کتاب بر امواج

اثر مارگارت آتوود از انتشارات ققنوس - مترجم: نسترن ظهیری-داستان تریلر

هر انسانی گذشته‌ای دارد كه هرگز رهايش نمی‌كند، آينده‌ای دارد كه می‌خواهد بی‌توجه به گذشته آن را بسازد، و حالی كه به تلاش می‌گذرد، به دست و پا زدن برای پاك كردن ماجراهايی كه از سر گذرانده، به درگيری ذهنی برای آينده‌ای نامعلوم... قهرمان «بر امواج» زنی است كه خلاف معمول عمل می‌كند، گذشته‌اش را پس می‌زند و سال‌ها از آن سراغی نمی‌گيرد تا آينده‌اش را با عشق و اميد بنا كند، عشقی با فرجام جدايی. زمانی طولانی در اين بی‌خبری مطلق زندگی می‌كند تا ناگهان به او خبر می‌رسد كه پدرش ناپديد شده. زن تصميم می گيرد به ساحل درياچه‌ی كودكی‌هايش بازگردد... ؛


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Oh Margaret Atwood. We continue this dance.

Atwood is a brilliant writer. Hands down. I will read whatever she writes. But it seems that I will love 50% of her books, and find 50% a bit meh. Well written, beautiful meh. But meh.

In case you are unclear, this book falls into the latter category.

Surfacing tells the story of two couples going deep into the Quebec wilderness to find the main characters father who has gone missing from their family cabin. The couples spend a week in the cabin, looking for her father, exploring, and revealing more of themselves as time goes on. There is a brilliant mood of suspense and uneasiness throughout the book, however I dont think this builds up to a satisfying climax or resolution. As we learn more about the characters, I struggled to understand why on earth the main character was friends with some of them, let alone invited them into a forest with her (maybe because they were the only people she knew with a car), and Im so over unlikable characters.

This said, there are some great themes dealt with within this book which still would have been somewhat taboo in 1972; feminism, sexual liberation, divorce, women leaving children, borderline domestic violence/psychological abuse. Not to mention the thread of Canadian nationalism running through the whole book, which I liked there was no discussion about French Canada or British Canada, Canada isnt America is the most important theme.

So lots going on in a little book, but it just didnt end up anywhere. Well, it ended up somewhere but not where I expected and not a satisfying place at all. Till next time Margaret Atwood. If my previous experience is anything to go by, the next book will be a winner.

مشاهده لینک اصلی


Strangely good. Eerie. Ethereal. Complex.

What else can one expect from Margaret Atwood. At first I found it strangely intoxicating. I was like when you walk into a room and a movie is already in progress. You may stand in the door way out of curiosity and then it reels you in. Soon youve moved to the edge of a chair, before you realize it youre sitting back and you cant peel your eyes away. Family members pass by the door way to repeat this same ritual. @What are you [email protected], they ask. @I dont [email protected], you reply. Because you dont. You are not sure what exactly is happening or what its all about but you just cant stop. Eventually youve got a room full of people tuned in to a telling of events in slow motion and in the end you will all sit back and say @[email protected] As you look at eachother pondering the meaning of it all.
Margaret Atwoods gift for storytelling and mastery of language is just intoxicating. Her inclusion of symbolism, spirituality and nature in her writing reminds me a lot of Joyce Carol Oats, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker just to name those who come immediately to mind. I could quote this whole book there were so many things to ponder. This book was so complex in its true message Im not sure I can harness it all in a review, let alone one reading. This is definitely one brimming with material for discussion. The writing was so full of detail. The grit...the atmosphere... I was so pulled into this strange world if some one tapped me on the shoulder while reading Id have probably jumped ten feet high. Its odd. Its strange. Its weird. I was in constant anticipation of some @[email protected] happening. But you just cant stop looking. The story was kind of doled out in pieces and I dont think we were even given our main characters name. If asked what this book was about, heres what Id say.

