Atwood, Margaret The Blind Assassin

ISBN 13: 9780007154746

The Blind Assassin

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9780007154746: The Blind Assassin

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 and the novel which earned her such notoriety.

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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.


'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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