The Blind Assassin
2 journalers for this copy...
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.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
"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!
WILD RELEASE NOTES: