In these later works, Atwood returns to several of her familiar themes and forms. In Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature, a collection of critical essays dealing with fiction and the fictionalising processes, she replays versions of tales of the Canadian wilderness, the fascination with lost causes and pioneering journeys, adventure and mythic forest creatures, reprising the interests of the earlier Survival (1970). Similar tales surface in her story sequence Moral Disorder, where the protagonist, Nell’s, father retells and inhabits them in his ageing mind. There are 11 tales, which feature both recollection and thoughts about the future, sometimes highly reflective and speculative, but never sentimental. The Tent is a collection of short, flash fictions rehearsing the storytelling forms and habits with which people make sense of their lives, explain the strange, build promises of the future, and speculate about how it could be otherwise. These fictions also consider the fictionalising processes themselves and evidence Atwood’s endlessly ironic, parodic, inter-textual, subtle, occasionally sarcastic satire.
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