Margaret Atwood, novelist of the year 2017

Photo: Chris Young The canadian Press
A few days ago, the newspaper “USA Today” has called the novelist a native of Ottawa”the author of a movement”, in bringing in his list of the ten persons who had “the most impact in the cultural sector this year”.

Numbers for a woman of letters : in 2017, 13 000 papers published in the world press have mentioned the name of Margaret Atwood, which is 7 times more than in the previous year.


Since 1985 and the publication of her story dystopian The Handmaid”s Tale — translated two years later into French with the title The handmaid’s tale — the female canadian novelist, in spite of a literary production is dense and varied, was nothing more than a writer, among many others. The year 2017 has made the novelist of the year, a title that confirms and awarded him the notebook to Read the Duty in this last issue of the year.


“Margaret Atwood expresses better than any other novelist’s state of mind and particularly the fears of our time, summed up in interview to the Duty Greg Claeys, professor at the Royal Holloway, University of London. The man is a specialist in political thought, as well as the work of Atwood. He has signed this year the trial of Dystopia : A Natural History (Oxford University Press). The arrival of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States [at the beginning of 2017] has highlighted, but has also fuelled the concerns about the misogyny, the abuse of political power and the risks of a bad use of technology, key themes in most of his novels dystopian “.


The movement of resistance

Photo: Hulu
A scene from “The handmaid’s tale”

A few days ago, the popular daily american USA Today has called the novelist a native of Ottawa” the author of a movement “, in bringing in his list of the ten persons who had ” the most impact in the cultural sector this year “. There she rubbed shoulders with the rapper revolutionary Kendrick Lamar or even the american actress Rose McGowan, who has publicly accused the u.s. producer Harvey Weinstein. The movement in question ? This one of a resistance, an awareness, set in motion by the television adaptation, with a huge success of his Handmaid”s Tale, but also, by that more recent Alias Grace, to which it is possible to add the French translation this year its The Heart Goes Last, now It is the heart that a loose (Robert Laffont).


The first plunges into the heart of a theocratic totalitarian regime where women fertile have become objects held in an untenable submission, the second, based on a novel dating from 1996, explores the drama of Grace Marks, a servant irish accused in the Canada of the 19th century for the murder of her master and the housekeeper, while her last novel, trace, the contours of a model society that puts its hyper at the service of social control, aimed at combating violence and unemployment.


The abuse, oppression, cunning, the manipulation, the dogmas put to the service of the enslavement of the masses, the sex non-consensual, the stressed environment should converge there. These themes respond to the daily tweets of a president who does rhyme singularity with vulgarity and also echo the movement #MeToo (#MoiAussi), which took off after the deal Weinstein — producer, Hollywood fell under the weight of its rapes, and assaults — or the calls for caution are constantly renewed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Margaret Atwood expresses better than any other novelist’s state of mind and particularly the fears of our time
Greg Claeys

The universe dystopic Margaret Atwood, “remind us that human nature tends to lead us in the wrong direction, against our own interests, and that it is better to be aware of it and worry about it,” says Nathalie Cooke, a professor in the Department of English at McGill University and author of two books on Margaret Atwood and her work. “It is a lesson of fundamental life that it is important that we repeat without ceasing “.


“My novels in advance are firmly rooted on Earth and contain no element that is purely invented, explained the main interested last September in the pages of le Figaro. In The handmaid’s tale, there is nothing that has no precedent in History, and the robot sex-It is the heart that a loose last are in the process of being created, ” she added, justifying its symbiosis will be obvious with this, a symbiosis that the year 2017, and the transposition of components strong his work on the small screen came to reveal.

Photo: John MacDougall, Agence France-Presse
The year 2017 has made the novelist of the year, a title that confirms and awards him the book to Read “the Duty” in this last issue of the year.

“His literary approach is very realistic,” said Greg Claeys. She draws on scientific and technological developments existing, without bring this imagination in the field of science fiction, but rather holding them in the borders of the possible “.


Tell the through the present by projecting it into the near future : Margaret Atwood does it very well, but it does so in a time when the world, more than ever before, believes Nathalie Cooke, is increasingly willing to listen to him. “It is now accepted that a good story (storytelling) can take different forms and different formats,” she said. We appreciate this variety, ” in which Margaret Atwood is easily found its place, she has explored poetry as much as fiction in a multitude of genres and style, the comic strip, or children’s literature. This year, the universe to a child Wandering Wenda, that it has created, has been ported to the small screen on CBC radio. The novelist is illustrated also in the field of the comic strip with Angel Catbird, a history of the superheroes that she has written.


“We are more receptive to this wide range of content in a variety of formats, continues the university of montreal, and to the quality of the storytelling of Margaret Atwood in the broad spectrum of creativity that is hers “, particularly during a year in which the tensions, the doubts, the fears and anxieties have made the entertainment a space of comfort to survive in the present.


“Its ability to captivate, to provoke, to entertain while thinking is certainly a very high quality which justifies attributed to him the title of novelist of the year “, she concludes.

More than a few titles

The female canadian novelist is well more than the few titles that were projected on the front of the stage this year. What books to read next year in order to be convinced ?

His poetry, which is highly underrated, ” although it is the foundation of its universe fiction “, replied the professor letters Nathalie Cooke. The vicious circle (Speaking), translation in 2000, of the collection The Circle Game, published in 1964, is one of them. With compassion, the author is sounding the alarm about the risk posed by all the blind love of technology that the affirmation of identities in social environments that mishandle the concept of trust. Power politics (Power Politics, 1971), he explores the limits of language to describe the experience of women low opposed to the strength of the men.

A trilogy of novels…

A trilogy, composed of The last man (Oryx and Crake, 2003), The time of the flood (The Year of The Flood, 2009) and MaddAddam (2013), in which natural disasters leave companies reconfigure themselves as auto-immune diseases for those who make it up. Commodification excessive worship of money, spirituality, devious, everything is in place to tell the worst, in which the novelist invites us not to fall.

Two novels. The woman edible, translation of his first novel, The Edible Woman, published in 1969, which, as the feminist discourse is based, to probe the health of the couple and marriage in environments where the human is reduced to the status of consumer. And The oeil-de-chat (Cat’s Eye, 1988), where, from Toronto, was a painter and goes through her childhood memories to plot the contours of a world where women must sometimes do injustice as a means of defence.

And a book for child

A book for a child. Way up in the tree (Street of the world), written in 1978 with the title Up in the Three, a tale of the falsely naïve where the solidarity is opposed to the risk that some evil spirits-meaning, pose to the harmony and living together.