This collection of short stories feels more like Atwood published her “idea journal” for public consumption. I read one review that suggested that, despite its short length, it may be better enjoyed in short spurts which I did not consider until it was too late. In the few instances I found myself enjoying a story it would inevitably end a few sentences later, as is the nature of short stories. The longer poems were probably the most enjoyable because they felt the most complete as well as bullet pointed list titled “Orphan Stories.”
Of the micro-stories included in The Tent I enjoyed “Chicken Little Goes Too Far” and “Thylacine Ragout” the most and while I liked “Three Novels I Won’t Write Soon” it was one of the more irritating because it was obviously not a fully fleshed out story.
You sounded the exact same alarm last year, said Henny Penny, and the sky is still in place. Last time I looked, she added, with heavy irony.
“The sky is falling” is a metaphor, said Chicken Little huffily.
Perhaps this shouldn’t have been my first foray into Atwood’s work but it was one of her few immediately available books at my local library and I wanted to dip my toes into her immense pool before tacking The Handmaiden’s Tale which I’m on the waist-list for. While this didn’t turn me off of reading Atwood in the future the combine lacklusterness of The Tent and Paris for One suggests I shouldn’t read any more short stories for a while.