CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Edited by Earl Ingersoll.
Willowdale, ON: Firefly Books, 1990.
251pp., paper, $14.95.
ISBN 0-920668-80-1. (Ontario Review Press Critical series). CIP.

Subject Headings:
Atwood, Margaret, 1939- -Interviews.
Authors, Canadian (English)-20th century-Interviews.

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up

Reviewed by Alan Thomas.

Volume 18 Number 6
1990 November

The twenty-one interviews collected here have been chosen by the editor from something like fifty interviews Atwood has given over the past couple of decades. They are arranged chronologically, extending from an interview carried out in 1972 by Graeme Gibson (the writer who subsequently became Atwood's husband) to one in 1989 by the compiler and editor Earl Ingersoll in which he asks about Cat's Eye, her latest novel.

In his introduction, Professor Ingersoll suggests that these interviews provide a kind of biography of Margaret Atwood, "the only kind of biography she is likely to sanction."the biographical element is, in fact, slight except in what the interviews reveal of Atwood's literary and political personality: her taste for the Victorian novel, for instance, and her nationalist and feminist attitudes. Here the intellectually lively and engaging discussion of literature and politics that often emerges will please general readers.

Atwood's comments on her own work are frequently enlightening. But students who expect the interviews to provide an inside track on the meaning of individual texts will be disappointed. Atwood does not provide the kinds of abstracted and packaged analysis common in critical discourse; in this she denies the critic in order to remain the writer.

Alan Thomas, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works