‘Orphan Stories’ by Margaret Atwood

How swiftly the orphans set sail! No sooner does the starting gun fire than they’re flying! Their yachts are slimmer, their lines trimmer than ours – than our stodgy barges.

Like all the pieces in The Tent, ’Orphan Stories’ is somewhere between an essay and a story, possibly a prose poem, or perhaps a journal note or sketch made up of  broad, confident sentences. If you read or write a lot, or think about words a lot, you can sometimes feel bogged down. Every time I go back to it, this story feels like throwing open the doors and windows in a musty room. Read it! Let the air in!

From The Tent, Bloomsbury, 2006

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