The story of Zenia ought to begin when Zenia began. It must have been someplace long ago and distance in space, thinks Tony; someplace bruised, and very tangled. A European print, hand-tinted, ochre-coloured, with dusty sunlight and a lot of bushes in it - bushes with thick leaves and ancient twisted roots, behind which, out of sight in the undergrowth and hinted at only by a boot protruding, or a slack hand, something ordinary but horrifying is taking place. Zenia is beautiful, smart and greedy, by turns manipulative and vulnerable, needy and ruthless. She is also dead. Just to make absolutely sure Tony, Roz and Charis are there for the funeral. But five years on, as the three women share a decorous lunch, the unthinkable happens: 'with waves of ill will flowing out of her like cosmic radiation', Zenia is back
Margaret Atwood is the author of more than thirty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. In addition to the classic The Handmaid's Tale, her novels include Cat's Eye, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy, The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize, and Oryx and Crake, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2003. Her latest novel, The Year of the Flood, is published by Bloomsbury in September 2009. She was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature in 2008. Margaret Atwood lives in Toronto, Canada.
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