Surfacing Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Surfacing

In Margaret Atwood's 1972 novel, a young woman returns to the remote island in Quebec where she grew up. Her father has disappeared and she brings two friends (a married couple) and her estranged boyfriend to search for him. Over the course of a week, they search for traces of him while the narrator uncovers suppressed pieces of her past. The marriage between her friends begins to erode as their supplies dwindle and American tourists invade the pristine landscape.
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The review of this Book prepared by Jennifer Martin-Romme

A nameless artist, accompanied by her lover and a married couple, returns to a small cabin in the wilderness of northeastern Quebec, where she grew up. The others look on the trip as a vacation and chance for the men to take some photos for a book they're trying to put together, but the protagonist is searching for her botanist father, who has disappeared. As the days pass, each character's individual uglinesses and weaknesses are exposed. The protagonist begins to drift in and out of reality, remembering painful episodes of her past. The novel is a meditation on love, wildness, and wounds men and women can inflict on each another; its tone is reminiscent of The Bell Jar.
The review of this Book prepared by A. J. Bell

Chapter Analysis of Surfacing

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   1960's-1970's Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   search for family/history Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Coping with loss of loved one(s)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   artist Age:    -   20's-30's Unusual characteristics:    -   Mentally ill


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   5 () The Americas (not US):    -   Yes The Americas:    -   Canada Forest?    -   Yes Water?    -   Yes Water:    -   swimming on

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Surfacing

Margaret Atwood Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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