Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 2000
Even now, at the age of 82, Iris lives in the shadow cast by her younger sister, Laura. Now poor and trying to cope with a failing body, Iris reflects on her far-from-exemplary life, in particular the events surrounding her sister's tragic death.
©2001 Margaret Atwood; ©2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.
Oh I loved this story, didn't totally understand it after the end at the first read, so downloaded the study notes and listened to it again and it made more sense. Thank goodness for Audible, I don't have time to sit and read a book. Margaret Atwood is amazing.
I am astonished that this book was published, utterly gob smacked that it won the Booker. It is badly written, has a plot as thin as a pancake, a "twist" that is hilariously predictable and a feeling of boredom that pervades both the narration of the protagonist and the mind of the reader. There are many books where there is a slight plot, but there is usually great writing that compensates for this. The Blind Assassin has neither.
A glorious book full of intrigue, secrets and the frailties of human relationships. The book was a litle difficult to get into but once the listener understands the elements of moving back and forth in time, it becomes unputdownable! At times the story seemed surreal reminding me of stories by Michael Cox another great novelist. The sister Laura is clearly much confused by her mothers untimely death which to all intents and purposes does much to shape her life during her teens and later years. Iris the main character hovers between timidness and strength in her unhappy and unfulfilled life and secretly harbours such anger against those who have become her intimate family.
The characters were well defined and believable and the story as a whole never became tedious or drawn-out.
Brilliant with a satisfactory ending!
"Overlong and depressing"
Laboured, repetitive, overlong and above all depressing. The story is told by an old woman, in the first person. She is old, ill and worn out by life. This might legitimately lead to a depressing story, but is isn't that; a sense of weariness, ineffectivness and uselessness pervades the whole story, seeping out of every pore. The characters are a worse crime- it's not that they are not likeable (which they aren't), or they they are uninteresting (which they are), but I just couldn't have cared less about them. The slings , arrows and injustices of life may have hurt, damaged and even killed the main characters, but it all left me cold.
And then there's the story within the story- a load of childish science fiction waffle.
As I say it is above all unnecessarily depressing- a sentence comes into my mind from the book which I paraphrase- 'The notices during the war said ''loose talk sinks ships''. But all ships sink eventually.' That is the tone of the book. We are born. We live. We die. Who cares?
An excellent rendition by Lorelei King who produces an impressive range of voices and tones to make both the narration and the dialogue come alive. As perhaps one would expect, this is meaty, serious, multi-level literature exploring many different concepts, moving at a stately but inexorable pace. If you like Margaret Atwood I am sure you will love this audiobook. For me, the all-pervading dark gloom seems excessive at times - smiles are rare. But the language is often superb, and hearing it read out allows full appreciation of its riches, surprises and power.
I really didn't enjoy this book. Although beautifully written I found I could not identify with the characters and I found it all really depressing, did these people never smile? I found the 'twist' was obvious and by the end of the book I really couldn't care less.
Not my cup of tea.
The best thing I can say about this book is to admire the voice of the narrator. I selected the book based on its having won the Booker Prize. It became an endurance test - would any of the characters end up achieving happiness or a conclusion to any of the personal dramas being played out? No. Not that I spotted. Two friends admitted to being unable to get past the first chapter - making me all the more determined not to give up. But I wish I had. This book may be well crafted - surely winning the Booker Prize confirms this - however as a reader I can follow the flow of the interwoven narratives, the losses, the struggles of the characters but I need to have a sense of resolution, of justice, by the end of the book. I felt that, based on the characters' doomed efforts during the course of the book, her hope that her granddaughter would somehow find the story would never happen. The book, to me, is full of unhappiness, unfulfilled lives, mistrust, deviousness, depravity and thwarted hope. If you want to enjoy a book, pick something else.
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