Any book published in the 60s is bound to have a few weird covers kicking around – and Atwood’s The Edible Woman is no exception. Crazy-eyed gingerbread simulacrum? Check. Oddly shaped refrigerator? Check. Curvy lady sitting in a spoon? Check, check, check.
This is one of Atwood’s earlier works, and I find it’s not as widely read – although maybe you have to be a Canadian English major to widely read Atwood in the first place. More so than her other works, Edible Woman has an acquired taste (if you can excuse the pun): notes of bitterness, strange literary exploration of eating disorders, and the crooked arc of a fitful love affair – if you could even really call it a love affair. It comes down to a question of balance: a look at the give and take relationship between two lovers, and the reflected give and take relationship between a mouth and food.
Perhaps my favourite cover is the paperback version I first picked up a few years ago, starring the woman-shaped refrigerator. The creepiness of person-as-fridge reminds me of a horror movie – how would you react if you padded downstairs at 2 a.m. for a snack only to find your fridge had a life of its own and curves to match?
The one cover I absolutely don’t understand is the laundry machine on the kindle cover, which neatly dodges most of the obvious imagery in favour of… a single Chuck Taylor sneaker? Sure.