Margaret Atwood, born in 1939 has been writing professionally since 1961 and we can’t even begin to list her accomplishments. Firstly, she is known around the world as an amazing poet, novelist, teacher, essayist, literary critic, inventor, and as an environmental activist who truly cares about her passions.
Thanks to the 18 books of poetry, 18 novels, 11 non-fiction books, 9 collections of short fiction, 8 children’s books, and two graphic novels, she has won a few awards for her work such as the Booker Prize (twice), Arthur C. Clarke Award, Governor General’s Award, Franz Kafka Prize, and the National Book Critics and PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Awards.
On top of all of these awards, she has even had the honor of seeing a few of her books produced and adapted to TV, Movies, and shows. She even has her own Masterclass on creative writing that teaches anyone who enrolls how to become a great writer and what are the most important things to learn. You can learn more about one of the Atwood’s work, just check out our MaddAddam book series review.
If you like what you see about Margaret then be sure to check out this list about the best books by Margaret Atwood.
Best Margaret Atwood Books
The Handmaid’s Tale
We start this list off with The Handmaid’s Tale which is a great choice to introduce new readers of Margaret what her writing style is like. Margaret spares no one in her books as she always writes what she wants to write about. This book is at the same time funny, horrifying, unexpected, tragic, and very convincing thanks to some logical facts that she lays around. We covered this amazing book in our list of the best feminist books. Don’t hesitate to check it out.
The Handmaid’s Tale is a story about a female servant, or a handmaid, named Offred and she lives in the Commander’s house in the Republic of Gilead. She lives in a changing world where she can only leave the house once a day to go to the market or buy things for the home and the first cruel thing we learn about the world she lives in is that every sign in that place is replaced with pictures rather than words because women are forbidden from reading.
Another cruel thing we come across is that once every month, she has to lie with the Commander and pray that he gets her pregnant because the world in which they live is having a problem related to declining birth rates.
But Offred’s life wasn’t always like this, she used to have a family, a husband who she chose to sleep with, a daughter who she tried to protect and played with, a life of her own where she made her own choices and her own money.
Sadly, all of that is gone now and she is forced to live a life she despises. Take a look at this wonderful book by Margaret and find out what happens next in Offred’s story. We dedicated a whole article to this amazing book, check out our The Handmaid’s Tale book review.
Oryx and Crake
Margaret has mentioned that she sometimes gets inspiration from myths and legends she has heard about when she was young and that they just make her imagination flow wild. This is one of those books where she has released the full potential of her wondrous imagination and has created a truly mythical story. We loved it so much that we included it in our selection of the best science fiction fantasy books!
We meet some amazing characters who live in the future like a snowman who was known as Jimmy before a plague took over the whole world and caused catastrophic disasters. The story gets exciting super-fast when we find out that Jimmy is struggling to survive in this wretched world as he may actually be the very last human alive.
To add to his struggles, we read that Jimmy is having a tough time accepting the loss of his best friend Crake and the beautiful Oryx whom they both had great feelings of love for. The snowman Jimmy was dedicated to finding some answers that he was curious about so he sets out on a journey through the huge wilderness that once was a big city full of people with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake.
Margaret has imagined a not so distant future where the world has fallen apart thanks to the big and powerful corporations who so freely experimented on their fates with genetics. Oryx and Crake is a book that truly deserves a spot on the list about the best books from Margaret Atwood as she expresses her powerful imagination.
The Blind Assassin
The Blind Assassin is definitely a book for the readers who are very familiar with Margaret’s work as it involves a novel within a novel. It sounds pretty complicated to understand but it isn’t that critical.
It’s basically a story about two sisters, Iris and Laura Chase who grow up without a mother. Iris writes a novel called The Blind Assassin that is about her family history and about her sister Laura who was very troubled and eventually committed suicide after World War I.
Iris writes this story for her granddaughter Sabrina and publishes the novel under Laura’s name who since becomes famous thanks to the huge success of the novel.
Iris and Laura’s lives were a bit complicated as Iris was forced into an arranged marriage with a wealthy businessman named Richard Griffen who agrees to save her family’s factory at the age of eighteen. Things get pretty dramatic as Griffen breaks his promise to Captain Chase, Iris and Laura’s father who owned the factory, and the factory closes down while Iris and Richard are on their honeymoon.
Complications soon start overcoming everyone’s lives as we find out that Captain Chase dies, Laura loses her mind and is sent to a mental hospital, Iris finds out that Laura was forced to abort the child from Richard after their affair, at the same time Iris has a different lover who dies and is the cause for Laura suicide.
There is definitely no shortage of drama in this book as you begin to understand all of the characters individually and find out more about them and their lives. There is plenty more drama to come in the following pages as whole new problems arrive in their lives.
This book is the fiction version of a real historical character named Grace Marks who was imprisoned for her acts of crime regarding the murder of her very rich employer Thomas Kinnear and his mistress housekeeper Nancy Montgomery. In Alias Grace, Atwood writes about the time Grace spends in prison and slowly reveals her story.
Grace claims that she has no memory of these murders which is why she is assigned a doctor by the name of Simon Jordan to look after her mental wellbeing. Dr. Jordan wanted to open his own lunatic asylum and was fascinated about something in Grace which is why he wanted to do some research of his own and study her.
As Jordan starts working with Grace he finds out that she is one of nine children that moved from Ireland to Canada in hopes of a better life with their father who was a lazy, irresponsible person who could never be counted on for anything and her mother that sadly died during their journey.
Her connection to the murdered victims reveals when we find out that she was looking for work when she arrived at her new home and eventually ended up working, for a very short time, for Thomas and his estate.
The story begins to unravel as we learn that there were several factors that made her very uncomfortable in Thomas’s home and she explains about them in the following pages.
All and all, this book will turn out to be a very memorable one as you find out about the feelings, thoughts, and life of Grace and the people around her. A book that lives up to the spot on the list about the best books by Margaret Atwood.
I’m Starved for You
Last, but not least, we hear the story of a society in the falling as we enter the lives of Stan and Charmine, a couple among thousands who have just signed up for a new social order. The last one faces half the country being out of work, the streets were occupied by drug-addicts and hoodlums, warlords take advantage of the short food supply and disrupt as much as they can, and the problem of overcrowded correctional facilities just adds more fuel to the fire.
They lived in a world that had surveillance all around and breaking the law had the direst of consequences. But Stan and Charmine had no huge complaints about their life until one day when Stan discovers an erotic note in his house that came from a woman named Jasmine.
The note said “I’m Starved For You” and Stan becomes obsessed with finding this mystery woman. The risk is great as there is a very harsh law out there that forbids half of the stuff that he is about to do. You will have a great time accompanying Stan in his crazy journey.
These are our top picks for the best books by Margaret Atwood and we hope you like them as much as we do. Be sure to check out her other amazing work as she is truly an author who has a vivid imagination that holds many interesting and thrilling stories filled with the most unique and memorable characters.