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Life Before Man : Contemporary Classics - Margaret Atwood

Life Before Man

Contemporary Classics

Paperback Published: 3rd January 1998
ISBN: 9780099741015
Number Of Pages: 320

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Life Before Man explores the lives of three people imprisoned by walls of their own construction and in thrall to the tragicomedy we call love.

Elizabeth, with her controlled sensuality and suppressed rage, has just lost her latest lover to suicide. Nate, her gentle, indecisive husband, is planning to leave her for Lesje, a perennial innocent who prefers dinosaurs to men. Hanging over them all is the ghost of Elizabeth's dead lover, and the dizzying threat of three lives careening inevitably towards the same climax.

Industry Reviews

"A modern saga... she has a fine ear for words and a quick wit for absudities" - The Times

"An extraordinary imagination - witty, light-footed, realistic, yet with shooting insights into the nature of personality and love" - Isabel Quigley, Financial Times

"Tender, funny, absorbing, idiosyncratic, truthful, heartening... A liberating novel. It deserves a wide readership" - Michael Herbert, Literary Review

"Mordant intelligence; formidable insight into the springs of human self-deception, self-aggrandisement and self-destruction; and an effortless, always vivid style" - Jeffrey Meyers, Spectator

"Beautifully written and constructed... A rich and elegant achievement" - Peter Kemp, Listener

"Superb, complete - a splendid, fully integrated work." - The New York Times Book Review

"A penetrating, wry look at the changes affecting men, women and their family lives - The book has the acute perceptions and vivid imagery which are the hallmarks of Atwood's writing." - The Sunday Toronto Sun

"Crisp, carefully ironic, contemporary. Life Before Man offers us three characters of great complexity and roundness - Atwood has written a novel that is emotionally powerful, intelligent and very adult." - Ms. Magazine

"Tough poet, clever critic, brilliant novelist, feminist, nationalist, our chief literary heroine - a superb writer." - Toronto Star

"Margaret Atwood is a deeply serious writer who is also wildly funny." - Chatelaine

"Atwood writes with savage humor. Sentences are spare, kept under enormous compression, like a bent bow." - Esquire

ISBN: 9780099741015
ISBN-10: 0099741016
Series: Contemporary Classics
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 3rd January 1998
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.7 x 13.0  x 2.0
Weight (kg): 0.22
Edition Number: 1

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Margaret Atwood

About the Author


Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master's degree from Radcliffe College.

Throughout her writing career, Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and honourary degrees. She is the author of more than thirty-five volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction and is perhaps best known for her novels, which include The Edible Woman (1970), The Handmaid's Tale (1983), The Robber Bride (1994), Alias Grace (1996), and The Blind Assassin, which won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000. Atwood's dystopic novel, Oryx and Crake, was published in 2003. The Tent (mini-fictions) and Moral Disorder (short stories) both appeared in 2006. Her most recent volume of poetry, The Door, was published in 2007. Her non-fiction book, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth ­ in the Massey series, appeared in 2008, and her most recent novel, The Year of the Flood, in the autumn of 2009. Ms. Atwood's work has been published in more than forty languages, including Farsi, Japanese, Turkish, Finnish, Korean, Icelandic and Estonian. In 2004 she co-invented the Long Pen TM.

Margaret Atwood currently lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.

Associations: Margaret Atwood was President of the Writers' Union of Canada from May 1981 to May 1982, and was President of International P.E.N., Canadian Centre (English Speaking) from 1984-1986. She and Graeme Gibson are the Joint Honourary Presidents of the Rare Bird Society within BirdLife International. Ms. Atwood is also a current Vice-President of PEN International.

Visit Margaret Atwood's Booktopia Author Page