House of Anansi Press


Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth CBC Massey Lectures

Written by Margaret Atwood

Published March 15, 2007 | ISBN 9780887848728
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economic History

Cover of Payback

Regular price $16.95 CAD

240 pages
Digital Format

Also Available in Print

About this book


Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth

Margaret Atwood

CBC Massey Lectures

Legendary poet, novelist, and essayist Margaret Atwood gives us a surprising look at the topic of debt -- a timely subject during our current period of economic upheaval, caused by the collapse of a system of interlocking debts. Atwood proposes that debt is like air -- something we take for granted until things go wrong.

Payback is not a book about practical debt management or high finance, although it does touch upon these subjects. Rather, it is an investigation into the idea of debt as an ancient and central motif in religion, literature, and the structure of human societies. By investigating how debt has informed our thinking from preliterate times to the present day through the stories we tell each other, through our concepts of balance, revenge, and sin, and in the way we form our social relationships, Atwood shows that the idea of what we owe one another -- in other words, debt -- is built into the human imagination and is one of its most dynamic metaphors.

About the Author

Margaret Atwood

MARGARET ATWOOD is the author of more than forty-five books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. Her most recent books include Hag-Seed, a novel revisitation of Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, and Angel Catbird — featuring a cat-bird superhero — a graphic novel with co-creator Johnnie Christmas. She is a two-time winner of the Governor General’s Award, has won the Man Booker Award, and was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame. Recently, her novel The Handmaid’s Tale was adapted for television to international acclaim, and Alias Grace was made into a CBC mini-series by director and actor Sarah Polley. Margaret Atwood lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.

Awards and Praise
"Ms. Atwood is a witty and astute writer of broad sympathy and wide-ranging curiosity, and the prose of the book, at once commonsensical and counterintuitive, bristles with insight and implication."
  • Runner-up Axiom Business Book Awards - Business Ethics, 2008
  • Short-listed OLA Evergreen Award (Forest of Reading), 2008
  • Commended Globe and Mail Top 100 Best Books of the Year, 2008
  • Short-listed National Business Book Award, 2009