Hide Sora notification

Try Sora - the student reading app, by OverDrive

Apple App Store
Google Play Store
  Main Nav
Stone Mattress
Cover of Stone Mattress
Stone Mattress
Nine Wicked Tales
Borrow Borrow Borrow
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Handmaid's Tale In this extraordinary collection, Margaret Atwood gives us nine unforgettable tales that reveal the grotesque, delightfully wicked...
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Handmaid's Tale In this extraordinary collection, Margaret Atwood gives us nine unforgettable tales that reveal the grotesque, delightfully wicked...
Available Formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1

Recommended for you

 

Description-

  • From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Handmaid's Tale
    In this extraordinary collection, Margaret Atwood gives us nine unforgettable tales that reveal the grotesque, delightfully wicked facets of humanity. "Alphinland," the first of three loosely linked tales, introduces us to a fantasy writer who is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband. In "Lusus Naturae," a young woman, monstrously transformed by a genetic defect, is mistaken for a vampire. And in the title story, a woman who has killed four husbands discovers an opportunity to exact vengeance on the first man who ever wronged her.
    By turns thrilling, funny, and thought-provoking, Stone Mattress affirms Atwood as our greatest creator of worlds—and as an incisive chronicler of our darkest impulses.
    A Best Book of the Year: NPR, BookRiot

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    ALPHINLANDThe freezing rain sifts down, handfuls of shining rice thrown by some unseen celebrant. Wherever it hits, it crystallizes into a granulated coating of ice. Under the streetlights it looks so beautiful: like fairy silver, thinks Constance. But then, she would think that; she's far too prone to enchantment. The beauty is an illusion, and also a warning: there's a dark side to beauty, as with poisonous butterflies. She ought to be considering the dangers, the hazards, the grief this ice storm is going to bring to many; is already bringing, according to the television news.

    The tv screen is a flat high-definition one that Ewan bought so he could watch hockey and football games on it. Constance would rather have the old fuzzy one back, with its strangely orange people and its habit of rippling and fading: there are some things that do not fare well in high definition. She resents the pores, the wrinkles, the nose hairs, the impossibly whitened teeth shoved right up in front of your eyes so you can't ignore them the way you would in real life. It's like being forced to act as someone else's bathroom mirror, the magnifying kind: seldom a happy experience, those mirrors.

    Luckily, on the weather show the personnel stand well back. They have their maps to attend to, their broad hand gestures, like those of waiters in glamorous films of the '30s or magicians about to reveal the floating lady. Behold! Gigantic swaths of whiteness plume across the continent! Just look at the extent of it!

    Now the show moves outside. Two young commentators--a boy, a girl, both of them wearing stylish black parkas with halos of pale fur around their faces--hunch under dripping umbrellas as cars grind slowly past them, windshield wipers labouring. They're excited; they say they've never seen anything like it. Of course they haven't, they're too young. Next there are shots of calamities: a multiple car-crash pileup, a fallen tree that's bashed off part of a house, a snarl of electrical wires dragged down by the weight of the ice and flickering balefully, a row of sleet-covered planes stranded in an airport, a huge truck that's jackknifed and tipped over and is lying on its side with smoke coming out. An ambulance is on the scene, a fire truck, a huddle of raingear-clad operatives: someone's been injured, always a sight to make the heart beat faster. A policeman appears, crystals of ice whitening his moustache; he pleads sternly with people to stay inside. It's no joke, he tells the viewers. Don't think you can brave the elements! His frowning, frosted eyebrows are noble, like those on the wartime bond-drive posters from the 1940s. Constance remembers those, or believes she does. But she may just be remembering history books or museum displays or documentary films: so hard, sometimes, to tag those memories accurately.

    Finally, a minor touch of pathos: a stray dog is displayed, semi-frozen, wrapped in a child's pink nap blanket. A gelid baby would have been better, but for lack of one the dog will do. The two young commentators make Aw cute faces; the girl pats the dog, which wags its sodden tail feebly. "Lucky guy," says the boy. This could be you, it's implied, if you don't behave yourself, only you wouldn't get rescued. The boy turns to the camera and solemnifies his face, even though it's clear he's having the time of his life. There's more to come, he says, because the main part of the storm hasn't even hit! It's worse in Chicago, as it so often is. Stay tuned!

    Constance turns off the tv. She crosses the room, dims the lamp, then sits beside the front window, staring out into the streetlight-illuminated darkness, watching the world turn to...

