‘Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge.’ Thus begins The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood’s new novel. Laura Chase’s older sister Iris, married at eighteen to a politically prominent industrialist but now poor and eighty-two, is living in Port Ticonderoga, a town dominated by their once-prosperous family before the First War. While bewailing her unreliable body and deriding those who try to help her, Iris reflects on her far from exemplary life and her perilous times, but in particular on the events surrounding her sister’s tragic early death. Chief among these was the publication of The Blind Assassin, a novel which earned the dead Laura Chase a dollop of notoriety as well as a cult following: as Iris says, she herself lives ‘in the long shadow cast by Laura’. Sexually explicit for its time and place, The Blind Assassin describes a risky affair in the turbulent thirties between a wealthy young woman and a left-leaning man on the run.
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"It's loss and regret and misery and yearning that drive the story forward", writes Margaret Atwood, towards the end of her impressive and complex new novel, The Blind Assassin. It's a melancholic account of why writers write--and readers read--and one that frames the different lives told through this book. The Blind Assassin is (at least) two novels. At the end of her life, Iris Griffen takes up her pen to record the secret history of her family, the romantic melodrama of its decline and fall between the two world wars. Conjuring a world of prosperity and misery, marriage and loneliness, the central enigma of Iris's tale is the death of her sister, Laura Chase, who "drove a car off a bridge" at the end of the Second World War. Suicide or accident? The story gradually unfolds, interspersed with sketches of Iris's present-day life--confined by age and ill-health--and a second novel, The Blind Assassin by Laura Chase. Allowing a glimpse into a clandestine love affair between a privileged young woman and a radical "agitator" on the run, this version of The Blind Assassin is an overt act of seduction: the exchange of sex and story about an imaginary world of Sakiel-Norn (a play with the potential, and convention, of fantasy and sci-fi).
With the intelligence, subtlety and remarkable characterisation associated with Atwood's writing (from her first novel, The Edible Woman through to the best-selling Alias Grace), these two stories play with one another--sustaining an uncertainty about who has done what to whom and why to the very end of this compelling book. --Vicky Lebeau This review refers to the hardcover edition of this title.Review:
'Absorbing ... expertly rendered ... Virtuosic storytelling [is] on display.' (The New York Times)
'Brilliant ... Opulent ... Atwood is a poet ... as well as a contriver of fiction, and scarcely a sentence of her quick, dry yet avid prose fails to do useful work, adding to a picture that becomes enormous.' (The New Yorker)
'Margaret Atwood is one of the most brilliant and unpredictable novelists alive.' (Literary Review)
'Atwood has never written with more flair and versatility than in this multidimensional novel. Adding sardonic wit and characterisation that takes you into the ambivalent intricacies of a personality, this is a novel of extraordinary variety and reach. A brilliant accomplishment.' (The Sunday Times)
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Book Description HarperCollins, 2000. Audio Cassette. Book Condition: Good. Audio book. Damaged case. Good condition is defined as: a copy that has been read but remains in clean condition. All of the pages are intact and the cover is intact and the spine may show signs of wear. The book may have minor markings which are not specifically mentioned. Most items will be dispatched the same or the next working day. Bookseller Inventory # mon0006195471
Book Description HarperCollins. Audio Cassette. Book Condition: Fair. Bookseller Inventory # TT01318657B
Book Description HarperCollins. Audio Cassette. Book Condition: Fair. Bookseller Inventory # PL01377718B