Looking for some great reading? Run down to the nearest book store and pick up a copy of Margaret Atwoods’ Stone Mattress. Atwood has penned a collection of nine linked short stories. A few are linked by overlapping characters and all are linked by the theme of aging. Atwoods’ characters are rich and finely drawn, motivated by anger that has simmered for years and passions born decades ago. For those of us moving into Old Fartdom, this is a reminder of where we’ve been and where we’re moving. Perhaps it’ll help us understand the emotions that come with aging.
For those of you that know Atwood as a science fiction writer, this isn’t that kind of book. This collection is straight literary fiction with only the last tale having a speculative nature. For me, Atwood is our finest living short story writer, barely ahead of Annie Proulx on my list of favs. If you’re an MFA nerd (ahem), and looking for prime examples of your craft or a reader who enjoys short stories, read this volume. You won’t be disappointed.