Margaret Atwood interlaces good suspense and great characterization so well in this book that readers will turn the pages just to find out what becomes of these life-like characters. I wondered if the three friends in this book, Roz, Tony, and Charis, were actual friends of the author; they seemed so real and so like best friends. They’re characters you’ll remember long after the story is over and, if you’re like me, you’ll miss them.
Roz, Tony, and Charis have been friends for years. They are very different from each other, one a hippy-type romantic, one a soul-searching single mother, and one a brusk (we think) history professor who specializes in war. They meet together in a restaurant regularly to talk and catch up, sympathize with each other, and offer support.
Perhaps one of Atwood’s most interesting characters, Zenia has jilted each of these women individually at different points in their lives. She’d have to have a name like Zenia—no Jennifer or Marcy would do. Zenia could be described as a man-eater (isn’t that an 80’s pop song? She would have been perfect for the video).
Although it’s difficult to imagine a person in real life who resembles Zenia, she becomes believable through her interactions with the other characters. Also, the repercussions she has on the lives of the other three main characters make her not only real but nightmarish. Perhaps that’s what makes Zenia so scary: she might be a person who could enter your life, and then where would you be?
If for no other reason (though there are many), read this book for the ending. It’s fabulous, and I can’t believe Hollywood hasn’t used it. Maybe no one in Hollywood has read this book. On second thought, Hollywood couldn’t do it justice; they should probably just stay out of it.