Canadian

The Edible Woman

Margaret Atwood's debut novel was released in 1969.

Margaret Atwood

Marian has a problem. 

A willing member of the consumer society in which she lives, she suddenly finds herself identifying with the things being consumed. She can cope with her tidy-minded fiancé, Peter, who likes shooting rabbits. She can cope with her job in market research, and the antics of her roommate. She can even cope with Duncan, a graduate student who seems to prefer laundromats to women. But not being able to eat is a different matter. Steak was the first to go. Then lamb, pork, and the rest. Next came her incapacity to face an egg. Vegetables were the final straw. But Marian has her reasons, and what happens next provides an unusual solution. 

Witty, subversive, hilarious, The Edible Woman is dazzling and utterly original. It is Margaret Atwood's brilliant first novel, and the book that introduced her as a consummate observer of the ironies and absurdities of modern life. (From Emblem Editions)

From the book

I know I was all right on Friday when I got up; if anything I was feeling more stolid than usual. When I went out to the kitchen to get breakfast Ainsley was there, moping: she said she had been to a bad party the night before. She swore there had been nothing but dentistry students, which depressed her so much she had consoled herself by getting drunk.

"You have no idea how soggy it is," she said, "having to go through twenty conversations about the insides of peoples' mouths. The most reaction I got out of them was when I described an abscess I once had. They positively drooled. And most men look at something besides your teeth, for god's sake."

She had a hangover, which put me in a cheerful mood — it made me feel so healthy — and I poured her a glass of tomato juice and briskly fixed her an Alka-Seltzer, listening and making sympathetic noises while she complained.


From The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood ©1969. Published by McClelland & Stewart.