Being back in your hometown and coming to terms with the truth about your childhood after the loss of your parents is a timeless right of passage. A journey that can send you off the deep end, as it does in Surfacing. ( )
  Lindsay_W | Dec 26, 2018 |
It's the late 60s or early 70s and our nameless protagonist arrives in the Canadian wilderness with her three friends after receiving a report that her father is missing. It's a bit of a mystery, a bit of a nontraditional ghost story but a very internal book. The protagonist doesn't cope with life well and she's not someone you can cozy up to; in fact, I think I was most drawn to her when she was interacting with nature not people. While not my favorite Atwood, I found the book intriguing, sometimes odd, and it still lingers in my mind in a weird, itchy way.

This was a reread for me but I found I did not remember much of the story, so it might as well have been the first time around. (this review first written on 30 Nov 2008 and posted in the 75 Book group) ( )
  avaland | Nov 9, 2018 |
Linguistically, this novel was fantastic. Atwood's prose is wonderful; her strange metaphors and similes never ceased to amaze me. However, other than the language, I didn't come away from this novel with much. The story line was barely interesting, and the characters were irritating. I'm certain that in two years, I will have forgotten what this book was even about. ( )
  Borrows-N-Wants | Sep 22, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
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I can't believe I'm on this road again, twisting along past the lake where the white birches are dying, the disease is spreading up from the south, and I notice they now have sea-planes for hire.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Part detective novel, part psychological thriller, Surfacing is the story of a talented woman artist who goes in search of her missing father on a remote island in northern Quebec. Setting out with her lover and another young couple, she soon finds herself captivated by the isolated setting, where a marriage begins to fall apart, violence and death lurk just beneath the surface, and sex becomes a catalyst for conflict and dangerous choices.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385491050, Paperback)

Part detective novel, part psychological thriller, Surfacing is the story of a talented woman artist who goes in search of her missing father on a remote island in northern Quebec.  Setting out with her lover and another young couple, she soon finds herself captivated by the isolated setting, where a marriage begins to fall apart, violence and death lurk just beneath the surface, and sex becomes a catalyst for conflict and dangerous choices.  Surfacing is a work permeated with an aura of suspense, complex with layered meanings, and written in brilliant, diamond-sharp prose.  Here is a rich mine of ideas from an extraordinary writer about contemporary life and nature, families and marriage, and about women fragmented...and becoming whole.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:20 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A woman searching for her missing father travels with her lover and another couple to a remote island in northern Quebec, where they encounter violence and death.

» see all 4 descriptions

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