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A young woman returns to northern Quebec to the remote island of her childhood, with her lover and two friends, to investigate the mysterious disappearance of her father. Flooded with memories, she begins to realise that going home means entering not only another place but another time. As the wild island exerts its elemental hold and she is submerged in the language of the wilderness, she sees that what she is really looking for is her own past.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780860680642
ISBN-10: 0860680649
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 127mm x 17mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Virago Press Ltd
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 29-Mar-1979
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

UK Kirkus Review » Vividly reflecting the depths and contours dominating the landscape of a remote part of Quebec, this is the poignant and mythical tale of one woman's spiritual pilgrimage. The narrative is both laconic and intense, and as the story unfolds, the reader is made increasingly aware of the fragility of social conventions and so-called human nature. First published in 1972, Surfacing has been hailed as one of the most important novels of this century. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » Themes of some of her poems - a "universe. . . that survives only by devouring parts of itself," and man or woman as a lonely and primeval (often "furry") animal - are all part of this novel which is as charged and delusional as the talented Edible Woman although her heroine, a young woman whose life becomes a repudiation of it, is far less appealing. She has reached a point of seeming no return where nothing exists except the memories which surface and which are as bitter as alum. . . of a mother who died of a tumor of the brain. . . a young brother who drowned. . . a married man she perhaps loved until she had to abort his child. . . a father she now attempts to find on an island in the north of Quebec. He has disappeared and actually he's as dead as the heron they find strung up by some predators. She is there with three others - a young couple who have played desperate games of contention for nine years and a surly, physical man she cannot possibly love. They canoe, fish, look for her father's mapped rock painting. To complement and supplement her own voided existence, there is the wilderness threatened by "the Americans," by the "hospital or the zoo," and by all that confines, defaces or destroys. . . . Miss Atwood is a remarkable writer with a style that's clear and clean and close to the bone but since her heroine is so exempt from feeling, it still remains a kind of suicide chic even where she distances beyond those lost causes (the ecology, liberation, etc.) we consider fashionable. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa in 1939. She is Canada's most eminent novelist and poet and has published more than thirty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. Her work has been translated into thirty-three languages. Her latest novel, The Blind Assassin won the 2000 Booker Prize.

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