Genre: General fiction
Publisher, Year: McClelland and Stewart, 2000
Other Works: The Year of the Flood, Alias Grace
Flags: Adult themes, Tenuous references
Rating: A or Great Read
Challenge: Book Awards III
Premise: An old woman reflects on her turbulent life and that of her ill-fated sister.
The Blind Assassin is the type of reading experience that becomes an event. Although it may seem like chaos at first, it’s actually a perfectly choreographed affair, with every moment accounted for. Atwood brilliantly weaves together several stories, which seem unrelated. It’s as if the author took an old woman’s last memoir, a science fiction book, a private journal, and a bunch of newspaper clippings and threw them up in the air, gathering them into one big mess. Then, slowly, they merge and line up in your mind, and their connections suddenly appear. Then, the jumbledness of the text emerges in sharp focus, and the mismatched accounts seem so correctly in their places.
The book begins with the unfortunate report of the death of a young author, Laura Chase. Then, an abrupt shift to a sort of stream-of-consciousness, third person view into a secret love affair--one of the pair a storyteller. The bulk of the book is told from the perspective of a woman in the twilight of her years, Iris, who feels it’s time to put her memories to paper. +/-