Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 2000
For the past 25 years, Margaret Atwood has written works of striking originality and imagination. In The Blind Assassin, she stretches the limits of her accomplishment as never before, creating a novel that is both entertaining and profoundly serious.
The novel opens with these simple resonant words: "Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge." They are spoken by Iris, whose terse account of her sister's death in 1945 is followed by an inquest report proclaiming the death accidental. But just as you expect 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 you 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 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, you will discover that the story Atwood is telling is not only what it seems to be - but is, in fact, much more.
Cover Photograph: Courtesy of © The Advertising Archive, London; ©2000 by O.W. Toad, Ltd.; (P)Random House, Inc. Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House, Inc.
Book Sense Book of the Year Award Finalist, Adult Fiction, 2001
"Listeners will find themselves piecing together the clues, guessing at truths, but the rewards are to be found in the layering of details and the skill of the storytelling." (AudioFile)
I found this book another good example of the author's ability to keep you interested in her writing. After listening to the Handmaiden I began reading as many of her books as possible and found the author to be a wonderful writer. Unlike Danielle Steele I have yet to tire of her.
I tried so hard to enjoy this piece. It was too long, too drawn out. You got to the point where you didn't care about the characters or their secrets.
I finally said, "That's it"! I moved on to "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
Atwood can write well. In this case, the contrivence of her task becomes a burden that her skill only makes tolerable.
I trudged through it, hoping that it would turn towards something much more, but in the end, the best compliment that I can give, is it stayed within its bounds - as tiresome as they were.
I would rather read Proust then Austin here.
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