Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood: The Freeze-Dried Groom

Stone Mattress

We catch Sam, the protagonist of The Freeze-Dried Groom on a bad day. His wife, Gwyneth has just asked for a divorce, before he even had time for his morning coffee. Sam, who has been given second chances by his wife before, knows this time it is for real, that there is no point in sticking around trying to make Gwyneth change her mind. And it is not like he did not see it coming, things have not been going well for a time. But still, it stings that she beat him to it! And it stings even more to be deprived of a dramatic exit when his Audi decides not to start that morning!

Talk about a definitive exit spoiled. He doesn’t even get to roar off around the corner, va-voom and good riddance, the sailor hitting the high seas, and who needs the ladies dragging you down like cement blocks tied to your ankles? A wave of the hand and away he’d go, cruising to ever-new adventures.

After the whole car debacle, finally he gets to work to meet his partner, Ned. The duo sell antique furniture. Sam is responsible for finding furniture from storage-unit auctions (people usually do not go into trouble to store items that are worthless, so storage-unit auctions are perfect for these treasure hunts!) for Ned to do ‘enhancements’. On this day Sam bids on five units and wins four, and one of the units contains the most bizarre ‘objects’! I will not spoil the story for you by revealing the contents, but it gave me the creeps!

The Freeze-Dried Groom is the fifth short story in this collection, and this one is definitely ‘wicked’! However, Atwood’s fun way of writing makes the reading experience entirely different from watching a horror movie! (Thank god for that, I hate horror movies!) 😀

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