The protagonist, who has had a troubled background comes back to the small village, and then the group of islands on the lake Quebec, where she grew up when her father goes missing. She comes back bringing her boyfriend and another couple. This motley group assumes themselves on a type of fishing/camping vacation but the protagonist has other plans. She is searching out clues to find her missing father. The island is very remote. Theirs is the only cabin aside from some ramshackle, dilapidated abandoned ones within this cluster of island wooded areas. Desolation. There is nothing but flora, fauna, animals, creatures, wild things of the deep and of the distorted imagination. The story of the four in the cabin is exactly what happens when several different personalities with issues are beached in a remote location such as this with nothing but eachother for almost two weeks. Compound that with no modern amenities, the eerie wooded areas and a protagonist who seems to be schizophrenic. The married couple are having problems. The husband is a dick (for lack of other wording). The wife has self esteem issues. The boyfriend has PTSD, is distant and has nightmares. The girlfriend/protagonist is 100% of the land and earth. Shes better than any woods guide but shes delusional. As a thread through all this is the authors constant interject of her distaste of Americans or what she feels we symbolize. There is a lot of interjection about @lack of respect for [email protected], @ruining the [email protected] and @becoming [email protected] Of course this is all the fault of Americans. (Tongue ramrod in twitched cheek. Whatever.)

I have so much respect for her writing. Everyone cant deliver what she did with this book. That being said, at times the symbolism went over my head. The metamorphosis of various people and things within this book can be seen as brilliant, disturbing or just plain out there. I respect the point of view of those who advocate preservation of the lands and nature but I extremely disapprove of the blame game on any community, group or nation. Take it back to the early days when pale skins invaded lands of indigenous peoples across the globe if you insist on pointing a finger and those people precede even the notion of a unified United States. Lets keep it real. I digress. It is a fact that authors use their work as a platform for their views or to stir up conversations about them. I do not always care for this method, however, I will say, touché pot stirred. I always say any author who can get me emotional or sensory involved in their book is a good writer. Even more so if they cause me to want to jump on my own soapbox and spill out my rusty two bits. (LOL)

I give this four strange stars. (My rating system goes to seven.) Ill recommend it. Read it if your curious. Of course, Ill keep reading books by this author.


مشاهده لینک اصلی
Was it my lack of awareness or the authors skill that it wasnt until afterwards, mulling over how to review without a major spoiler, that I realized that this first person narrative never once reveals this first persons name. This realization sent me scurrying back into the pages,but no, even in crucial scenes where it would have been easy to slip it in, I could find no reference.

My imagination is not satisfied.I think of her as Catherine.

In a way, it is entirely fitting that she does not reveal her name for this is a story of identity crises and spiritual emergency.What surfaces throughout the narrative are flashes of truth and questions concerning authenticity and the nature of trust and power,and the unreliable continuity of memory. This is also a book about relationship. Atwood explores the dynamics between two couples whose long term friendship is tested when it becomes unavoidably clear that what they have relied on in each other is only superficial, and that beneath their cool surface presentation turmoil threatens.

Learning of the disappearance of her father, Catherine efficiently organizes a lift back to the home she fled abrubtly decades ago. Her indifference to her lover, Joe,is quickly apparant but her feelings for her parents and her childhood off the grid,border on reverence.
As reality begins to intrude on her assumptions,so does memory intrude on reality. Catherine isolates herself in her suspicions,keeping up her protective front as she cares for her friends who are out of their element away from the city.

Catherine is drifting close to an existential meltdown but she keeps it below the surface,hidden from her friends who are preoccupied with their own games. When @the creature in me, plant-animal,sends out filaments, I ferry it between death and life, I [email protected] and the wall she has constructed between memory and unacceptable truth collapses.

