Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin
By Margaret Atwood
Anchor Books, 2000. 524 pgs. Fiction

If you enjoy stories within stories, MAYBE this book is for you. Iris's sister drives a car off a bridge in 1945. Richard Griffen, Iris's husband, is found dead in a sailboat in 1947. The two stories are retold in recollection style by elderly Iris Chase Griffens. Interspersed throughout the book Margaret Atwood has written a science fiction story complete with aliens on a foreign planet. This sci-fi story is called "The Blind Assassin". While the book does capture the spirit of the 40's with McCarthyism in full bloom, the struggle of the business community during the depression and all the sadness of an arranged marriage, I found the plots boring and confusing. Years jumped all over the place. Unless the date on a newspaper clipping was stated, I often couldn't tell when the event was happening. Throw in the sci-fi plot and it was just too strange for me.

I listened to the Random House audio edition with reader Margot Dionne, who was wonderful. The only reason I finished this book was to hear the magnificent metaphors. I loved listening to the sound of Atwood's words. There is a fair amount of sex and language throughout the book. I would have a hard time recommending "The Blind Assassin" to anyone but the most serious literary connoisseur.


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