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av Margaret Atwood

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MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner / Omnämnanden
7,3141301,199 (3.82)1 / 574
Fiction. Literature. Humor (Fiction.) HTML:From the bestselling author of The Handmaid's Tale and The Testaments??one of Margaret Atwood??s most unforgettable characters lurks at the center of this intricate novel like a spider in a web. The glamorous, irresistible, unscrupulous Zenia is nothing less than a fairy-tale villain in the memories of her former friends.

Roz, Charis, and Tony??university classmates decades ago??were reunited at Zenia??s funeral and have met monthly for lunch ever since, obsessively retracing the destructive swath she once cut through their lives. A brilliantly inventive fabulist, Zenia had a talent for exploiting her friends?? weaknesses, wielding intimacy as a weapon and cheating them of money, time, sympathy, and men.

But one day, five years after her funeral, they are shocked to catch sight of Zenia: even her death appears to have been yet another fiction. As the three women plot to confront their larger-than-life nemesis, Atwood proves herself a gleefully acute observer of the treacherous shoals of friendship, trust,
… (mer)
  1. 50
    Kattöga av Margaret Atwood (sturlington)
    sturlington: One book is about friendship among girls, the other about friendship among women.
  2. 11
    One Moment, One Morning av Sarah Rayner (Pedrolina)
    Pedrolina: Stories of women's friendship, loss and moving on.
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engelska (126)  nederländska (2)  tyska (1)  franska (1)  Alla språk (130)
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This isn't the type of book I generally read, but it had the attraction of apparently being based upon a Grimm's fairy tale, although it seems not closely, and with the twist that the original was the Robber Bridegroom, a man who literally ate his young brides. In this, Zenia is a femme fatale, a 'man eater' who preys upon men in order to enrich herself financially, but more importantly, to inflict misery on their wives and girlfriends out of sheer spite.

The story opens with three women who believe that Zenia, who deceived them all and lured away their partners - though in Tony's case he did eventually come back - is now dead. They are horrified when she walks into a restaurant while they are eating lunch. Then we go back in time with each character in turn, not only to learn how she met Zenia and how Zenia - more a mythic force of evil than a real woman - wrecked havoc in the character's life, but ultimately back through that character's life to her childhood where we see what moulded her. Zenia is a pathological liar who takes on exactly the persona needed, in each case, to prey on her victim's weakness. It's as if Zenia intuitively picks up on the hurts of the other woman's childhood.

One important aspect of this story is the time in which it is set: 1991. All three women are now middle aged, two with grown children. The only one who has managed to 'keep' her man is Tony, and her wimpish husband West is almost a surrogate child, whereas the other two are really better off without the men in question - one a serial philanderer who, although a succesful lawyer, seems to have sponged off his wife Roz's greater wealth, and the other a lazy freeloader and draft dodger. The women are devastated by their other halves' infidelity with Zenia which is more hurtful than their financial losses, and only Roz is hard nosed enough to not take her husband back when she sees he is still besotted and would go after Zenia again like a shot. However she still suffers massively from hurt and guilt to the point of blaming herself and taking pills and booze which land her in hospital when he commits suicide.

All three women come over by today's standards as going to incredible lengths to kowtow to the men and keep unpleasant truths away from them, such as Zenia's blackmailing of Tony, and the men all have an infantile character (apart from a super-efficient male assistant of Roz's who turns out to be gay), but as they had grown up in the 1950s, this is not altogether suprising, and the next generation, in the shape of Roz's and Charis' daughters, are much more clued up and fearless. Zenia herself remains a mystery to the end, but this seems to be the writer's intention as she is really a force of nature rather than a human being. The most positive element of the story is the strong and supportive friendship that the three women show each other, which remains their deepest and most stable relationship, given the tension between the two mothers and their offspring. ( )
  kitsune_reader | Nov 23, 2023 |
I had trouble getting into this book - I picked it up and read a page or two and then abandoned it more times than I can count. But, all of a sudden, by about page 20 it was compulsive reading.

Each of the three main characters, Tony, Roz and Charis teeters on the edge of being a cliche, and the contrast between the three of them pushes them further into familiar territory; however, each of them is written so realistically that I forgave the slightly worn feeling of the tropes.

