51 Following

Michael's Book Babble

I'm an indie author and a scribbler of inane babble. I talk about books I've read/liked. Or at least, that's the plan.


Most of the reviews will be considered "mini-reviews." Usually, it's mostly my reaction to what I've been reading. There are people who are far better at doing full and helpful reviews. But I still have fun doing them, and hope you enjoy them!

Zenia... Cruel, cruel Zenia...

The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood

Although lengthy in spots, Margaret Atwood’s The Robber Bride is a mesmerizing tale of lies and manipulation. We meet Zenia, who has to be one of the cruelest and most mean characters I've come across in the world of fiction. Her cruelty is subtle, no doubt, but in the end that’s what makes it even more chilling. There might’ve been some hidden purpose in doing what she did, but I still was biting my lip at some of the “shenanigans” she puts Roz, Tony, and Charis through.


While the three had known each other for a while, they became even closer friends once Zenia was presumed dead. Each woman has been greatly affected by Zenia’s lies and actions. All lost their men to her at some point. She made up stories for each woman as a way to infiltrate their lives at some point. But that’s over now. Zenia’s dead and while the three of them are haunted by the past, they can at least move on now. That is… until Zenia shows up again.


I love Atwood’s prose. It’s so clear and crisp. She seems to favor writing stories in present tense, which I know can bother some people, but I really think she does it in a fluid and smooth way. Half the time, you don’t even realize she’s doing it because it seems that natural to her. I’m still thinking about the ending now. I’m sure there are different ways one could look at this story as a whole, and it’s probably going to stay with me for a while.


Bernadette Dunne once again does a superb job with the audiobook. If you haven’t heard her flawless reading of Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in a Castle, then I urge you to seek it ASAP.


The Robber Bride is another strong work from Atwood. While it may not be completely perfect in my eyes, the pros outweigh the cons. I enjoyed getting to know more about Roz, Tony, and Charis, and follow them through their lives. And I’ll also cringe whenever I think of Zenia. Zenia, Zenia, Zenia.


And now I really want to go back and read that short story in Atwood’s recent collection. The story is called, “I Dream of Zenia with the Bright Red Teeth,” and it revisits those characters again after quite some time has passed.


4 stars