The Blind Assassin

by Margaret Atwood | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 038572084x Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingNakipawing of Lisboa - City, Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on 9/7/2012
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingNakipawing from Lisboa - City, Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Friday, September 07, 2012

Laura Chase's older sister Iris, married at eighteen to a politically prominent industrialist but now poor and eighty-two, is living in Port Ticonderoga, a town dominated by their once-prosperous family before the First War. While coping with her unreliable body, Iris reflects on her far from exemplary life, in particular the events surrounding her sister's tragic death. Chief among these was the publication of The Blind Assassin, a novel which earned the dead Laura Chase not only notoriety but also a devoted cult following. Sexually explicit for its time, The Blind Assassin describes a risky affair in the turbulent thirties between a wealthy young woman and a man on the run. During their secret meetings in rented rooms, the lovers concoct a pulp fantasy set on Planet Zycron. As the invented story twists through love and sacrifice and betrayal, so does the real one; while events in both move closer to war and catastrophe. By turns lyrical, outrageous, formidable, compelling and funny, this is a novel filled with deep humour and dark drama.

Journal Entry 2 by wingNakipawing at Lisboa - City, Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Thursday, December 27, 2012
A beautifully written book, and the storyline is intriguing and gripping from the first page. I thought the last part of the Blind Assassin story a bit boring but it doesn't ruin the effect of the book at all. I want more!

Journal Entry 3 by wingNakipawing at Lisboa - City, Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Thursday, December 27, 2012

Released 6 yrs ago (12/27/2012 UTC) at Lisboa - City, Lisboa (cidade) Portugal


This book will start a long journey to Nepal, as part of the Wishlist Tag Game. I really hope you enjoy. :D

Journal Entry 4 by lils74 at Kathmandu, Bagmati (incl. Kathmandu Valley) Nepal on Saturday, January 26, 2013
This book arrived safely yesterday -- thank you so much, Nakipa. I've enjoyed the three other books I've read by Margaret Atwood (or is it four I've read?) and I'm looking forward to this one, too! I'll let you know my thoughts after I've read it.

Journal Entry 5 by lils74 at Kathmandu, Bagmati (incl. Kathmandu Valley) Nepal on Tuesday, April 30, 2013
I finished this book this week; it was slow reading at first, until sometime after page 200, when suddenly the story really sucked me in. The first 200 pages weren't bad, just very slow, with a lot of description that I just didn't find very interesting. However I wasn't willing to give up on it as I've really enjoyed the Margaret Atwood I've read before, and also the Booker prize winners I've read before. Having finished it, though, I would say that this may be the least favourite in both those categories (her writing, Booker winners) that I've read to date. That's not to say I didn't like it. It's impossible not to like writing like the following:

"Salad days. Days without names, witless afternoons, quick and profane and quickly over, and no longing in advance or after, and no words required, and nothing to pay. Before he got mixed up in things that got mixed up." (p258)

"Touch comes before sight, before speech" It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth.
This is how the girl who couldn’t speak and the man who couldn’t see fell in love." (p 262)

I liked the book, but somehow, I think I expected it to be more. I think that is what I am trying to say; not more in the quality of writing, as I say, the book is beautifully written, Atwood is a great writer. But somehow more conclusion, more resolution? But maybe that is the point, the facts are just laid out for you, and you can conclude what you want. It's a book I'll have to think about more. As I write this I wonder whether the lack of remorse, judgement, explanation, was what was intended. You want to shake Iris, make her notice things, but as she points out, the herself of the past is not her current self, she didn't have the insight she has now. I guess she was naive.

I found the following passage a small, sad heartbreak.

"Perhaps this is what happened to Laura--pushed her quite literally over the edge. The words she had relied on, building her house of cards on them, believing them solid, had flipped over and shown her their hollow centres, and then skittered away from her like so much waste paper.
God. Trust. Sacrifice. Justice.
Faith. Hope. Love.
Not to mention sister. Well, yes. There's always that." (p 505)

It is part of the author's genius to put so much feeling into such few words, the last line particularly, without explanation. (Now I'm contradicting myself, aren't I?) It's such a sad book. but I am very glad I read it.
On a different topic, I learned a lot about Canada in the time between the wars, a period in its history that I had not been aware of.
Thank you, Nakipa, for sending this book so far!

Journal Entry 6 by lils74 at Bloc 11 Cafe in Somerville, Massachusetts USA on Monday, December 09, 2013

Released 5 yrs ago (12/8/2013 UTC) at Bloc 11 Cafe in Somerville, Massachusetts USA


I'm on a brief visit to the US and my sister and we sat in this interesting coffee shop for some time this morning. It apparently used to be a bank--there are two large vaults at the back of the place. I left it inside the one with benches, but I imagine if it's not still there it will be on their bookswap shelf around the corner,which I saw later.

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