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Stone Mattress cover art

Stone Mattress

Written by: Margaret Atwood
Narrated by: Margaret Atwood,Rob Delaney,Mark Bramhall,Lorna Raver,Arthur Morey,Emily Rankin,Bernadette Dunne
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Publisher's Summary

A collection of highly imaginative short pieces that speak to our times with deadly accuracy. Vintage Atwood creativity, intelligence, and humor: think Alias Grace.

Margaret Atwood turns to short fiction for the first time since her 2006 collection, Moral Disorder, with nine tales of acute psychological insight and turbulent relationships bringing to mind her award-winning 1996 novel, Alias Grace. A recently widowed fantasy writer is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband in "Alphinland," the first of three loosely linked stories about the romantic geometries of a group of writers and artists. In "The Freeze-Dried Bridegroom," a man who bids on an auctioned storage space has a surprise. In "Lusus Naturae," a woman born with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire. In "Torching the Dusties," an elderly lady with Charles Bonnet syndrome comes to terms with the little people she keeps seeing, while a newly formed populist group gathers to burn down her retirement residence. And in "Stone Mattress," a long-ago crime is avenged in the Arctic via a 1.9 billion-year-old stromatolite. In these nine tales, Margaret Atwood is at the top of her darkly humorous and seriously playful game.

List of Stories and Narrators:

  • "Alphinland" and "Torching the Dusties" read by Lorna Raver
  • "Revenant" read by Mark Bramhall
  • "Dark Lady" and "The Dead Hand Loves You" read by Arthur Morey
  • "Lusus Naturae" read by Emily Rankin
  • "The Freeze-Dried Groom" read by Rob Delaney
  • "I Dream of Zenia with the Bright Red Teeth" read by Bernadette Dunne
  • "Stone Mattress" read by Margaret Atwood
©2014 Margaret Atwood (P)2014 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"Stunning…Atwood brings her biting wit to bear on the battle of the sexes." ( Publishers Weekly, starred review)
"Shrewdly brilliant, gleefully mischievous, and acerbically hilarious…Atwood has the raptor's penetrating gaze, speed, and agility and never misses her mark." ( Booklist, starred review)
"Clever tales about writers and lovers…Atwood is a playful, sharp-edged, and politically alert author." ( Kirkus Reviews)

What listeners say about Stone Mattress

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Enjoyed every minute

Amazing narrators. Haunting tales. The stories and characters will not soon be forgotten. Margaret Atwood is an incredible storyteller.

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  • The Amester
  • 2015-06-01

Staggeringly Good

Year ago, I read two of Margaret Atwood's novels; both were dark and disturbing, and extremely well-written. And recently, I've been listening to detective stories and mysteries - most of them enjoyable and good enough to pass the hours of my long daily commute.
Well, I clearly had forgotten how wonderful it is to listen to beautifully written prose!

Atwood's stories are wonderful, the characters are intriguing and the imagery conveyed by her beautiful words is stunning. I laughed out loud at times and other times I simply smiled to myself at the sheer wonder of how she tells a story. Happy tale or sad tale, Atwood's telling of the tale is everything.

I enjoyed every single minute of this collection of short stories and cannot recommend them highly enough.

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16 people found this helpful

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  • Vered
  • 2015-02-12

Includes 3 great short stories

I am a big fan of Margaret Atwood's work, and appreciate everything she writes, but in my opinion this is not her best work.
I didn't enjoy the entire collection, but it had its moments, thanks to the connection between the stories (revnge, looking back, connection between fantasy writers and their inspiration or themes).

There are also two exceptional stories included in this collection +one enjoyable nostalgic story for M. Atwood's fans.

I Dream of Zenia... - a retrospect/ revisit of the book The Robber Bride (funny and very well written)

The Dead Hand Loves you - a very amusing story, about a glorified horror writer, looking back at his inspiration and planning to take revenge on his past flat mates.

Torching the Dusties - best story included in this collection, and deserves entery to Atwood's hall of fame work. smart and disturbing story including a distopian view of old age.
brilliantly told and memorable.



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12 people found this helpful

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  • Tony
  • 2014-11-09

Great short stories!

I'm a fan of Margaret Atwood. I see to be able to enjoy all her books and this one was no exception even though I find short stories in general to be less than satisfying because they're over too quickly leaving so much unfinished. I especially liked the story Stone Mattress for which the book is named. It was a great listen with a satisfying ending ;)

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9 people found this helpful

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  • David H.
  • 2017-07-10

Atwood at her finest!

The fact that the first few stories are interwoven is clever and engaging. I especially enjoyed hearing Atwood narrate a couple of them as no one like the author knows how to bring their characters to life. These were superb stories.

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7 people found this helpful

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  • SMS
  • 2014-10-23

Really didn't like this collection

Would you try another book from Margaret Atwood and/or the narrators?

I've read many previous Margaret Atwood books and enjoyed them immensely.

What could Margaret Atwood have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

I found this a weird and dispiriting collection

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7 people found this helpful

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  • sarah
  • 2015-04-13

Always a pleasure and great performances

If you like Atwood, these stories are pretty classic. She plays with perspective in the first few stories, reminding me of Oryx and Crake. The stories span genres and are and points of view. The performers are the same as Oryx and Crake, with Atwood reading some of the stories, expertly.

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6 people found this helpful

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  • Percy
  • 2015-01-31

Another amazing book

Growing old with empathy. An extraordinary set of stories.
Having different narrators was great. The stone mattress story was brilliant.

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6 people found this helpful

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  • JuliaQ
  • 2017-06-26

Just do it

Just get this, you won't regret it. It's riveting and I couldn't stop listening to it. Do it

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5 people found this helpful

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  • Annie
  • 2017-02-25

Nine wonderful stories

The performances of the readers in combination with the stories are both thrilling and charming. This book is a wonderful look at life further on, veering away from the standard 22-year-old protagonist and instead championing the complex lives of full adults.

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3 people found this helpful

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  • Angwb
  • 2019-04-17

what a let down! SUCH a Waste of MONEY!

read the reviews was looking for a good book for my husband and I to listen on our road trip and pass the long stretch of road - felt by what I read this was sure to be just... SO good...

needless to say - I still haven't lived down the downer of a book I subjected him to before we finally turned it off.

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2 people found this helpful