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McKinley Way, that incorporate traditional Hmong symbols and patterns. First Known Use of surfacing , in the meaning defined above. Learn More about surfacing. Resources for surfacing Time Traveler! Explore the year a word first appeared. Dictionary Entries near surfacing surface-to-surface missile surface water surface wave surfacing surfacing machine surfactant surfacy. Time Traveler for surfacing The first known use of surfacing was in See more words from the same year.
But reading her is like falling atop a velvet cushion, too placid to notice the bugs infesting it, getting under your skin, creeping you out. View all 12 comments. Jul 12, Lisa rated it it was amazing Shelves: On the surface, this novel is a detective story.
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A woman travels in the company of friends to a remote island to find out what happened to her father, who suddenly disappeared without a trace. Underneath the surface, stored memories of things past begin to move - upward, outward - until they burst like bubbles when they are surfacing. Our identity is formed and guided as much by the things we have lost as by the things we still have. In fact, sometimes what we lose sticks more heavily in our tho On the surface, this novel is a detective story. In fact, sometimes what we lose sticks more heavily in our thoughts, preventing us from enjoying what we have at the moment.
Facing the trauma of a forced loss - an involuntary abortion - the young woman moves away from the life she created for herself as a grown-up person, and lets go of civilised behaviour to find back to her natural roots. She becomes one with earth, fire, water and air, loses touch with modern life - "American" is her generalised term for the half-machines that take over the natural habitats of the planet.
Letting her wild interior surface, she heals from the wound she has carried underneath a facade of superficial adaptation. From hell over purgatory and heaven back to life, in a dantesque journey of bizarre proportions. In the woods, in the water, in the fire, in the air, she finds the self she lost: Unless I can do that, I can do nothing. I have to recant, give up the old belief that I am powerless and and because of it nothing I can do will ever hurt anyone. A lie which was always more disastrous than the truth would have been.
The word games, the winning and losing games are finished; at the moment there are no others but they will have to be invented, withdrawing is no longer possible and the alternative is death. Beautifully clear and fragile, like a bubble surfacing in the water. View all 25 comments. Atwood's previous novel, The Edible Woman , dealt with a young woman who is so terrified of marriage that it causes her to lose her touch with reality and fall deeper and deeper into mental illness. It was a good novel but its biggest weakness was its plot. In Surfacing , Atwood treads much of the same ground but completely jettisons any semblance of a plot and thus presents us with a far more intriguing and mature work.
Our unnamed female narrator brings her lover and their two married friends t Atwood's previous novel, The Edible Woman , dealt with a young woman who is so terrified of marriage that it causes her to lose her touch with reality and fall deeper and deeper into mental illness. Our unnamed female narrator brings her lover and their two married friends to her childhood lakeside cabin in the woods for a brief getaway from life and for the two men to capture some footage for the amateur film they are producing. She hides her true intentions of returning to this familiar lake however.
She is trying to find her father. Long missing, our narrator does not presume him dead but instead believes that he is still alive and living by the lake. The whole novel is essentially our narrator's internal monologue throughout this strange week by the lake. It becomes obvious early on that we are stuck in the mind of a mentally ill young woman. Her grasp on reality is oneiric and muddied, leading to the whole novel being written in a semi-lucid and dreamlike style. There are passages of this novel which would be better described as poetry than prose, as our narrator seemingly slips in and out of her reality and into a chimerical and other-worldly state.
The novel is also almost oppressively atmospheric with dirt and grit rammed underneath its fingernails. What I'm basically saying is that if this were adapted into a movie today it would have a lot of Sufjan Stevens on the soundtrack. I found myself completely absorbed by this novel. The manner of Atwood's prose baits you into reading the whole novel in a small series of large chucks and whilst I did find the narrative to be languorous at times I could not seem to escape the narrator's mindset. In Surfacing you find yourself set adrift in the murky waters of a young woman's mind. The gentle current guides you along as you drift further and further into the darkest recesses of the lake, without even the faintest semblance of a paddle to navigate your way.
The last time I read this beauty was approximately half my lifetime ago. It was a vital part of a never-waning appreciation and adoration for Margaret Atwood's work.
Surfacing - definition of surfacing by The Free Dictionary
I'm pretty sure I didn't quite get it then, being a very young adult, unaware of many things going on in this far-out, complex ride into the Canadian wilderness. Maybe I did, maybe I didn't. But I do know I loved it then, and I love it now. What was different this time around was I had a better idea of the time in which it was s The last time I read this beauty was approximately half my lifetime ago. What was different this time around was I had a better idea of the time in which it was set, what it might have been like for a woman then.
As well, having spent 8 years living in Quebec, I know first hand the prejudices and tensions between English and French. I've also read a hell of a lot more contemporary literary fiction, and, yep, this one still stands up. That's a fantastic question. I'll attempt to answer A nameless protagonist is in northern Quebec, in a very remote area, in search of her father who has gone missing.
