Pub Writes

About the publishing Industry, editorials, and reviews

Surfacing by Margaret Atwood

Posted by Caitie F on March 13, 2010

Title: Surfacing

Author: Margaret Atwood

Paperback: 231 pages

Publisher: Ballatine Books (Random House)

ISBN: 0449213757

Rating: ++

Summary (from

In Margaret Atwood’s 1972 novel, a young woman returns to the remote island in Quebec where she grew up. Her father has disappeared and she brings two friends (a married couple) and her estranged boyfriend to search for him. Over the course of a week, they search for traces of him while the narrator uncovers suppressed pieces of her past. The marriage between her friends begins to erode as their supplies dwindle and American tourists invade the pristine landscape. “


I read this book because it is in the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. This was her second novel to be published. She has five or six other books that are in the book, and I think I will enjoy them more.

The writing was absolutely fantastic. It technically took me a while to read it, but I read three chapters in four days, then finished the rest last night and this morning. I love her style and how she can manage to describe a place so well without it feeling like too much.

I also thought the look at children, marriage, and divorce were enthralling. The main character (who was an unnamed narrator) was looking at a troubled marriage of her friends all while deciding if love is really something that exists. Throughout the book, I got a glimpse of her troubled marriage and the pressures that exist without even knowing that it is there. As someone who is recently married, it made me look at things a little differently than before and makes me see how important communication between a couple is.

The narrator is a very troubled woman. She has come back to her childhood home after finding out her father has disappeared in an attempt to find out what has happened. He seems to have disappeared, but she is convinced he left clues for her so she can find him. It seems like a stretch and this is the point she becomes crazy and paranoid. Someone comes to say they found her father’s body, but she and her friends are having issues, so she thinks everyone is lying to her, even with information they couldn’t have known.

That was the point that the book lost me. Before part three, it would have gotten at least a three, but her paranoid, animalistic  nature was strange and went somewhere completely different from the rest of the book. The hatred for anything that changed where she was, and blaming it all on the Americans she was convinced were going to invade Canada also started to get on my nerves.

That said, I look forward to reading more of her books because her writing is so good.

Have you read any authors, disliked the book but really wanted to read more? HAve you read any great Atwood books that I should read next? Let me know in the comments!


5 Responses to “Surfacing by Margaret Atwood”

  1. Her writing must be fantastic since you want to read more.

  2. Caitie F said

    It is. She may be one of the best writers I have read in a very long time! I may be going to get another book today!

  3. I love Margaret Atwood, mostly because her writing style is just so great. It’s descriptive without being too much, and just clean and easy to read. It’s too bad this one wasn’t great, but I’m sure you’ll like others better.

  4. Maria said

    The Handmaid’s Tale is still my favorite of her books that I’ve read. If you decide to read HT and don’t like it, I’d suggest not reading any more by Atwood. 🙂

  5. […] have only read Surfacing, and while it was just okay, I thought the writing was very good and I will read at least three or […]

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