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Life Before Man

About the Book

Life Before Man

In Margaret Atwood's fourth novel, Elizabeth and Nate are a married couple foundering to preserve their decaying marriage until the suicide of Chris, Elizabeth's lover, illuminates the futility of their efforts.

Nate rushes to the arms of Lesje, Elizabeth's timid co-worker at the Natural History Museum's Paleontology department, in retaliation, while Elizabeth fights to regain a modicum of control over both her husband and her crumbling self-esteem. Their adolescent daughters, wrenched by the upset of the divorce, become pawns in Nate, Elizabeth, and Lesje's ensuing struggle to redraw family and battle lines.

Atwood draws wry and witty parallels between the lives of her characters and those of the dinosaurs that Elizabeth and Lesje seek to immortalize in their museum exhibits. She reveals the strata of humor and pathos that make up modern familial and romantic love, all the while reminding us of the constant threat of imminent extinction.

Life Before Man
by Margaret Atwood

  • Publication Date: April 13, 1998
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor
  • ISBN-10: 0385491107
  • ISBN-13: 9780385491105