Margaret Atwood Books, In Order

Margaret Atwood is one of the most important and celebrated fiction writers of our time. Her novels and short stories are known for their complex characters, suspenseful plots, and insightful exploration of important themes such as identity, gender, power, and the environment.

Atwood is a master storyteller. Her novels are multi-layered and complex, with multiple narrators and perspectives. She is also skilled at creating memorable and believable characters. Her protagonists are often strong and resourceful women who are struggling to find their place in the world. Her work is also notable for its social and political commentary. She often uses her fiction to explore contemporary issues and challenges. For example, her novel The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian vision of a future in which women are oppressed and controlled by a religious fundamentalist regime.

Atwood is a prolific writer, and she has published over 30 books of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the Booker Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award. She is also a member of the Order of Canada.

Atwood is a significant figure in Canadian literature, and her work has had a major impact on writers and readers around the world. She is a true master of her craft, and her work continues to be relevant and thought-provoking .

Margaret Atwood Novels

The Edible Woman (1969), is a darkly comic and satirical exploration of identity, gender roles, and consumer culture. Marian, the protagonist, becomes increasingly alienated from her life and develops a strange aversion to food as her wedding date approaches. In the end, she makes a bold decision that changes her life forever. The Edible Woman is a groundbreaking and empowering novel that has resonated with readers for generations.

Surfacing (1972) follows a young woman who returns to her childhood home on a remote island to help her father search for her missing lover. As she explores the island and its wilderness, she also confronts her own memories and the darkness within herself. Surfacing is a complex and haunting novel that explores themes of identity, nature, and the relationship between women and the land.

Lady Oracle (1976)  The story follows Joan Foster, a successful romance novelist who leads a double life filled with secrets and contradictions. Joan struggles with her weight, her relationships, and her identity as she navigates the complexities of her personal and professional life.

As Joan grapples with her past, including her troubled childhood and dysfunctional family dynamics, she begins to blur the lines between reality and fiction. Through her writing and her vivid imagination, Joan creates alter egos and alternate realities that provide her with a means of escape from her own insecurities and anxieties.

Atwood’s “Lady Oracle” is a witty and thought-provoking exploration of identity, self-expression, and the power of storytelling. Through Joan’s journey of self-discovery, Atwood delves into themes of gender, societal expectations, and the search for authenticity in a world filled with illusions and facades. The novel showcases Atwood’s keen insight into the human psyche and her ability to craft complex and compelling narratives that resonate with readers.

Life Before Man (1979) “Life Before Man,” explores the intricate dynamics of relationships and the complexities of human emotions. Set in Toronto, the novel follows the lives of three characters: Elizabeth, Nate, and Lesje. Elizabeth, who is married to Nate, becomes entangled in an affair with Lesje, a palaeontologist. As the narrative unfolds, Atwood delves into the inner workings of their minds, their desires, and their struggles. Through vivid characterizations and intricate plotlines, Atwood navigates themes of love, betrayal, and existential uncertainty. “Life Before Man” showcases Atwood’s keen insight into human nature and her ability to craft compelling narratives that resonate with readers long after the final page.

Bodily Harm (1981) “Bodily Harm” centres on Rennie Wilford, a journalist from Toronto who travels to the Caribbean island of St. Antoine for a vacation. However, her trip takes a dark turn when she becomes embroiled in the political turmoil and violence that grips the island. Rennie finds herself navigating a dangerous landscape where power struggles, corruption, and personal vendettas threaten her safety. As she grapples with the physical and emotional challenges she faces, Rennie’s journey becomes a metaphor for the ways in which individuals confront and cope with trauma. Atwood skilfully weaves together themes of politics, power dynamics, and personal agency in this gripping and thought-provoking novel. “Bodily Harm” offers a compelling exploration of resilience and survival in the face of adversity, a compelling narrative that resonate with readers.

 The Handmaid’s Tale, 1985: “The Handmaid’s Tale” is set in the near-future totalitarian society of Gilead, where women are subjugated and used for reproduction purposes due to widespread infertility. The story is narrated by Offred, a Handmaid who struggles to survive in this oppressive regime while holding on to memories of her past life. Atwood’s novel serves as a powerful commentary on gender, politics, and religious extremism, offering a stark warning about the erosion of individual freedoms. Its relevance has endured over the years, particularly in discussions about women’s rights and authoritarianism.

Cat’s Eye, 1988: In “Cat’s Eye,” Atwood explores the lifelong effects of childhood bullying through the eyes of artist Elaine Risley. The novel follows Elaine as she returns to her hometown of Toronto for a retrospective of her work, prompting her to confront painful memories from her past. Through vividly depicted flashbacks, Atwood delves into Elaine’s relationships with her childhood friends, particularly her fraught connection with the manipulative and cruel Cordelia. “Cat’s Eye” is a poignant and introspective exploration of memory, identity, and the lasting scars of emotional abuse, showcasing Atwood’s ability to delve into the complexities of human psychology with nuance and depth.

For the Birds (1990) is the story of two women, Nell Potts and Crocus, who are both involved in a project to save endangered birds. The novel explores themes of environmentalism, feminism, and the relationship between humans and nature.

