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Bobby and Peggy and Heather …

It’s winter! At last. Lots and lots of snow out there, deep footsteps leading to the birdfeeder. The city is, briefly, lovely and muffled. As someone said at the Y yesterday, “Great, we get it, now that’s enough.”

Some fun for you today, wordsmiths – there’s controversy brewing. Margaret Atwood published a story in a recent “New Yorker” called “Stone Mattress,” in which a conniving murderess meets her high school tormentor on a cruise ship. I didn’t like it much, finding it, like so much of her work, mouth-puckeringly snide, with clever, fluid writing but nary a believable character. I hugely admire Atwood’s activism, her humour and passion and commitment to the arts in this country, but most often, strangely, not her writing.
Robert Fulford, august critic, didn’t like the story either and attacked it in his “National Post” column, accusing it of being man-hating, clichéd, simplistic and unworthy of her. Though I rarely agree with Fulford these days, in this instance, I do, except that it’s not so much man-hating as homo sapiens hating. Now Heather Mallick, esteemed firebrand columnist at the “Star,” has come out today with a furious piece showing that Atwood once skewered Fulford in a short story, so accusing him of delivering, not objective literary criticism, but petty revenge.
You too can follow this trail of literati hijinks! Read the story in the “New Yorker” on-line, find the Fulford review, read the Mallick critique of the review. I just wrote her a note on why I didn’t like the story myself – why don’t you make up your own mind? A perfect way to pass a snowy Saturday afternoon.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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