Tuesday, July 10, 2007
The Blind Assassin
I really enjoy reading Margaret Atwood. I looked at a list of her publications - there are many - and found that I've read 7 of her full length novels. My favorites have been The Handmaid's Tale, Alias Grace, and The Blind Assassin.
I first read The Blind Assassin in 2004. Here is part of what I wrote about it in my notebook at that time:
Exceptionally well written....really liked the Sci-Fi parts....whatever happened to "the blind assassin?"
I re-read it so that I could discuss it with my real-life book club later this month. It will be interesting to see what they think of it. We've already discussed Alias Grace and Cat's Eye. There was a mixed reaction to Alias Grace, some loved it, others were disinterested. Cat's Eye was actively disliked by everyone but myself. I think they felt that the book was pointless, since for most of it, 'nothing really happens'. Many were wary of voting for The Blind Assassin but 3 of us had already read and loved it so they were swayed.
My opinion of the book has not changed, but the experience of reading it was very different this time. I think whenever a book has some sense of mystery or suspense one tends to read carefully to pick up on those clues. Since I already knew the outcome of this novel, I was able to sit back and enjoy Atwood's writing, her fine characterization, the humor and sarcasm within the novel, the brilliant ride she takes you on.
I find it difficult to describe this book without giving anything away, but will say her technique of the book within the book is brilliantly conceived and executed. Atwood creates a great sense of place, a great sense of who these characters are to the point that you find yourself questioning their behavior that you've been presented with and thinking 'No, I don't think he/she would do/say that'.
I highly recommend this book. It is a long, absorbing, entertaining tale of a family mired in tragedy. It is not a difficult read but a thought provoking one.
If anyone would like to share their favorite Atwood books I'd love to heard about them. In addition to the ones I've mentioned, I have read The Robber Bride, Oryx and Crake, and Lady Oracle.
In other news, we've had lots of rain (and I finally watered. ahem) and I pulled 3 large zucchini out of the garden this morning which makes 5 sitting on the kitchen counter. It seems I spend a portion of every summer seeking out new recipes for this vegetable.
I've also just purchased tickets for The Sound of Music, which will be playing downtown this holiday season. It is hard to look so far ahead, but as I told my husband, in this case the early bird gets the good seats - row G, main floor.