In 1983, Canadian author Margaret Atwood published a collection of short stories called Murder in the Dark. One of the more popular stories within the anthology was Happy Endings, which itself consists of six smaller stories, identified by the letters A to F, each giving a nutshell account of each of the characters' lives. The story ends with a murder . The stories interconnect but require that the reader remembers which character was represented by each letter, because characters appear in tales A to F and the plots of each are inter-connecting. Two characters, John and Mary, die at the end of the story and are both introduced in story A, making them the protagonists of the tale.
As in most of Atwood's work, the story's themes include society's interpretation of domesticity and men's abuse of their power.
Since 1961, Atwood has published eighteen novels, eighteen poetry books and nine collections of her short fiction, as well as many other works. In 2000, Atwood won the Booker Prize for her tenth novel, The Blind Assassin, and followed this up with Oryx and Crake. Although the book, the first in a trilogy, was considered to be science fiction, Atwood herself thought it to be speculative fiction because she believed it was more a springboard for discussion about the future and the direction in which the world was going rather than a glimpse at a futuristic world. Currently, Atwood remains most famous for her novel The Handmaid's Tale, which was adapted for a television drama series starring Elizabeth Moss.
After the success of her dystopian Handmaid's Tale, Atwood's earlier work experienced a resurgence, and Happy Endings was appreciated anew, winning a nomination for the Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize in 2018.