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Publisher's Summary

A collection of highly imaginative short pieces that speak to our times with deadly accuracy. Vintage Atwood creativity, intelligence, and humor: think Alias Grace. Margaret Atwood turns to short fiction for the first time since her 2006 collection, Moral Disorder, with nine tales of acute psychological insight and turbulent relationships bringing to mind her award-winning 1996 novel, Alias Grace. A recently widowed fantasy writer is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband in Alphinland, the first of three loosely linked stories about the romantic geometries of a group of writers and artists. In The Freeze-Dried Bridegroom, a man who bids on an auctioned storage space has a surprise. In Lusus Naturae, a woman born with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire. In Torching the Dusties, an elderly lady with Charles Bonnet syndrome comes to terms with the little people she keeps seeing, while a newly formed populist group gathers to burn down her retirement residence. And in Stone Mattress, a long-ago crime is avenged in the Arctic via a 1.9 billion-year-old stromatolite. In these nine tales, Margaret Atwood is at the top of her darkly humorous and seriously playful game.

This audiobook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.

©2014 O.W. Toad, Ltd. (P)2015 Audible Inc.

What listeners say about Stone Mattress

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Profile Image for sarah86msg
  • sarah86msg
  • 09-01-19

A taste of things to.come?

Loved the theme of the more mature voices running through these tales, some of which were related to each other in some way. The use of more mature voices was also clever and appropriate. Particularly well chosen actor for the cold calculating main character in Stone Mattress. Excellent book all round.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Wras
  • 08-10-16

Bitter, bitter old age tales that sting


I love Margaret Atwood's work but lately she is putting out some tales that are so full of disappointment in the human condition it is hard to like them.

Three of the stories are connected through characters and the rest in despair and reflections on life from the view of older bitter people, the magical tale is not so magic All the sex is tainted in use and abuse and so is therefore the love we get to see, even brotherly or asexual love are presented as a form of resignation.

Perhaps is me, but I find that she confuses bitterness with satire. And when it is spread so thickly it distorts everything into bleakness.

The writing is good and the plots are interesting, but the negativity gives no place to enjoy even the revenges or the past memories of the characters that feel cheated and used by their past loves making all an exercise in desperation for older character that discover or are very aware of their mortal coil.

It is good reading if you like Margaret Atwood but with the caveat that it is not happy reading or life affirming.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Rachel Urquhart
  • 07-19-21

Boring and bitter

I couldn't finish this - I listened to the first 2 chapters and then had to stop because it was so boring and uninspiring.

There's no plot whatsoever, which I don't mind when I feel like the characters and dialogue have something else to offer but this wasn't the case with Stone Mattress. The characters featured are elderly and most of the book seems to be them reflecting bitterly on their past and their decline into old age.

Maybe It's just because I'm 22 and have the optimism of youth but I hate depictions of old age that are WHOLLY negative, not showing any of the joy and privilege of getting to grow old. Granted i'm obviously not the target audience for this, and only chose it because I enjoyed Alias Grace and wanted to listen to more of Margaret Atwood.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-07-19

Very mediocre

Some were better than others, but overall performance was very weak and Stories were average at best.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 10-10-21

Don't bother!

So disappointing. I had high expectations of Margaret Atwood's writing. Also, her voice does not lend itself to narration.

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Profile Image for DO NOT buy this game, most of the computer words are not English . it is rubbish
  • DO NOT buy this game, most of the computer words are not English . it is rubbish
  • 06-16-21

MIXED bag

Some of the stories were brilliant, others not so good. I'll let you be the judge?