This is a first novel of genuine style applied to the most ordinary circumstances. . . disconcerting, faintly ominous, and moving with the greatest of ease from the expected to the unexpected. Marian, who works in market research and whom most people consider "abnormally normal," is about to marry Peter who is unquestionably attractive but just too appropriate. As contrasted with her scatty roommate Ainsley who decides to have a deliberately fatherless baby; or another friend trapped into producing one infant after another; or Duncan, an eclectic-to-eccentric student she meets, almost providentially at times, who is a habitue of laundromats and indulger of fantasies. Her upcoming marriage seems to synchronize with her encroaching revulsion, toward foods--first meats and eggs progressing to the humble carrot as recurring images fuse (ingestion/gestation/death) and finally cause her complete funk into flight. . . . Miss Atwood's talent is her own, although you might use Penelope Mortimer as a rough designation. For its intelligence gentled by sympathy, its eye for telltale detail, and its humor which ranges from wit to some waywardly funny scenes--a distinct pleasure to read.