She brings with her Joe her boyfriend and another couple, Anna and David who are super effed up, btw. She also brings with her ghosts from her past, things that have haunted her her entire life and have somehow kept her separate from others, even from herself, even from the reader who cannot hope to relate to her, and doesn't ever even learn her name. They stay in her father's very rustic cabin while she searches for him.
There is a constricting malevolence present; there are eyes that seem to be watching, a predatory atmosphere. What should be an idyllic week of camping in the woods, is Though this book definitely has environmental themes, it isn't described in Wordsworthian swoon-inducing curlicues. In fact, what with the leeches, the rotting bird carcass, the entrails, et al, nature isn't something to mess with.
You could decide she's losing her mind, there's plenty of things that would support that idea. But the way I see it, our girl is in the process of "surfacing" - which to me is someone coming out of the depths, to breathe air. She's rejecting the world she came from, rejecting marriage, kids, religion, French Canadians, Americans SO anti-American She morphs into her true self, where titles, statuses, even forms are not necessary to define her identity. I am not an animal or a tree, I am the thing in which the trees and animals move and grow, I am a place I enjoyed and was fascinated by this book, all the way through.
I marvelled at the writing. It's poetic, visually evocative, full of mood. I wouldn't say it's an easy or "delightful" read.
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It's more how I feel about eating a kale salad I know it's good for me, I know it's important. Margaret Atwood is such a powerhouse, "feminist" does not cover it; she shoots female identity so far out of the box, she isn't contained by language, clothes, or definitions.
I tried for all those years to be civilized but I'm not and I'm through pretending. View all 16 comments.
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Jun 17, Julie rated it really liked it Shelves: If you ever happen to walk up to a fresh water lake and see me in it, go find a damn life preserver and toss it in, immediately. There are only two reasons that I'd ever stick one toe in that leech-infested nastiness: I have fallen in and I am drowning, or I'm rescuing another person who is drowning. Either way, we require assistance. Similarly, if you ever happen to walk up and see me with a fishing pole in my hand, you can consider me the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse.
The day I stick bait If you ever happen to walk up to a fresh water lake and see me in it, go find a damn life preserver and toss it in, immediately. The day I stick bait on a hook to fish will symbolize the End Times and you can know with great certainty that all men on the planet are now dead.
So, if you happen to know the general plot of Margaret Atwood's Surfacing , you can understand, with confidence, that I have very little in common with the Unnamed Protagonist. We both might have had unusual parents, but the commonalities stop there. Unnamed Protagonist is a woodsy gal, not necessarily by choice, but by a plan of her father's making. She and her brother were raised by their bizarre parents on a remote island surrounded by a remote village somewhere in a remote and very Catholic corner of Quebec.
And in case this sounds idyllic to any of you compost-your-own-waste types, it's not. Neither parent supported the natural social growth or adolescent curiosity of their offspring, and when the kids went to school in the city during the winters, they suffered as the subjects of a cruel scrutiny and social disdain. Plus, they had to use an outhouse. The bottom line is. Unnamed Protagonist is pretty messed up. And, I'm going to be honest here. I kind of hate her. Seriously, I don't know if a woman could be less relatable to me.
She is wishy-washy, she is totally disconnected and unattached from her self, other people, and certainly as far distant from a spiritual being as a human can possibly be. When she morphs into an amoeba or whatever the hell happens to her in the end, her tentacles and whatnot, I'm sort of just hoping that she'll die. Surfacing has always been my tied-for-least-favorite-with- Alias-Grace Atwood novel, and unfortunately, this reread didn't change my mind. But, damn it, this woman can write. View all 29 comments. An always thought-provoking, awe-inspiring and disturbing plunge into the depths of Atwood's early vision, voice and artistry.
Everything and more than I remembered. It reads equally as powerful and mostly as relevant today as it did when I first read it, not so long these things are relative; I re-read this on my 50th birthday after it was published in I feel sorry for readers who find this plotless, obtuse and unfinished.
It is nothing short of perfect, in my mind. Atwood probes memo An always thought-provoking, awe-inspiring and disturbing plunge into the depths of Atwood's early vision, voice and artistry. Atwood probes memory, language, meaning and identity personal, national , knitting together a story of a mind unravelling under the pressure of grief, de-individuation, and the conventional social and gender roles that just don't fit and need to be shed like skin.
She uses characters, dialogue and scenes to skim in and out of internal and external realities, diving into and through layers of consciousness and back and forth through time. But this is by no means post-modern or is it? Is this novel pre post-modern? There seems to me nothing meta or deliberately self-conscious happening here.
