Stone Mattress: Nine Tales
Nan A. Talse | Doubleday, Random House, 2014
Alphinland – Constance, widowed only a short time, is holed up alone in her house during an ice storm. During the storm she reminisces about a previous boyfriend and her husband, whose voice she hears clearly as if he was standing right beside her.
Revenant – Gavin, a poet who was the previous boyfriend of Constance (Alphinland) has become an embittered old man dependent on his much younger wife, Reynolds, and finds a thrill in psychologically hurting other people.
Dark Lady – Elderly twins, Jorrie and Tin, recall their youth – Jorrie as a wild young woman who was in love with Gavin and came between him and Constance. This story brings some closure to the heartache begun in the first story, Alphinland, and continued in Revenant. I’m glad the author added this story to wrap everything up – the first two sort of ended without ending.
Lusus Naturae – What would you do if your child transformed into a lusus naturae, a “freak of nature?” One who has long silky hair growing on her chest, hears voices that aren’t there, develops pink teeth, yellow eyes and red fingernails, and who drinks blood? What would you do?
The Freeze-Dried Groom – An antique dealer who sells faux antiques, is the middle man for a smuggling operation and is thrown out by his wife purchases a storage unit at an auction and uses its contents to his advantage.
I Dream of Zenia with the Bright Red Teeth – Three elderly women, long-time friends, a ghost of a fourth friend, a dog and a scumbag of an ex-boyfriend. The dog wins the day!!
The Dead Hand Loves You – The author of a pulp-horror book that became a smash-hit rues the day long ago when he signed a contract with three of his roommates from college to equally split in four ways the proceeds of his as-yet-unpublished novel.
The Stone Mattress – On a cruise through the Arctic a woman takes revenge on a man who did her terribly wrong some 50 years earlier.
Torching the Dusties – A resident of an assisted living development, Wilma has Charles Bonnet Syndrome with her macular degeneration so she is virtually blind; she depends on her friend and co-resident, Tobias to guide her through a darkening world. But the world is turning darker as there is a movement of young people who take revenge on an older generation for leaving the world in the mess that its’ in and the government is too busy with natural disasters around the country to stop them. The question remains, did Wilma and Tobias survive?
So out of these 9 tales only in 2 of them is the protagonist not an elderly person. I’ve never read so many stories from the viewpoint of the elderly. It’s a really interesting viewpoint – most of the books I read are from a young person’s POV – they have their whole lives ahead of them and are so young and hopeful. In these stories, the characters look backward and their lives and mull them over. I really enjoyed these stories, so different and so relevant – at least to my humom who is old.
Rating 4 out of 5 paws
Ms Atwood has written a TON of books, stories, poems and so on. Go HERE for her full bibliography. She definately one of the Library’s favorite authors!