Monday, April 27, 2009

Review: The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwodd

Book: The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

Genre: Literary Fiction (a bit of history and SF thrown in too)

Rating: A

For: Awards Challenge (Booker Prize 2000)

This one of those books that has three different stories within the one book. First, there's our heroine, Iris, in the present. She's an old lady, dealing with the inconveniences of being old, looking back on her life, and trying to get it all written down before it's too late. This part is written in the first person, present tense.

Then, there's the story she's actually writing down, her past life. It starts with the building up of her grandpa's button business in Canada, her parents getting together, her birth, her sister's birth, all the stuff that happens in between and ends when her life all fell apart many years later. We get glimpses of her life during WWI, the Depression, and WWII. This part is told in first person, past tense.

The third part of the story is actually a book that Iris has and is sharing with us (you'll get the details about that as you go) and this book is called The Blind Assassin. It's about a pair of lovers, meeting discreetly, as often as they can. During their meetings, the guy tells the girl this strange, but oddly riveting, science fiction story. This section is told in third person present tense.

Interspersed in between the sections are several news articles and a few letters, depicting these events.

I totally enjoyed the whole thing. All the different sections held my attention. There were a couple of plot twists that threw me for a loop, which is always fun. The writing style is very poetic and descriptive, but not in an over-the-top way. Basically, it's one of those soap opera-ish stories that I love to get all involved in.

It was a sad and depressing story though. I'm ready for and uplifting and happy one now!

Other Reviews:

Farmlane Books

1 More Chapter

Caribou's Mom

Trish's Reading Nook

(Sheesh, I just realized the Awards Challenge ends soon. I thought I had until the end of the summer! Oh, well.)


  1. Ah, I loved this one too. Just the kind of book I love to sink my teeth into. I don't know why but a lot of my favourite books are the sad and depressing ones.

  2. Atwood is just such a brilliant writer, isn't she? Thanks for the link to my review :)

  3. Thank you for linking to my review!

    I'm afraid I wasn't a big fan of this book. It was OK, but nothing special.

    I didn't like the book within a book thing, although that may be because I'm not a big fan of science fiction.

    I'm pleased you enjoyed it though.

  4. I have not yet read anything by Atwood, but my husband really enjoyed this one and thinks I will too. From what you've written, it does sound like I will too.

  5. I really enjoyed this book, and the cover is one of my all-time favorites!

  6. The is on my TBR Shelf and I really want to read it (along with a million other books). It's wonderful to see another positive review. Thanks, it's encouraging. :)

  7. Nicola: Many of my favorites are sad and depressing too, but I do love a good happy ending though.

    Wendy: I've read three Atwood books now. Two I really liked, one was just too wierd.

    Farmlane: I enjoyed that science fiction story within this book! But it was pretty graphic and creepy.

    Literary Feline: I'll be watching to see if you end up reading it soon!

    Bybee: I pondered the cover quite a bit and I THINK I know what it's referring to. Is it her sister?

    Thoughts of Joy: Ah, the ever present TBR pile! Hopefully you'll get to it soon.

  8. Why have I not read this? I've wanted to ever since it was released and I still haven't gotten round to finding a copy. (Of course, there's a lot of books I could say that about!)

  9. Which was the one you thought was weird? Just curious :) I haven't read all her books, so I am really interested in what people think!

  10. Everytime I see a review of this book I feel like I should read it soon. But it never happens, I feel guilty but not enough!

  11. I was going to read this one but I didn't know much about it! Sounds very interesting, so now I'm intrigued.

  12. Glad you enjoyed this, I love books that combine different stories in one main storyline. Thanks for the wonderful review.



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