Atwood quickly immerses you and holds you down in the story. She forces you to pay attention. Every word matters; every image thrums with poetic resonance of what has gone before and what will come after. She constructs her story by deconstructing her protagonist's past, and more specifically, the many layers of self-deception, delusion and imposed meaning the sediment of personal history that muddies the truth. Yet, does the protagonist ever really go mad? She devolves; she goes down and in, in order to confront her past and her truth and to emerge whole.
The novel is, after all, called Surfacing. That doesn't seem to me insane; it seems necessary. There's another review to be written about the theme of Canadian national identity that was, in the early 70s, also re- surfacing: America, with the idea of cultural appropriation and overtaking violence the undertone. These themes Atwood weaves together with the personal story. Here are some of my favourite bits - spoilers because they mark essential revelations I would call them plot points, but let's face it, plot is a little too generous a concept.
These mark the most Atwoodian use of language: They rely on the reader having read carefully to that point; and then they deliver with a gut-punch of comprehension that belies the abstract, disembodied words and images themselves. Read these at the risk of potentially dulling their impact if you're going to read or re-read this novel: Ring on my finger. It was all real enough, it was enough reality for ever, I couldn't accept it, that mutilation, ruin I'd made, I needed a different version.
I pieced it together the best way I could, flattening it, scrapbook, collage, pasting over the wrong parts. A faked album, the memories fraudulent as passports; but a paper house was better than none and I could almost live in it, I'd lived in it until now. This time I will do it by myself, squatting, on old newspapers in a corner alone; or on leaves, dry leaves, a heap of them, that's cleaner.
The baby will slip out easily as an egg, a kitten, and I'll lick it off and bite the cord, the blood returning to the ground where it belongs; the moon will be full, pulling.
In the morning I will be able to see it: Not to diss Munro, but god Atwood should've - should still - get the Nobel. View all 8 comments. This is one of the most poetic and haunting books I have ever read. I marked it as a favorite, and noticed once again that my favorite books often gets a wide variety of ratings, some people love it, while quite a few states that it's not their cup of tea. Maybe that's because I'm not really a "reading for the plot" type of reader. Although I have really liked some fast paced and suspenseful books, that kind of story will never be among my favorites.
Surfacing is not particularly plot driven. Al This is one of the most poetic and haunting books I have ever read. Although the characters clash over many things, and it touches on feminism, Canadian nationalism and environmentalism, among other things, it's mostly a psychological novel, concerning the Canadian wilderness and its effect on the main character.
A young woman returns to her childhood home to search for her father, who has gone missing. She brings her boyfriend and another couple with her, and they are staying at her father's wilderness cabin. For the others this is mostly a holiday, but for the unnamed protagonist, childhood memories and old, resurfacing knowledge on how to survive in the wilderness of northern Quebec, pulls her further and further away from the others, until the wilderness completely consumes her.
Slowly she sheds her city life, and all demands it has made on her, especially demands related to social gender. The way I see it, she lives a freer and more authentic life this way. The book has been criticized for connecting women with nature, animals and brute instincts, while men gets to represent culture and civilization, and claims have been made that the book is, therefore, not a feminist novel.
I realize that it can be read that way, but for me it seemed that city life was the most constricting and limiting thing that had ever happened to this young woman, and when she got away from civilization, away from other peoples opinions and judgments, she could simply be, simply exist, without gender norms, without being put into different boxes like "woman", "mother" and so on.
A lot of people read simply to see what happens next, but I need something more than that to really love a book. This book is poetry. Its deep, complex, psychological, the atmosphere seeps into you and gives you a unique feeling, and that's what makes it one of my favorites. View all 11 comments. Feb 27, Cecily rated it really liked it Shelves: A story of loss and struggle for identity around a remote Canadian lake in the 60s ish. There is plenty of symbolism, principally different types and states of trees live, stumps, ash, sawdust ; problems of understanding between French and English speakers and also between those ostensibly speaking the same language, and watery visions of drowning, inundating and surfacing.
There is also a strong anti-American, anti-colonial theme: As the book progresses, it becomes more mystical and eventually the narrator descends into her own private madness, exacerbated by loss of identity, family, independence, babies, freedom and more. Without a formal ending. View all 15 comments. We meet the unnamed narrator travelling north through Quebec in a car with two men and another woman. It transpires that they are two couples, going to investigate the disappearance of her father, who has been living in a remote cabin on a lake island where he has been largely self sufficient.
They spend longer than planned on the island, relationships A fascinating early work by Atwood, if perhaps not quite one that hits the heights of the likes of Cat's Eye, Alias Grace and The Blind Assassin. They spend longer than planned on the island, relationships are strained and the final part gets very strange.
The story draws the reader in brilliantly as it becomes clear that what she is really investigating is her own past. Sep 25, Amanda rated it it was amazing Shelves: I don't even know how to start to review this. It's hard to believe that this was just Atwood's second novel. The writing is so powerful it knocked me off my feet in places. I had an extremely emotional response to this book. I actually finished it last night but I wanted to think about it a bit before I gave it five stars.
