Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood

I've never read The Robber Bridegroom, which inspired this work. From what I've read via summary: The Robber Bridegroom lures three different maidens and 'devours' them, whatever that means. In Atwood's contemporary novel The Robber Bride, she introduces the character of Zenia, who purposely ruins the lives of three friends: Tony, Charis and Roz. Among other things, she tries (and sometimes succeeds) in taking their men.

The way the novel was told was interesting (and sometimes long-winded). We see through the eyes of Tony, Charis and Roz, but never through Zenia's. She remains a mystery until the end.

The novels starts out on the day the three friends see Zenia after years (and thinking that the woman is dead and cremated). We see that day through each of the three women's eyes, what they did leading up to, etc. Then, we find out each of the three women's history with Zenia, how she intertwined herself into each of their lives.

What was masterfully done, is that as the friends (separately) confront Zenia at the end, we still don't know about the woman. We don't know what she's said was true or what was made up. She's an enigma, a sociopath, a compulsive liar. There was absolutely nothing good about the woman.

The characters of Tony, Charis and Roz are interesting. They are all completely different people, but are united because of Zenia. Otherwise, they might never have been friends. They meet often for lunch, having formed a support group of sorts.

They are a bunch of side characters, but they're not as fleshed out. Basically, it's the story of four women. It's about relationships between women, the good, the bad, and the ugly. The Robber Bride is a fascinating portrayal of how one person can come into our lives and completely turn it upside down. It's a great character-driven story. At first, I didn't know if it was going to be worth it, but as I got into the women's backgrounds with Zenia, I became engrossed. I couldn't believe the character of Zenia. I hope I never come across a Zenia in my life.


Anonymous said...

I am going to admit that I've never read Atwood, although I actually own quite a few of her books. I also own a copy of Robber Bride and I had no idea it was based/inspired on another novel, which makes it more interesting. What I'd like to point out is - why a woman that comes into these women's lives and ruins them instead of a woman that "devours" 3 men? Would that be simplistic? Because I think it could be quite complex. Anyway, I'm quite curious to read some Atwood.