The Blind Assassin.
I’m a big Margaret Atwood fan; I’ve counted The Robber Bride among my favorite books for quite some time. I also quite enjoyed Cat’s Eye, but not The Handmaid’s Tale, though I’m thinking I should give it a second chance. Kat’s been nudging me for some time to read The Blind Assassin, so I picked it up from the library. Though really, she’s got a copy to mail to me and I should have waited for it since you can not furiously underline and add marginalia to library books; I had to write down all of the passages that resonated with me and relevant comments in my journal, which meant that I was writing down about half the book. So, reading this took a lot longer than it usually takes me to devour a book even though I had some serious “Staying up too late because I can’t put book down” issues.
Atwood’s prose is nothing short of astounding and the novel and the novel-within-the-novel are woven together seamlessly. My only complaint is that the character Winifred’s malicious doings are hinted at extensively, but few concrete examples are given. The book is written “for” the protagonist (Iris)’s grand-daughter and mentions are made of what her grand-daughter “must think of [her]” given what Winifred has doubtlessly told her… so… what has Winifred told her, exactly? I would have liked more details in this area as the whole thing was extremely hazy. Winifred is invoked over and over again, but nothing substantial ever comes of it.
The big reveal at the end though, was totally stunning. I saw it coming for a while, but the way it was pulled off was flawless. Not many authors can handle a “twist” that well, and Atwood really knew her audience well enough to know how to lead us forward gently, little bits at a time, before showing us the cliff that we were about to dive off of (so to speak). Amazing stuff.
Now I want to read more Atwood, which I will doubtlessly do soon. The Infinite Summer project kicks off soon, but at a pace of a mere 75 pages per week, I should be able to gnaw on some other books on the side. And/or finish early and spend the rest of the summer reading other things. We’ll see.