Payback is an intelligent, wide-ranging book that examines the metaphor of debt and the role it takes in our lives.
Debt is like air - something we take for granted and never think about until things go wrong. This is not a book about debt management or high finance, but about debt as a very old, central motif in religion and literature and also in the structuring of human societies. Atwood looks at the language of debt in the Old Testament - what was 'owed' to God, and why. She then turns to investigate debt as sin in medieval and Elizabethan literature, before it develops into a plot-driving concept in nineteenth and twentieth century novels. The debts to society and to nature are discussed in the final essay in this book as Atwood explores how debt as a metaphor affects our understanding of the environment and death.
Topical, enlightening and probing, this is the work of one of the most gifted writers of our generation.
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Sophie Baker manages the translation rights for Payback
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Atwood is encyclopedic in her range, following threads wherever they lead and a consistently captivating storyteller.
Publishers Weekly Starred Review Full Review
Payback is a delightfully engaging, smart, funny, clever and terrifying analysis of the role debt plays in our culture, our consciousness, our economy, our ecology and, if Atwood is right, our future.
The Washington Post Full Review
A fascinating, freewheeling examination of ideas of debt, balance and revenge in history, society and literature - Atwood has again struck upon our most current anxieties.