Far from a financial self-help, in fact hardly about money at all, Atwood’s Payback looks at the concept of debt, and how various debts have been viewed culturally since the beginning of time. She looks at debts of honour, service, friendship and money. She looks at the moral issues, debts to society, and the concept of debt as a sin. And she explores the consequences of not paying a debt, and the idea of justified revenge.
I have had this book on my shelf for years. The idea of it fascinated me. But I kept passing it by in favour of whatever new and trendy novel came my way. I have said it many times – non-fiction is not my thing. It just doesn’t capture me the way a story does. This one did. Yes, I had to get past the first 0 pages or so, and let myself adjust to the pace.
The great part was – I was still reading Margaret Atwood. This was no boring academic essay. Drawing on examples from myth and literature, ranging from Eumenides to Doctor Faustus to A Christmas Carol, Atwood makes you rethink the very idea of debt. It may not have been the main objective, but she will also make you reconsider charging another pair of shoes to your credit card as well.
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: House of Anansi Press; Second Impression edition (October 7, 2008)