The Robber Bride, 1993: “The Robber Bride” follows the intertwined lives of three women—Tony, Charis, and Roz—as they come to terms with the reappearance of their former friend, Zenia, who had seemingly died years ago. Through flashbacks, the novel explores Zenia’s manipulative and destructive influence on the lives of the three women. Atwood skillfully navigates themes of friendship, betrayal, and the complexities of female relationships, creating a compelling narrative that blends elements of psychological suspense with sharp social commentary.

Alias Grace, 1996: Based on a true story, “Alias Grace” delves into the mysterious case of Grace Marks, a young Irish-Canadian servant convicted of murder in 19th-century Canada. The novel intertwines Grace’s perspective with fictionalized accounts of her life and the events leading up to the crime. Through Grace’s complex narration, Atwood explores themes of memory, identity, and the societal expectations placed on women. “Alias Grace” is a haunting and immersive exploration of truth and ambiguity, showcasing Atwood’s skill at blending historical detail with psychological insight.

The Labrador Fiasco (1996) is a novella that tells the story of a two-part disaster: the failed 1903 expedition of Dillon Wallace to explore the interior of Labrador, and the narrator’s father’s stroke. The novella is told from the perspective of the narrator’s mother, who reads Wallace’s book to her husband as he recovers. The Labrador Fiasco is a complex and haunting work that explores themes of death, survival, and the relationship between humans and nature.

The Blind Assassin (2000) “The Blind Assassin,” winner of the Booker Prize, is a multi-layered narrative that intricately weaves together different storylines and genres. At its core is the story of two sisters, Iris and Laura Chase, who grow up in a wealthy family in Canada during the early 20th century. The novel alternates between Iris’s retrospective account of her life and excerpts from Laura’s posthumously published novel, also titled “The Blind Assassin.” As Iris reflects on her past, she reveals family secrets, forbidden love, and tragic events that have shaped her life and the lives of those around her.

Atwood blends elements of mystery, romance, and science fiction, creating a mesmerizing tale that explores themes of memory, betrayal, and the power of storytelling. Through intricate narrative layers and vivid characterizations, she challenges perceptions of truth and reality, inviting readers to question the reliability of memory and the nature of storytelling itself. “The Blind Assassin” is a haunting and immersive novel that showcases Atwood’s unparalleled skill as a storyteller and her ability to craft complex narratives that linger in the mind long after the final page.

 Oryx and Crake, 2003: Set in a dystopian future, “Oryx and Crake” follows the story of Snowman, possibly the last human alive, as he navigates a world devastated by genetic engineering and corporate greed. Through flashbacks, the novel explores Snowman’s past life as Jimmy, his friendship with the brilliant but morally ambiguous Crake, and his love for the mysterious Oryx. Atwood paints a chilling picture of a society ruled by scientific experimentation and explores themes of environmental degradation, bioethics, and the consequences of unchecked technological advancement.

The Penelopiad, 2005: In “The Penelopiad,” Atwood reimagines Homer’s epic “The Odyssey” from the perspective of Penelope, the wife of Odysseus. Penelope narrates her own story from the afterlife, reflecting on her life and the events that took place during her husband’s long absence. Through Penelope’s voice, Atwood explores themes of female agency, power dynamics, and the silencing of women in mythology. The novel offers a feminist critique of classic literature while showcasing Atwood’s skillful blending of myth and modern storytelling.

The Year of the Flood, 2009: “The Year of the Flood” is set in a dystopian future where a bioengineered pandemic has devastated the world’s population. The narrative alternates between the perspectives of two women, Toby and Ren, who are both connected to a religious group called the God’s Gardeners. As they navigate the aftermath of the pandemic, they reflect on their pasts, their beliefs, and their connections to the enigmatic leader of the God’s Gardeners, Adam One. Atwood continues to explore themes of environmentalism, religion, and human resilience in this companion novel to “Oryx and Crake,” offering a compelling and thought-provoking look at the fragility of civilization.

MaddAddam, 2013: In “MaddAddam,” Atwood concludes the dystopian trilogy that began with “Oryx and Crake” and continued with “The Year of the Flood.” The novel follows the survivors of a global pandemic as they struggle to rebuild society in the wake of catastrophe. With the threat of dangerous genetically modified creatures looming and tensions rising among the remaining humans, the narrative explores themes of survival, community, and the consequences of unchecked scientific advancement. Atwood masterfully brings her intricate and unsettling vision of the future to a satisfying and thought-provoking conclusion, cementing the trilogy’s place as a modern classic of speculative fiction.

The Heart Goes Last (2015) “The Heart Goes Last” presents a darkly comedic dystopian world where economic collapse has led to widespread unemployment and social chaos. In the midst of this turmoil, Stan and Charmaine, a married couple, are struggling to survive. When they hear about the Positron Project, a social experiment promising stability and security in exchange for residing in a monitored community, they eagerly sign up. However, they soon discover that the idyllic facade of the Positron Project hides sinister secrets and moral dilemmas.

