Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth

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Anansi, 2008 - Literary Criticism - 230 pages
18 Reviews

Legendary poet, novelist, and essayist Margaret Atwood gives us a surprising look at the topic of debt -- a timely subject during our current period of economic upheaval, caused by the collapse of a system of interlocking debts. Atwood proposes that debt is like air -- something we take for granted until things go wrong.

Payback is not a book about practical debt management or high finance, although it does touch upon these subjects. Rather, it is an investigation into the idea of debt as an ancient and central motif in religion, literature, and the structure of human societies. By investigating how debt has informed our thinking from preliterate times to the present day through the stories we tell each other, through our concepts of balance, revenge, and sin, and in the way we form our social relationships, Atwood shows that the idea of what we owe one another -- in other words, debt -- is built into the human imagination and is one of its most dynamic metaphors.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jbennett - LibraryThing

I found this a very interesting view on Debt (financial and other) and man's attitude to it through the ages. Atwood explores it in the context of ancient civilizations and justice and then moves more ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - AltheaAnn - LibraryThing

Look! I read a non-fiction book! Yes, I usually read fiction books, and non-fiction in magazine or journal articles. Ironically, this non-fiction book (which I liked very much) reminded me why. Most ... Read full review


The Shadow Side

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About the author (2008)

Margaret Atwood is one of the world's preeminent writers -- winner of the Booker Prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and the Governor General's Literary Award, among many other honours. She is the bestselling author of more than thirty-five books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, including The Handmaid's Tale, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin, and Oryx and Crake. She and her spouse, writer Graeme Gibson, are the Joint Honourary Presidents of the Rare Bird Club within Birdlife International. She is an International Vice President of PEN.

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