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The Blind Assassin | [Margaret Atwood]

The Blind Assassin

With The Blind Assassin, Atwood proves once again that she is one of the most talented, daring, and exciting writers of the time. Like The Handmaid's Tale, this Book Prize-winner is destined to become a classic.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (798 )
5 star
 (262)
4 star
 (227)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (77)
Overall
3.9 (247 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
3.8 (249 )
5 star
 (97)
4 star
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3 star
 (44)
2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Sarah Columbia, MD, USA 10-08-03
    Sarah Columbia, MD, USA 10-08-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    "The Best!"

    I downloaded this book after listening to Oryx and Crake and I have to admit that from the teaser, I too was expecting more of a Sci Fi story. However, what I ended up with was something much richer. To call the novel a romance would not give it its full character. More simply, the book is a fascinating tale of one woman's life spanning from WWI through modern times. As with Oryx and Crake, the characters have great depth and personality and the plot takes a perrilous and often unexpected course. Atwood's background as a poet also shines through in the rich language of the book. After listening to The Blind Assasin, I am planning to get my hands on every one of Margaret Atwood's books!

    23 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Whitney Olathe, KS, USA 04-27-09
    Whitney Olathe, KS, USA 04-27-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    42
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Good book, TERRIBLE audio!"

    Inconsistencies in volume, a terribly annoying high-pitched whining pulse that comes in and out, a muffled sound like the actor was too far from the mic, and more. Plus, terrible cuts in and out from chapters. No pausing, sometimes, just words spilling over from one section to the next. TERRIBLE! I never write reviews, but the quality of this recording is SO bad that I felt I owed it to other interested consumers to warn them. Please, read the book in print. Do NOT waste your money or credits on this audio.

    42 of 43 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. Sierra Seattle, WA USA 04-12-10
    G. Sierra Seattle, WA USA 04-12-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    31
    1
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Terrible audio quality"

    As others have pointed out, the audio quality of this audiobook is abysmal. I am a frequent Audible listener, and download only the highest quality 'enhanced' format. But this particular book sounds hissy. Whenever the (excellent) reader speaks, there is a lot hum & hiss in the background. When the reader pauses, the hiss goes away. If the hiss were *always* there it would just sound low quality and tinsy. But because the hiss comes & goes, it is incredibly distracting.

    I had to put this book down without finishing it and will be contacting Audible for a refund.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Princeton, NJ, USA 06-15-09
    Charles Princeton, NJ, USA 06-15-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    42
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    36
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    "Sound Quality makes This one a Non-starter"

    I agree with the preceding complaints about sound quality. The story may have been great, but I just could not bear to listen to the hours of annoying static.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brett Eureka, US, Canada 10-24-09
    brett Eureka, US, Canada 10-24-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    100
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    253
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    "Audio engineer ought to be ashamed"

    I have listened to over 100 audio book productions and this book is by far the very worst engineering I've had the misfortune of hearing. It is not, in fact, the narrator who's to blame, though similar reviews may lead one to this conclusion. These listeners apperantly wouldn't know any better. It is the engineer whose to blame. Overuse of compression and a failure to employ a deesser makes this work virtually unlistenable. A deesser deemphasizes the "s" sound of the human voice and smooths out the harsh and raspy sound that consonant makes through a microphone. Unless the listener is capable of employing severe equalization, i recommend to stay away from this production no matter how much you love Attwood. She's one of my favorite contemporary authors and as much as I would like to finish this book I cannot listen to another second. I purchased the novel and have opted to read it, instead, in peace and quiet as opposed to listening to static and insufferable, piercing, incessant "s" sounds. I'm truly stunned that this audio was released as it was. Random house needs to reengineer this work. I'm sorry Margaret, someone really did you wrong with this one.

    47 of 49 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rupa Cloverdale, CA, USA 01-25-09
    Rupa Cloverdale, CA, USA 01-25-09 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    32
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    "audio quality made it unbearable"

    GREAT story, but sadly the quality of audio combined with the narrater's raspy whispery voice made this impossible to listen to in my car. I had to be in a very quiet room with no distractions, paying very close attention or I would not understand what she was saying. I gave up after about an hour. I hope they can rectify this because it is really a wonderful story (I have read the book before).

    22 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew Nashville, TN, USA 06-06-07
    Matthew Nashville, TN, USA 06-06-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    39
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Engaging, insightful read!"

    An unhurried, even languid, yet cogent and challenging exploration of age, youth, love, loss, cowardice, and social mores in the first half of the 20th century. A melodrama, a tragedy in the vein of Greek tragedy, Shakespearean tragedy and Dickensian tragedy. Not at all a Sci-Fi work. Presented in a complex modern style (which, of itself, is not necessarily groundbreaking), Atwood's perspicacious prose conveys truth less as through a true-color photograph than as through a "tinted" (colorized) black and white snapshot---the focus of the snapshot suffused with color, at times even florid or false color, while the background just enough tinted to convey context. Margot Dionne's crisp, clean narration is spectacular as the voice of Iris, one spent by life, love, and regret, as she completes this one last task: setting down the truth.

    Good novel (4), Excellent narration (5), good audio quality (4) => overall good (4)

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deanne Portland, OR 11-12-03
    Deanne Portland, OR 11-12-03 Member Since 2003

    Deanne

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    2
    2
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "What a complex book!"

    I found this book to be complex (in a good way), with beautiful language. At first I was so engrossed by the different plots interwoven together that I didn't notice that overall the book is about a family tragedy. Wondering "which one is it!?" kept me going for a long time.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael J. Bullock Neptune Beach, FL USA 07-30-03
    Michael J. Bullock Neptune Beach, FL USA 07-30-03 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Golden Marble In a Silver Basin"

    This is a truly magnificent work. The underlying story is not original. It is a rendition of the classic theme of ill-fated love. I do not offer this as criticism. Atwood's retelling, dressed in rich and graceful languange, deserves a place next to many great renditions that precede it- Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, Roy's The God of Small Things, Nabakov's Ada or Ardor a Family Chronicle, Romeo and Juliet. I really enjoyed this book. The story is brilliantly told, and Atwood uses some unique literary devices to great effect. Sure, this is a love story, but it is so much more as well! Between the covers you will find powerful emotions of every shade. The interplay is poignant. Simply marvelous.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ilana Los Altos, CA, USA 07-07-04
    Ilana Los Altos, CA, USA 07-07-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
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    0
    0
    Overall
    "the reading assassin"

    The writing of this book is a work of art. I loved the imagination so well intertwined with wisdom. The reading however was mechanically grave to the point hysteria. I felt that the reading was so grave and rageful that it presented the main character, Iris, as perpetual victim. Yet no victim will go to the trouble of writing a book, as Iris does, with the long shot hope of being heard by someone lost.
    Though i love audio books i reccomend reading this one.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 65 results PREVIOUS127NEXT
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  • Flaminia
    Rome, Italy
    8/28/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting Novel - very bad audio quality"

    I really liked this book so I'm sorry to write this relatively bad review but the audio quality was so poor! The narrator is very good but the background sound is terribly loud. I really advise reading the book but, unless audible change the recording, I would definitely not recommend buying it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Burcin
    Hellerup, Denmark
    10/7/10
    Overall
    "Good listen probably"

    I was fascinated to pick up this book based on author's fame and other readers' reviews in general. The plot is very complex and I find it very difficult to follow by listening. I wish I bought the paper book and read it, so that I could go back and make sure I got it all. Anyways, it requires great deal of attention to follow. But the story is very good and captivating. Also, I must say the reader of the audio has done a good job.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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