Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction are some of my Literary Interests





Saturday, December 14, 2013

"The Man From Mars" by Margaret Atwood - 1977




I have read and posted on four novels by Margaret Atwood (1939, Canada).  My favorite is The Handmaiden's Tale.  "The Man From Mars" is the first of her short stories I have yet read.  I really liked it a lot.  It is told in the first person by Christine, a Canadian college student.  She is a "big boned" athletic woman studying political science.  Her father has an important government job so she feels she can probably secure a government position.  One day on campus an odd, shabbily dressed Asian man approaches her and strikes up a conversation.  She senses there is something wrong with him and reluctantly agrees to give him her name.  Christine is not as pretty as her two sisters and most men she meets through tennis or the debating society see her as "one of the guys".  The man calls her house and her mother, maybe relieved Christine seems to have a suiter,  suggests he come to tea one day and he invites himself next Thursday.   He begins to stalk her.  Her father calls the police who take extra care with the case because of his position. There is a lot in this story and I don't want to spoil it for potential readers by telling more of the plot.   The ending is really interesting.  

This is a story about how expectations become prophecies, about how a woman's look can fix her future, about cultural clashes and complacency and much more.

I read this in the excellent anthology pictured below.





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