Good Bones and Simple Murders

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Good Bones and Simple MurdersGood Bones and Simple Murders by Margaret Atwood
Published: 1994
Length: 165 pages

This is a collection of short stories and essays covering a wide variety of topics. I was never a huge fan of collections like this, and while I have warmed up to them over the last couple of years, I still had a hard time with this little book.

A lot of these felt like writing exercises to me, the sort of thing that can be more fun to write than to read. I like the idea of short, experimental fiction, but a lot of the pieces here felt very by the number. The topics were varied and interesting, but her handling of each of them felt very similar and, because of that, predictable, even when many of the stories or essays seemed to want to surprise the reader. I think if I read one story a month, I would have enjoyed a lot more of this, but you can really see the stitching when you read them all one after another.

That said, a few of these I absolutely loved. I was happy to see In Love With Raymond Chandler included in this, which is a piece I posted about six years ago, in which she gushes over Chandler’s writing in the form of an imagined love affair. Murder in the Dark and Happy Endings are two others that come to mind as favourites.

I may have to re-read parts of this. I have a feeling I’ll enjoy more of it when I’m in the right frame of mind and spread out the reading a bit more.

3 thoughts on “Good Bones and Simple Murders

  1. Silvia

    I like what you wrote. I also have a bit of a hard time when I read several short stories by the same author. I guess it must be difficult to satisfy the reader with variety and quality. I wonder if that’s why I liked the 50 american short stories anthology I read last year.
    This reminds me of Flannery O’Connor, I need to read more of her. I have her complete short stories, in a big book, and everyone praises that book.

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    1. Rob Post author

      Yeah, I usually try to spread the stories out a bit, and that does help. When I read through the first Sherlock Holmes story collection, I only read a couple of stories between each novel I finished, spreading it over multiple months.

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