Author – Margaret Atwood
Pages – 700
Publishers – Random House Canada
ATWOOD is one of the most reliable authors I’ve had the pleasure to read. Whether it’s good intellectual stimulation you’re looking for or a thrilling page-turner, you can rely on Atwood to deliver a story unlike anything you’ve read before. With her off-kilter perspective on fairy tales and unapologetic feminism, she tells her stories straight, with little sentimentalism and plenty of imagination.
The Robber Bride is the story of three women – Tony, Charis and Roz – and their life-changing encounters with the beautiful, smart, seductive and devious Zenia. When the book opens, we see the three friends meet for their monthly lunch at one of Toronto’s trendy restaurants, The Toxique. One by one, they spot Zenia – a shock, considering that they’d attended her funeral only a few years back. She’s clearly upto no good and the women are in a tizzy about what she could possibly want now. Because, in the past, Zenia has systematically stolen their men, money and peace of mind after first befriending them and they stabbing them remorselessly in the back.
Pick up this book if you want to read a story with an unforgettable villain. It won’t offer you a clear, clean end. It’s finale is satisfyingly murky and you leave the book puzzling not only over Zenia and her machinations, but also over the nature of her relationship with Tony, Charis and Roz. Considering that Zenia is seen through the eyes of these three women and never through Zenia herself, you wonder if she is all that evil. And given all the lies she’s spouted through the book, no clear picture emerges about her motives and her past – even her present. This is certainly one of the most satisfying books I’ve read in a long while and I’m glad I started the challenge with this one.