Hailed as the Prophet of Dystopia in a recent New Yorker article, Margaret Atwood has been scaring audiences with fearful visions of the future for decades. The recent adaptation of her best-selling The Handmaid’s Tale is currently sitting at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, gaining nothing but high praise. This is because of Atwood’s creative critique and superb story crafting. Her bibliography includes multiple bestsellers and prestige award winnings such as the Booker and Governor General’s Award. Here are five of her favorite books:
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Bronte’s novel left an impression on the teenage Atwood. She claimed that before falling for rock stars, her young self had an eye on Heathcliff. Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice were her favorites of the books that her parents approved of, before she started delving deeper into darker books.
A Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin
‘Game of Thrones’ is one of the most popular shows of all time, spanning fans all over the globe. Yes, this includes Canadian author Margaret Atwood. She showed her fandom for the storytelling and characters on the show and in the book series in an article she wrote for the Guardian.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm
These freaky stories sparked Atwood’s imagination when she was young. The gothic, supernatural, and twisted aspects of the Grimm stories would later be major aspects of her own work. She read their stories when she was six and it was unlike any of the work she was ‘supposed’ to be reading. While her sister feared the tales, young Margaret loved it and would later create her own her own dark tales.
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
LeGuin is another great contemporary female speculative fiction writer. This novel is one of the first female-written bestselling science fiction novels. The Left Hand of Darkness is not only written by a woman, the novel also deals mainly with the themes of feminism and gender-equality. Atwood had this to say about the revolutionary novel: “I prefer the society that goes in for court intrigues rather than wars, but I may be very old-fashioned. As for the gender-shifting, “intersectionality” doesn’t even touch it. Radical in the ways it forces the reader to imagine other ways of being human.”
The Parable Series by Octavia Butler
The now popular series by Butler is loved by the prophet of dystopia because it “underlines a true thing: the condition of women and the condition of the environment are closely joined. These three books follow the small community of Earthseed as it struggles against both horrible conditions and horrible people. Much to ponder.”
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