Margaret Atwood turned 70 this week, prompting the Guardian to reflect on her “remarkably productive career, arguably without peer in terms of scope, length, range and quality.” The author of the recent bestseller The Year of the Flood, it continues, is “a novelist of rare lyricism, profundity, inventiveness and humour; an acclaimed poet; an essayist, critic and playwright; an environmentalist and activist.”
The article offers what may be one of the most apt descriptions of her writing to date: “What most defines Margaret Atwood, for me, is the way it all seems to come so easily. Where one can imagine DeLillo wrestling with each sentence in his dense, meticulously constructed fiction, one pictures Atwood, by contrast, letting the work flow through and out of her like orchestral sounds sweeping across an auditorium. There is such an easy grace to the writing, such cohesiveness of idea, such artistic boldness and surefootedness. And such playfulness and lightness of touch: that dry, sarcastic sense of humour (which incidentally comes out in person as much as in print). Atwood is not just funny in theory, but will actually make the reader laugh. Underpinning all this is a deep, instinctive sincerity which is, to my mind, fundamental to greatness.” Hear, hear.