About the Author-

  • MARGARET ATWOOD, whose work has been published in thirty-five countries, is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. In addition to The Handmaid's Tale, her novels include Cat's Eye, short-listed for the Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; Oryx and Crake, short-listed for the 2003 Man Booker Prize; The Year of the Flood; and her most recent, MaddAddam. She is the recipient of the Los Angeles Times Innovator's Award, and lives in Toronto with the writer Graeme Gibson.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 28, 2014
    Atwood, a bestselling master of fiction, delivers a stunning collection—her first since 2006's Moral Disorder. Most of the nine stories feature women who have been wronged as girls but recover triumphantly as adults. Atwood brings her biting wit to bear on the battle of the sexes. The first three stories in the book—"Alphinland," "Revenant," and "Dark Lady"—are linked by a pretentious poet and his girlfriends, who best him professionally and personally as he ages into an impotent, disgruntled old man with a wife 30 years his junior: "He probably has more horns on his head—as the bard would say—than a hundred headed snail." Corpses are found, as in "The Freeze-Dried Groom"—or not found, as in the title story, set on an Arctic cruise, in which a woman takes her revenge on the high school "Mr. Hearthrob, Mr. Senior Football Star, Mr. Astounding Catch... Mr. Shit" of 50 years before. Readers love Atwood's women, despite, or because of, who they are and what they do. Add in her wild imagination—women conversing with dead husbands; genetic missteps that produce a girl with yellow eyes, pink teeth, and "long, dark chest hair"; and costumed "little people" who appear to an elderly nursing home resident—and it's clear that this grande dame is at the top of her game.

  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2014
    Clever tales about writers, loversand other weirdos.This, explains Atwood in theacknowledgements, is a book of tales, not stories, which meansthat it's removed "at least slightly from the realm of mundane works anddays"; you could say the same about most of the 40-plus preceding worksfrom this playful, sharp-edged and politically alert author, now 74 (MaddAddam,2013, etc.). Many of the characters in this collection are no longer young, buttheir situations, and the sentences that describe them, are fresh and vigorous,including descriptions of sex acts and profanity as necessary-don't let the old-ladything fool you. The first three tales, which are the highlight of the book,feature aging writers and their bohemian circle, interweaving funerals andghostly conversations with accounts of old conquests and betrayals. "YoungConstance felt very lucky to have been taken up by Gavin, who was four yearsolder than she was and knew a lot of other poets, and was lean and ironic andindifferent to the norms of society and grimly satirical, as poets were then.Perhaps they're still like that. Constance is too old to know." Video games,trendy literary criticism and Dropbox (is that an "indoor catpoostation"?) all play a role. "The Dead Hand Loves You" considersanother writer late in his career. Young Jack sold shares in his fledglingnovelistic effort to his roommates to pay his rent but decades later will doanything (yes) to get them back. The revenge theme continues in "StoneMattress," in which a woman meets her erstwhile date rapist on an Alaskancruise and he doesn't even recognize her. Fun to learn in the endnote thatAtwood and her husband, Graeme Gibson, started this story as a way to entertaintheir fellow passengers on an Adventure Canada yacht.Up to her old tricks and notdropping a card.

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from August 1, 2014
    Atwood is shrewdly brilliant, gleefully mischievous, and acerbically hilarious in her first short-fiction collection since the superb Moral Disorder (2006). She portrays baby boomers much irked by age's dirty tricks and the rankling of painful memories. Atwood also has good satiric fun mocking the pretension of the writing vocation even as she marvels over its curious felicities. Young Constance began composing fantasy stories to support Gavin, her ne'er-do-well poet lover. Now a wispy new widow gamely venturing out into a ferocious blizzard, she is quite famous for her long-running, movie-adapted Alphinland series and seems to be acquiring the sort of supernatural powers she thought were confined to her imaginary realm. In The Dead Hand Loves You, a feckless college student makes a devil's deal with his roommates concerning the seemingly dim prospects for his cheesy horror tale about a jilted lover's creepy revenge. Atwood's canny adventures with the macabre also involve a grisly discovery in a storage unit, a wry and clever freak of nature, and, in the surprising and supremely satisfying title story, spontaneous retribution in the Arctic. Intimations of worsening environmental disruption appear throughout the collection, culminating in Torching the Dusties, in which personal vendettas give way to mass vigilante justice. Atwood has the raptor's penetrating gaze, speed, and agility and never misses her mark. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Ads and promotional efforts will inspire Atwood's ever-expanding and active reader base, including her hundreds of thousands of social media followers.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from September 1, 2014

    Aging and death reverberate throughout Atwood's (MaddAddam) excellent collection. The first three stories give different perspectives on a shared past. In "Alphinland," newly widowed Constance reminisces about ex-lover Gavin, whose poetry she supported with her successful fantasy novels. "Revenant" picks up Gavin's life as an elderly poet, famous for the poems of his youth but now soured on life and love. "Dark Lady" introduces Jorrie, the muse of Gavin's early poems and the reason Constance left Gavin. While the other stories move on to different characters and story lines, end-of-life indignities and the desire for revenge connect them. Verna, in the title story, is on an Arctic cruise when she meets the man who date-raped her when she was 14 and decides to even the score. Jack, in "The Dead Hand Loves You," considers killing old friends in order to nullify a long-ago financial contract. And in "Torching the Dusties," the residents in a retirement home are threatened by raging youth who resent the bad decisions the previous generation has visited on them. VERDICT Poignant, funny, distressing, and surreal, Atwood's stories bring the extraordinary to the ordinary. For Atwood devotees and literary fiction fans. [See Prepub Alert, 3/24/14.]--Joy Humphrey, Pepperdine Univ. Law Lib.

    Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Library Journal

    September 1, 2014

    Aging and death reverberate throughout Atwood's (MaddAddam) excellent collection. The first three stories give different perspectives on a shared past. In "Alphinland," newly widowed Constance reminisces about ex-lover Gavin, whose poetry she supported with her successful fantasy novels. "Revenant" picks up Gavin's life as an elderly poet, famous for the poems of his youth but now soured on life and love. "Dark Lady" introduces Jorrie, the muse of Gavin's early poems and the reason Constance left Gavin. While the other stories move on to different characters and story lines, end-of-life indignities and the desire for revenge connect them. Verna, in the title story, is on an Arctic cruise when she meets the man who date-raped her when she was 14 and decides to even the score. Jack, in "The Dead Hand Loves You," considers killing old friends in order to nullify a long-ago financial contract. And in "Torching the Dusties," the residents in a retirement home are threatened by raging youth who resent the bad decisions the previous generation has visited on them. VERDICT Poignant, funny, distressing, and surreal, Atwood's stories bring the extraordinary to the ordinary. For Atwood devotees and literary fiction fans. [See Prepub Alert, 3/24/14.]--Joy Humphrey, Pepperdine Univ. Law Lib.

    Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • The New York Times Book Review

    "Witty and frequently biting ... this book's stories offer characters a chance to put their own understandings of gallantry, courage and revenge to the test, in ways both mundane and extraordinary."

  • Ursula K Le Guin, Financial Times "In Stone Mattress [Atwood is] having a high old time dancing over the dark swamps of Horror on the wings of satirical wit ... Look at these tales as eight icily refreshing arsenic Popsicles followed by a baked Alaska laced with anthrax, all served with impeccable style and aplomb. Enjoy!"
  • O Magazine "These exuberantly told tales are a tour de force of wit, style, and discernment."
  • Boston Globe "Eclectic, funny, vibrant, terrifying, beautiful, and utterly delightful."
  • Minneapolis Star Tribune "[These] stories have the caustic wit and giddy deviance ... along with the probing interiority and flinty insights of Atwood's novels."
  • Miami Herald "Stylish, acerbic and wickedly funny ... With wit, sympathy and precision, Atwood draws readers into a reflective frame of mind."
  • Chicago Tribune "[This] collection is surprisingly unsettling, gripping and at once laugh-out-loud hilarious. It attains its laudable goal: Myths last over time, and the stories in this book have that very quality. They are timeless, memorable and quite simply fun."
  • Publishers Weekly, starred review "Stunning ... Atwood brings her biting wit to bear on the battle of the sexes."
  • Booklist, starred review "Shrewdly brilliant, gleefully mischievous, and acerbically hilarious ... Atwood has the raptor's penetrating gaze, speed, and agility and never misses her mark."
  • Kirkus Reviews

    "Clever tales about writers and lovers ... Atwood is a playful, sharp-edged, and politically alert author."

Title Information+

  • Publisher
    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Kindle Book
    Release date:
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • EPUB eBook
    Release date:

Digital Rights Information+

  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

Close

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Close

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You have reached the maximum number of titles you are allowed to recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 4 titles every 1 days.

Close

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend this title for your digital library.

Close

Enhanced Details:

Close
Close

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Close

Permissions

Close

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Close

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Close

Holds

Total holds:


Close

Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

Close

MP3 audiobooks are only supported on macOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) through 10.14 (Mojave). Learn more about MP3 audiobook support on Macs.

Close

Please update to the latest version of the OverDrive app to stream videos.

Close

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Close

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

Close

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

Close

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

Close

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

Close

Close

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Close
Recommend this title for your digital library
Stone Mattress
Stone Mattress
Nine Wicked Tales
Margaret Atwood
Optional:
Close
Buy it now
and support our digital library!
Stone Mattress
Stone Mattress
Nine Wicked Tales
Margaret Atwood
A portion of your purchase goes to support your digital library.
Close
Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel

Sora Turbo
Get the app!
Apple App Store
Google Play Store
Brought to you by Barrington High School, and built with 💕 by OverDrive.
Close

Renewing this title won't extend your lending period. Instead, it will let you borrow the title again immediately after your first lending period expires.

Close

You can't renew this title because there are holds on it. However, you can join the holds list and be notified when it becomes available for you to borrow again.

Close