Each character gets a story in three parts - childhood, emerging adulthood and maturity with Zenia a constant, toxic presence; a measuring stick, by which growth is charted. ( )
  settingshadow | Aug 19, 2023 |
Great characters, zenia lives on! ( )
  JosephKing6602 | Dec 1, 2022 |
Published in 1993 and set in Toronto, three women, Tony, Charis, and Roz, are good friends who met in college. Tony becomes a professor of history, Charis is a free spirit teaching yoga, and Roz is a successful businesswoman. Villainess, Zenia, plays on the sympathies of the three women. She lies, connives, and manipulates these women, toying with them and the men they love. She wreaks havoc in their lives.

It is told in three alternating segments in flashback, one for each protagonist, and the three storylines converge in the end. There are many complexities at work in this novel. Zenia exhibits many of the traits of a psychopath (though the term is not used). She is an expert at exploiting vulnerabilities. The women repeatedly give her the benefit of the doubt, trusting her when they should avoid her. There are many references to fairy tales, which provides additional food for thought.

The three main female characters support each other through traumatic times. They keep expecting Zenia to turn into a better person, or act in the same manner as they do. It definitely contains feminist themes. Zenia displays several traits they accept from the men in their lives, which begs the question as to why they have differing expectations of men and women. It examines the idea that positive change can be ignited through negative experiences. I found it darkly fascinating. I am sure it could be the basis for lively discussion in a book group.

4.5
( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
Oh Zenia! Do we get in life that which we deserve? Does Zenia ruin their lives, or is she just easy to blame? Loved it! ( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
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Margaret Atwood has always possessed a tribal bent: in both her fiction and her nonfiction she has described and transcribed the ceremonies and experience of being a woman, or a Canadian, or a writer -- or all three. And as with so many practitioners of identity politics, literary or otherwise, while one side of her banner defiantly exclaims "We Are!" the other side, equally defiant, admonishes "Don't Lump Us." In "The Robber Bride," Ms. Atwood has gathered (not lumped) four very different women characters.
 

» Lägg till fler författare (16 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Margaret Atwoodprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Dunne, BernadetteBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Lameris, MarianÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Tarlofsky, MalcolmOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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A rattlesnake that doesn't bite teaches you nothing.
—Jessamyn West
Only what is entirely lost demands to be endlessly named: there is a mania to call the lost thing until it returns.
—Gunter Grass
Illusion is the first of all pleasures.
—Oscar Wilde
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For Graeme and Jess,
and for Ruth, Phoebe, Rosie, and Anna.

And Absent Friends.
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The story of Zenia ought to begin when Zenia began.
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Male fantasies, male fantasies, is everything run by male fantasies? Up on a pedestal or down on your knees, it's all a male fantasy: that you're strong enough to take what they dish out, or else too weak to do anything about it. Even pretending you aren't catering to male fantasies is a male fantasy: pretending you're unseen, pretending you have a life of your own, that you can wash your feet and comb your hair unconscious of the ever-present watcher peering through the keyhole, peering through the keyhole in your own head, if nowhere else. You are a woman with a man inside watching a woman. You are your own voyeur.
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Fiction. Literature. Humor (Fiction.) HTML:From the bestselling author of The Handmaid's Tale and The Testaments??one of Margaret Atwood??s most unforgettable characters lurks at the center of this intricate novel like a spider in a web. The glamorous, irresistible, unscrupulous Zenia is nothing less than a fairy-tale villain in the memories of her former friends.

Roz, Charis, and Tony??university classmates decades ago??were reunited at Zenia??s funeral and have met monthly for lunch ever since, obsessively retracing the destructive swath she once cut through their lives. A brilliantly inventive fabulist, Zenia had a talent for exploiting her friends?? weaknesses, wielding intimacy as a weapon and cheating them of money, time, sympathy, and men.

But one day, five years after her funeral, they are shocked to catch sight of Zenia: even her death appears to have been yet another fiction. As the three women plot to confront their larger-than-life nemesis, Atwood proves herself a gleefully acute observer of the treacherous shoals of friendship, trust,

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