Book Excerpts: Bluebeard’s Egg and other stories by Margaret Atwood

First published in 1987, I have just begun reading Margaret Atwood’s collection of short stories. The author dedicates the book to her parents and the first story is a remarkable one, titled as it is – Significant Moments in the Life of My Mother.
Atwood’s mother grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada. These were conventional times, a time when women’s fashion was still evolving and there were dangers of your attire (including undergarments) slipping off you in the most unguarded moments. Then there were boys, girls and flirtation, as the following excerpt from the story will tell you.
This was a world in which guileless flirtation was possible, because there were many things that were simply not done by nice girls, and more girls were nice then. To fall from niceness was to fall not only from grace: sexual acts, by girls at any rate, had financial consequences. Life was more joyful and innocent then, and at the same time permeated with guilt and terror, or at least the occasions for them, on the most daily level. It was like the Japanese haiku: a limited form, rigid in its perimeters, within which an astonishing freedom was possible.  

(Article by Snehith Kumbla) 


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