The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
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The Blind Assassin is a tale of two sisters, one of whom dies under ambiguous circumstances in the opening pages. The survivor, Iris Chase Griffen, initially seems a little cold-blooded about this death in the family. But as Margaret Atwood`s most ambitious work unfolds--a tricky process, in fact, with several nested narratives and even an entire novel-within-a-novel--we`re reminded of just how complicated the familial game of hide-and-seek can be:
What had she been thinking of as the car sailed off the bridge, then hung suspended in the afternoon sunlight, glinting like a dragonfly, for that one instant of held breath before the plummet? Of Alex, of Richard, of bad faith, of our father and his wreckage; of God, perhaps, and her fatal, triangular bargain.Meanwhile, Atwood immediately launches into an excerpt from Laura Chase`s novel, The Blind Assassin, posthumously published in 1947. In this double-decker concoction, a wealthy woman dabbles in blue-collar passion, even as her lover regales her with a series of science-fictional parables. Complicated? You bet. But the author puts all this variegation to good use, taking expert measure of our capacity for self-delusion and complicity, not to mention desolation. Almost everybody in her sprawling narrative manages to--or prefers to--overlook what`s in plain sight. And memory isn`t much of a salve either, as Iris points out: "Nothing is more difficult than to understand the dead, I`ve found; but nothing is more dangerous than to ignore them." Yet Atwood never succumbs to postmodern cynicism, or modish contempt for her characters. On the contrary, she`s capable of great tenderness, and as we immerse ourselves in Iris`s spliced-in memoir, it`s clear that this buttoned-up socialite has been anything but blind to the chaos surrounding her. --Darya SilverMargaret Atwood takes the art of storytelling to new heights in a dazzling new novel that unfolds layer by astonishing layer and concludes in a brilliant and wonderfully satisfying twist.
For the past twenty-five years, Margaret Atwood has written works of striking originality and imagination. In The Blind Assassin, she stretches the limits of her accomplishments as never before, creating a novel that is entertaining and profoundly serious.
The novel opens with these simple, resonant words: "Ten days after the war ended, my sister drove a car off the bridge." They are spoken by Iris, whose terse account of her sister Laura`s death in 1945 is followed by an inquest report proclaiming the death accidental. But just as the reader expects to settle into Laura`s story, Atwood introduces a novel-within-a- novel. Entitled The Blind Assassin, it is a science fiction story told by two unnamed lovers who meet in dingy backstreet rooms. When we return to Iris, it is through a 1947 newspaper article announcing the discovery of a sailboat carrying the dead body of her husband, a distinguished industrialist.
Told in a style that magnificently captures the colloquialisms and clichés of the 1930s and 1940s, The Blind Assassin is a richly layered and uniquely rewarding experience. The novel has many threads and a series of events that follow one another at a breathtaking pace. As everything comes together, readers will discover that the story Atwood is telling is not only what it seems to be--but, in fact, much more.
The Blind Assassin proves once again that Atwood is one of the most talented, daring, and exciting writers of our time. Like The Handmaid`s Tale, it is destined to become a classic."Told in a style that magnificently captures the colloquialisms and cliches of the 1930s and 1940s, The Blind Assassin is a richly layered and uniquely rewarding e xperience Opening with a terse account of her sister Laura`s death in 1945, it is followed by an inquest report proclaiming the death accidental. But just as the reader expects to settle into Laura`s story, Atwood introduces a novel-within-a- novel, a science fiction story told by two unnamed lovers who meet in dingy backstreet rooms. With many threads and a series of events that follow one another at a breathtaking pace, everything comes together and readers discover that the story Atwood is telling is not only what it seems to be--but, in fact, much more."