Catherines personal paranoia echoes a particularly Canadian archetypal fear-set and I wonder if this will make a difference to non-Canadian readers. This is the fear of being engulfed, taken over:

...theyre whats in store for us, what we are turning into. They spread themselves like a virus...and the ones that have the disease cant tell the difference....If you look like them and talk like them you are them. p139

But the metaphor is not limited to Americans:

The machine is gradual, it takes a little of you at a time, it leaves the shell....the dead can defend themselves, to be half-dead is worse.
p178
Misunderstandings abound. Pivitol is the one that begins with Davids tirade at the sight of some Americans...their boat sloshing and David.shaking his clenched fist and yelling @[email protected] thought he was greeting, they waved and smiled.

Worse are the communication gaps within oneself, and the spiritual confusion that can insidiously inflitrate logic and seed the soul with crippling guilt and doubt. Nurtured by denial, these fractures are what finally crack the facade of equilibrium until what has been held in the unconscious is revealed and the opportunity of coming to terms with onself is possible.

The gods, so forbidding in their aspect, are no help, @questionable once more, theoretical as Jesus. Theyve receded,back into the past, inside the skull, is it the same place....I regret them, but they give only one kind of [email protected] p205

Margaret Atwood was relatively unknown when this was published in 1972. She established right from the beginning that she was not afraid to go beyond the parameters of mainstream expectations.Her novels all concerm relationships, but she could never be relegated to chickLit. Her writing is not especially fluid, especially evident in her earlier work. The reader is required to be constantly attentive to place, tone, and voice, but she has a knack for moving the story along through the often ponderous and obscure political and metaphysical challenges she offers. She also excels at throwing out exquisite epigramatic observations. Seeing as the story ends at another choicepoint with no certain resolution, I think it may be fitting to end with this one:

They think...I should be in mourning. But nothing has died, everything is alive, everything is waiting to become alive. p170

مشاهده لینک اصلی
(Original review date: 8 September 2008)

This is one of the best books I have ever read. I went into it with some skepticism. Though I adore most of Atwoods work, I wasnt a huge fan of The Edible Woman, which was written around the same time as this one. And Surfacing consistently gets rapturous praise from English-major types and mediocre reviews from average readers - this is usually a big red flag that Ill find the book boring, pretentious, and impenetrable. Really, the only reason I picked this up was that it was the only Atwood at the library that I hadnt read yet.

An unnamed 20-something narrator travels with her lover and another couple back to her childhood home, an isolated cabin on an island in Quebecs bushland, because her father has gone missing. While ostensibly searching for him, they spend their ten days alone on the island doing standard camping-trip activities like fishing, canoeing, and picking wild blueberries. And thats essentially it, as far as the external plot goes. The back cover says the book is @part detective novel, part psychological [email protected], and its really neither, at least not in the way we traditionally think of those genres. The action is entirely internal; there is a lot going on under the surface with the narrator as she tries to understand her family, her past, her roles as Canadian, woman, and civilized human being. And as her relationships with the others and herself begin to unravel, so does her carefully constructed reality, until it suddenly becomes clear that the narrator has been deceiving both herself and the reader all along.

Its a book about madness and clarity, about women and men, about how the past creates the present, about nature and human society, about dependence and autonomy, and about how none of these things are really as black-and-white as they seem. Its a short book, but not a quick read, because Atwoods impeccable prose is not something to be skimmed over and because each sentence has multiple meanings. Its definitely not fast-paced or light reading. But its hugely rewarding if youre willing to give it some time and some thought. Im still recovering from the emotional shock of it, and Im not a person who usually reacts emotionally to books or... well... anything.

pg. 197: @This above all, to refuse to be a victim. Unless I can do that I can do nothing. I have to recant, give up the old belief that I am powerless and because of it nothing I can do will ever hurt anyone. A lie which was always more disastrous than the truth would have been. The word games, the winning and losing games are finished; at the moment there are no others but they will have to be invented, withdrawing is no longer possible and the alternative is [email protected]

مشاهده لینک اصلی
THIS I would grab if I could. I have requested it at Audible. Another one of Atwoods books that is not speculative fiction. And my son said it was excellent, as was Cats Eye.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
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