The ending almost brought it down a star but after thinking about it more I've decided that it is worth the full 5. The story starts out with an unnamed narrator who is on a I don't even know how to start to review this. The story starts out with an unnamed narrator who is on a trip to a remote cabin with her boyfriend and a married couple. She is going there to look for her estranged father who has disappeared. The couple and the boyfriend are filming a documentary and are hoping for some footage. The narrator is extremely damaged from her past which she is not completely honest with herself about.
The couple have a marriage that is crumbling. In her search for her father our narrator comes face to face with her own demons and it's not a pretty picture. I'm so glad that I read this and I definitely need more Margaret Atwood in my life. View all 6 comments. Jan 25, Raul Bimenyimana rated it really liked it Shelves: The second Atwood book I have read, and it was just as absorbing and as striking as the first, The Handmaid's Tale.
Having finished The Vegetarian just before I started on this, reading this felt like a companion book to The Vegetarian. Both books have female protagonists that develop an aversion for animal flesh and human beings and later themselves and retreat into themselves but with varying repercussions. The unnamed female protagonist, together with three others leave the city for a cabin by The second Atwood book I have read, and it was just as absorbing and as striking as the first, The Handmaid's Tale. The unnamed female protagonist, together with three others leave the city for a cabin by a lake in the woods she grew up in.
Experiencing the loss of her parents, the protagonist combs through her past and nature to find links that connect her to her childhood and her family. Through the protagonist, Atwood examines the destructive nature of human beings, against each other and the other living creatures they have to share spaces with. In such vivid prose she transports the reader to a Canadian lake surrounded by woods. The protagonist's final realization and arrival was such a spectacular ending to this book: Unless I can do that I can do nothing.
I have to recant, give up the old belief that I am powerless and because of it nothing I can do will ever hurt anyone. View all 3 comments. Feb 21, Shelby rated it it was amazing. This was a really interesting read. I think it would have had more of an impact on me personally if I was able to read it in a sitting or two but, alas, life inhibits uninterrupted reading. At first the writing style bothered me with the constant commas and seemingly unending sentences, but as I got into the novel, this style to facilitate the reader's comprehension of the narrator's stream This was a really interesting read.
At first the writing style bothered me with the constant commas and seemingly unending sentences, but as I got into the novel, this style to facilitate the reader's comprehension of the narrator's stream of consciousness. This work, as many of Atwood's, comments on the physical nature of women, including the intricacies of childbirth, and the roles of men and women in domestic life. The narrator often mentions that a "disease" is spreading up from American into Canada , but this is more of a metaphor for the spreading of capitalist American ideals and values encroaching on Canada's innate remoteness.
I think the title refers to the narrator; throughout the book she is working to distance herself from the restrictions imparted on society, especially women, in everyday life. Sep 20, Madeline rated it it was ok Shelves: I checked the copyright date on this book and found out that it was first published in Let's all pause and bow our heads to offer a silent prayer of thanks that Margaret Atwood has improved with time. The copy I have of this book is part of a larger volume containing three Atwood novels.
Because there's no plot synopsis on the back of the book or the inside of the jacket, I dove into it having no idea what it was going to be about. It took me thirty pages to figure it out. For the benefit I checked the copyright date on this book and found out that it was first published in For the benefit of future readers, here is my summary: The narrator grew up on a island in the middle of a lake with her parents and brother, and her father still lives on the island.
However, he has disappeared, and the narrator is returning home to find out what happened to him. Without giving away the ending, I will just say that it's confusing as hell and I still don't know what the point of it all was. I make it sound like a mystery thriller.
That would be much too straightforward for Atwood. Instead, we get pages of run-on sentences about nature and sex and death and I don't even know what else. But even confusing, no-clear-plot Atwood is still Atwood. Here's what her main character says about the paper dolls from her childhood: Margaret Atwood's second novel and one I'm reading for the first time. Atwood digs deep into the female psyche, as well as the human psyche, probing and poking in all the dark underwater caves that the modern world has separated us from.
Her unnamed protagonist is searching for her missing father in a remote area of northeast Canada. She has brought along her current lover and a married couple whom, removed from their city life in Toronto, she is able to see clearly and critically, and bit by bit Margaret Atwood's second novel and one I'm reading for the first time.
She has brought along her current lover and a married couple whom, removed from their city life in Toronto, she is able to see clearly and critically, and bit by bit she comes to measure how far removed she has become from the more conscious life of her childhood.
She first misinterprets what she finds in her father's cabin, but while trying to decipher what she believes are clues to his whereabouts, she ends up having a deep epiphany and helps unfreeze her own traumatized mind. Giving the slip to her friends, she reverts back to a more wild version of herself, more in tune with the natural world she believes she has left behind, and finally able to live free again - or is she?.