As you open Angel Catbird, Margaret Atwood’s new comic book, your mind may wander through her previous works in search of comparisons and common themes. In her case, that’s quite a trip. Though best-known for more than 40 books of fiction, poetry and essays, she’s also a creator of comics.
“In the seventies I drew a sort-of-political strip called Kanadian Kultchur Komix for a magazine called, puzzlingly, This Magazine,” she writes in Catbird‘s introduction. “It’s no great coincidence that the narrator of my 1972 novel, Surfacing, is an illustrator, and that the narrator of my 1988 novel, Cat’s Eye, is a figurative painter.”
Actually, though, the most revelatory predecessor to Angel Catbird is a lesser-known work, 1976’s Lady Oracle. Its protagonist writes gothic romances and keeps trying to live like she’s in one, with boisterous results. (She gets into the romance business after discovering that her larger-than-life lover, a Polish count, supports himself by writing nurse novels.) Atwood has always delighted in subverting genres, and Lady Oracle shows her at her mischievous best.
Read more at NPR.