A Rare and Nourishing Feast

Submitted By:
Elizabeth Morley, Principal Emerita, Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School, University of Toronto, Canada

Burning Questions: Essays and Occasional Pieces 2004 - 2021 by Margaret Atwood
Doubleday Books, March 1, 2022

Known widely for unforgettable fiction, Margaret Atwood’s distinctive and often disrupting voice can also be heard in Burning Questions: Essays and Occasional Pieces 2004 – 2021. In this new collection, the author of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments brings her famous focus to the issues that are dearest to her right now – feminism, climate crisis, human rights, gender, race, writing, politics, and pandemics. Along the way, she infuses unexpected humor and a deeply compelling view of humanity which is both accepting and yearning for better. Without a single doubt, this is not a book to be read in one sitting. Each chapter causes pause and invites reflection. As such, this volume will stand the test of time and place, as useful for Monday’s class on literature, the arts, modern history, or media studies as it will be for years to come for those who can make a difference by understanding more and asking the hard questions. How can we live on our planet? How slippery is the slope? Why do people everywhere, in all cultures, tell stories? How much of ourselves can we give away without vanishing? The title reference to igniting thinking through questions is apt and open. There are fewer answers than there are assurances that building knowledge and honoring reflection are always worth the time and effort that each takes. Atwood has triumphed in providing us with a rare and nourishing feast of food for thought.

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