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Promotional Information

The Penelopiad, part of the Canongate Myths series, sold 20,000 hardbacks and 48,500 paperbacks This book is based on a series of five lectures - The Massey Lectures - delivered in five different Canadian cities. It will be broadcast by the C.B.C Payback received stunning review coverage in hardback, including in the financial media.

About the Author

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than thirty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. In addition to the classic The Handmaid's Tale, her novels include Cat's Eye, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy, and The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize. Her most recent novel, Oryx and Crake was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2003. She lives in Toronto, Canada.

Reviews

Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale) is one of North America's most esteemed and celebrated writers, having published dozens of novels, poetry collections, and essays. A distinguished commentator on world events, having penned among other critical writings "A Letter to America" in early 2003 that stills resonates today in light of the emerging financial crisis, she has now published a profound and erudite study of debt in all its guises, in essays that originated as lectures on Canadian radio. Here, aptly illustrated by a balloon about to explode, the lessons she advances elegantly cover debt as sin, as plot, as religious incantation, and as feckless conduct, intermingled with her references to ancient wisdoms and contemporary follies. The results are most felicitous. The text makes plain Atwood's skill at combining painstaking research on the great truths of civilization with personal anecdotes that resonate with all in a fashion not seen since Stephen Leacock's essays from his zenith almost 100 years ago. A book to be found on the shelves of all libraries.-Gilles Renaud, Cornwall, Ont. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

'A fascinating, freewheeling examination of ideas of debt, balance and revenge in history, society and literature - Atwood has again struck upon our most current anxieties' The Times 'A stimulating, learned, and stylish read from an eminent author writing from a heartfelt perspective ... very provocative' Conrad Black 'Could hardly be more timely ... as clear a summary of the situation as I have read' Financial Times 'Lively and exceedingly timely ... At a time when so many of us are mired in debts of the financial variety it is worth remembering that it is the other, non-financial debts that we owe - to the planet, and to each other - that may prove most important' Observer

Atwood's book is a weird but wonderful melange of personal reminiscences, literary walkabout, moral preachment, timely political argument, economic history and theological query, all bound together with wry wit and careful though casual-seeming research. "Every debt comes with a date on which payment is due," Atwood observes on this conversational stroll, from the homely and familiar "notion of fairness" and "notion of equivalent values" in Kingsley's Water Babies to the thornier connection between debt and sin, memory and redemption in Aeschylus's Eumenides. "Any debt involves a story line," Atwood points out as she leads the reader into "the nineteenth century [when] debt as plot really rages through the fictional pages," and ruin is financial for men, but sexual for women. Things get even darker on "the shadow side" where "the nastier forms of debt and credit"--debtors' prisons, loan sharks and rebellions--abide. Atwood is encyclopedic in her range, following threads wherever they lead--credit cards and computer programs, Sin Eaters, Saint Nicholas, Star Trek, the history of pawnshops and of taxation, Elmore Leonard's Get Shorty and Dante's Divine Comedy, Christ and Faust--and a consistently captivating storyteller. (Nov.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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