I’ve been trying to read my way through Margaret Atwood, and I thought with the end of the year approaching, I would try out a collection of short stories. While I tend to prefer Atwood’s novels best, I do like the collections I’ve encountered thus far (admittedly, though, Atwood is an incredibly prolific writer, and I’ve only scratched the surface of her work). Moral Disorder is an interesting and engaging collection.
Told from various vantage points, Moral Disorder connects the same timeline from various points in time. Nell is one of the major characters, whose life from childhood to her late adulthood is covered, though not in chronological order. Her partner Tig is also featured, as well as his ex-wife, his children, and the child they have together. The circle of life, from childhood, to young love, adulthood, old age, and death, is covered in entirety. People and animals find a way to coexist, even as they clash and conflict. The world dramatically changes from its existence in the 1930s to a world that may not exist as we know it today. It’s all depicted from a typical Atwood lens—that is, wry, dark, and well-fashioned, and sharply funny.
This collection is interesting and engaging. While I would not count it as a favorite stand-alone short-story collection, I definitely find it worthy of Atwood’s canon. It wouldn’t be my starting point if you’ve never read Atwood, but if you have, definitely give it a try. I’ve not read a short story collection that was both inter-twined and written out of chronological order, and this one was very well-executed.