I did not have to ponder very long to decide who to write this post about. There were some other candidates (Terry Pratchett, Ian Rankin, Angela Carter.) but the reason that Atwood remains my favourite author is that I cannot think of a novel of hers that I did not like and I also feel that her novels have been there as I was growing up and have helped me become the person I am today.
The first Atwood novel that I met was Surfacing, over 20 years ago now, It was for my BA and it really opened my eyes. (Interestingly a lot of my favourite novels stem from this time: Ready to Catch Him Should He Fall, The Master and Margarita, The Magic Toyshop. Maybe because I had no idea that such books existed.) What I liked about it are the same things I like about all of Atwood’s novels. Her narrators / characters find life difficult in ways that make sense to me. Their relationships are difficult. And they are not always likeable or straightforward or even easy to understand. But they are always interesting, always compelling and always convincing.
It’s hard to say which of Atwood’s novels is my favourite. How could you possibly pick? I do have a soft spot for Surfacing because it was the first but then what about Life Before Man or The Blind Assassin. And what about the wonderful dystopian vision of The Handmaid’s Tale or Oryx and Crake. Impossible. I love them all. And if I could only read her books for the rest of my life, I know I would never be disappointed.