The Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood
Tuesday’s Tale of Suspense August 22, 2017
“At the outset, Verna had not intended to kill anyone.”
Do you like small horrors? What about quiet horror? If you’ve never experienced Margaret Atwood’s fiction (she’s written 40 novels and currently quite popular right now with her The Handmaid’s Tale—a misogyist society where women have no rights and are forced to serve as breeders), here’s a fascinating and suspenseful story to give you an introduction, The Stone Mattress.
Imagine you are on an Arctic cruise and you come into contact with a man who raped you in high school. What would you say to this person? Would you seek revenge or forgiveness? Come and meet Verna. She is biting and clever as she is beautiful and courageous.
This is a compelling story and my first experience with Atwood’s fiction. I was blown away by this highly intelligent story of drama and intrigue.
You’ve likely seen lots of promos for the bestselling and critically acclaimed The Handmaid’s Tale, a film (1990) and the new series now available on Hulu. Atwood is enormously well read, especially by young writers. She began her career as a poet. Her writing is often in women’s-studies curricula; her stories explore issues of morality. The Handmaid’s Tale was on the American Library Association’s list of the top 100 banned books of the decade. Margaret Atwood is considered to be the prophet of dystopian fiction.
The Handmaid’s Tale Trailer, film 1990, staring Faye Dunaway, Robert Duvall, Natasha Richardson, Elizabeth McGovern; Screenplay by Harold Pinter.
The Handmaid’s Tale Series Trailer on Hulu:
The Stone Mattress short story is part of a collection named The Stone Mattress.
Read Margaret Atwood’s short story The Stone Mattress here at NewYorker.com/Magazine.
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