Margaret Atwood, "Stone Mattress"

A woman runs into the guy who ruined her life and plots to murder him.

(from The New Yorker, Dec. 19, 2011)

At the outset Verna had not intended to kill anyone. What she had in mind was a vacation, pure and simple. Take a breather, do some inner accounting, shed worn skin. The Arctic suits her: there’s something inherently calming in the vast cool sweeps of ice and rock and sea and sky, undisturbed by cities and highways and trees and the other distractions that clutter up the landscape to the south.

Among the clutter she includes other people, and by other people she means men. She’s had enough of men for a while. She’s made an inner memo to renounce flirtations and any consequences that might result from them.

I really enjoyed this simple, well-told revenge story. No twists or surprises, just a person resolving to do something and doing it, but still I was hooked. Verna isn’t a likable murderer — though her motive for preying on Bob are understandable — buts she’s admirably cool and collected under pressure. Her calculated, secret badassedness is what made follow her from page to page. You can read this story here.

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