Atwood explores themes of power, surveillance, and the human desire for security, all while infusing the narrative with her trademark wit and satire. As Stan and Charmaine navigate the complexities of their new environment, they are forced to confront their own ethical compromises and the consequences of their actions. “The Heart Goes Last” is a thought-provoking exploration of societal control and the lengths people will go to in order to regain a sense of normalcy in an uncertain world. While it may not be Atwood’s most celebrated work, it nevertheless showcases her ability to blend social commentary with compelling storytelling.

 Hag-Seed, 2016: In “Hag-Seed,” Atwood offers a contemporary retelling of William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” The novel follows Felix Phillips, a theater director seeking revenge after being ousted from his prestigious position. Set in a Canadian prison, Felix creates an elaborate plan to stage a production of “The Tempest” with a cast of inmates, using it as a means to confront his past and regain control over his life. Atwood skillfully weaves themes of power, redemption, and the transformative nature of art into this inventive tale, offering readers a fresh perspective on a classic work.


Margaret Atwood Short Story Collections

Moral Disorder (1979) is a collection of short stories that explore the dark side of human nature. The stories in Moral Disorder are often disturbing and unsettling, but they are also beautifully written and thought-provoking.

The Bad News (1982) is a collection of short stories that focus on the female experience. The stories in The Bad News explore a variety of themes, including love, loss, identity, and violence. Atwood’s writing is sharp and insightful, and she offers a unique perspective on the world women live in.

War Bears (1986) is a collection of short stories that explore the theme of war. The stories in War Bears are often set in dystopian or apocalyptic worlds, and they offer a chilling glimpse of what war can do to humanity.

Two Scorched Men (1991) is a collection of short stories that explore the themes of love, loss, and betrayal. The stories in Two Scorched Men are often dark and disturbing, but they are also beautifully written and thought-provoking. Atwood’s writing is insightful and compassionate, and she offers a unique perspective on the human condition.

My Evil Mother (2013) is a collection of short stories that explore the theme of motherhood. The stories in My Evil Mother are often dark and humorous, and they offer a unique perspective on the complex relationship between mothers and daughters. Atwood’s writing is sharp and insightful, and she explores the theme of motherhood in all its complexity.

Bottle (2013) explores a variety of themes, including love, loss, identity, and the environment. The stories in Bottle are all set in the future, and they often feature dystopian elements. Atwood’s writing is sharp and insightful, and she offers a unique perspective on the world we live in today.


Margaret Atwood Graphic Novels

Angel Catbird (2016) “Angel Catbird,” illustrated by Johnnie Christmas, is a whimsical and adventurous graphic novel series that combines elements of superhero comics with environmental activism. Set in a world where genetic engineering has led to hybrid creatures, the story follows Strig Feleedus, a genetic engineer who transforms into a half-cat, half-owl creature after a laboratory accident. As Angel Catbird, Strig joins forces with other hybrid creatures to fight against a villainous organization threatening both humans and animals.

Angel Catbird Volume 1 (2016) “Angel Catbird Volume 1” introduces readers to the origin story of Angel Catbird and his allies as they embark on their quest to protect the natural world. Atwood’s imaginative storytelling is complemented by Christmas’s dynamic artwork, which brings the hybrid characters and their action-packed adventures to life.

Angel Catbird Volume 2 (2017) In “Angel Catbird Volume 2,” Margaret Atwood continues the saga of Strig Feleedus as he grapples with his newfound identity and battles against the forces of evil threatening his world. With Johnnie Christmas’s vivid illustrations bringing the hybrid hero and his allies to life, Volume 2 delves deeper into the conflicts and alliances that shape the world of Angel Catbird. Atwood’s storytelling remains captivating as she explores themes of heroism, environmentalism, and the consequences of unchecked scientific experimentation in this thrilling continuation of the graphic novel series.

Angel Catbird Volume 3 (2017) Continuing the adventures of Strig Feleedus, also known as Angel Catbird, Volume 3 expands upon the hybrid hero’s quest to protect both humans and animals from the sinister plans of Dr. Muroid and his minions. Margaret Atwood’s storytelling prowess, combined with Johnnie Christmas’s vibrant illustrations, brings to life a world where genetic experimentation and environmental activism collide. Volume 3 further explores themes of friendship, loyalty, and the consequences of scientific hubris in this action-packed graphic novel series.

War Bears (2018) “War Bears” explores the world of comic book creation during World War II. Set in Toronto, the story follows Al Zurakowski, a comic book artist tasked with creating patriotic superhero comics to boost morale on the home front. As Al navigates the challenges of the industry and grapples with personal and professional obstacles, he finds himself drawn into a web of intrigue and espionage..

The Secret Loves of Geeks (2018) “The Secret Loves of Geeks” is a diverse anthology featuring stories, comics, and essays from various creators, including a contribution from Margaret Atwood. Atwood’s piece delves into the intersection of love, fandom, and technology, offering insight into the romantic lives of geeks. Her contribution adds depth and diversity to the anthology, which explores love in all its forms across different genres and fandoms.


And that’s all Margaret Atwood books, by category and in order of publication. Did you have any idea Margaret Atwood wrote quite so many books?

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