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The Blind Assassin: A Novel [Format Kindle]

Margaret Atwood
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (3 commentaires client)

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The Blind Assassin is a tale of two sisters, one of whom dies under ambiguous circumstances in the opening pages. The survivor, Iris Chase Griffen, initially seems a little cold-blooded about this death in the family. But as Margaret Atwood's most ambitious work unfolds--a tricky process, in fact, with several nested narratives and even an entire novel-within-a-novel--we're reminded of just how complicated the familial game of hide-and-seek can be:
What had she been thinking of as the car sailed off the bridge, then hung suspended in the afternoon sunlight, glinting like a dragonfly, for that one instant of held breath before the plummet? Of Alex, of Richard, of bad faith, of our father and his wreckage; of God, perhaps, and her fatal, triangular bargain.
Meanwhile, Atwood immediately launches into an excerpt from Laura Chase's novel, The Blind Assassin, posthumously published in 1947. In this double-decker concoction, a wealthy woman dabbles in blue-collar passion, even as her lover regales her with a series of science-fictional parables. Complicated? You bet. But the author puts all this variegation to good use, taking expert measure of our capacity for self-delusion and complicity, not to mention desolation. Almost everybody in her sprawling narrative manages to--or prefers to--overlook what's in plain sight. And memory isn't much of a salve either, as Iris points out: "Nothing is more difficult than to understand the dead, I've found; but nothing is more dangerous than to ignore them." Yet Atwood never succumbs to postmodern cynicism, or modish contempt for her characters. On the contrary, she's capable of great tenderness, and as we immerse ourselves in Iris's spliced-in memoir, it's clear that this buttoned-up socialite has been anything but blind to the chaos surrounding her. --Darya Silver


The Blind Assassin: The hard-boiled egg

What will it be, then? he says. Dinner jackets and romance, or shipwrecks on a barren coast? You can have your pick: jungles, tropical islands, mountains. Or another dimension of space--that's what I'm best at.

Another dimension of space? Oh really!

Don't scoff, it's a useful address. Anything you like can happen there. Spaceships and skin-tight uniforms, ray guns, Martians with the bodies of giant squids, that sort of thing.

You choose, she says. You're the professional. How about a desert? I've always wanted to visit one. With an oasis, of course. Some date palms might be nice. She's tearing the crust off her sandwich. She doesn't like the crusts.

Not much scope, with deserts. Not many features, unless you add some tombs. Then you could have a pack of nude women who've been dead for three thousand years, with lithe, curvaceous figures, ruby-red lips, azure hair in a foam of tumbled curls, and eyes like snake-filled pits. But I don't think I could fob those off on you. Lurid isn't your style.

You never know. I might like them.

I doubt it. They're for the huddled masses. Popular on the covers though--they'll writhe all over a fellow, they have to be beaten off with rifle butts.

Could I have another dimension of space, and also the tombs and the dead women, please?

That's a tall order, but I'll see what I can do. I could throw in some sacrificial virgins as well, with metal breastplates and silver ankle chains and diaphanous vestments. And a pack of ravening wolves, extra.

I can see you'll stop at nothing.

You want the dinner jackets instead? Cruise ships, white linen, wrist-kissing and hypocritical slop?

No. All right. Do what you think is best.


She shakes her head for no. He lights his own, striking the match on his thumbnail.

You'll set fire to yourself, she says.

I never have yet.

She looks at his rolled-up shirt sleeve, white or a pale blue, then his wrist, the browner skin of his hand. He throws out radiance, it must be reflected sun. Why isn't everyone staring? Still, he's too noticeable to be out here--out in the open. There are other people around, sitting on the grass or lying on it, propped on one elbow--other picnickers, in their pale summer clothing. It's all very proper. Nevertheless she feels that the two of them are alone; as if the apple tree they're sitting under is not a tree but a tent; as if there's a line drawn around them with chalk. Inside this line, they're invisible.

Space it is, then, he says. With tombs and virgins and wolves--but on the instalment plan. Agreed?

The instalment plan?

You know, like furniture.

She laughs.

No, I'm serious. You can't skimp, it might take days. We'll have to meet again.

She hesitates. All right, she says. If I can. If I can arrange it.

Good, he says. Now I have to think. He keeps his voice casual. Too much urgency might put her off.

On the Planet of--let's see. Not Saturn, it's too close. On the Planet Zycron, located in another dimension of space, there's a rubble-strewn plain. To the north is the ocean, which is violet in colour. To the west is a range of mountains, said to be roamed after sunset by the voracious undead female inhabitants of the crumbling tombs located there. You see, I've put the tombs in right off the bat.

That's very conscientious of you, she says.

I stick to my bargains. To the south is a burning waste of sand, and to the east are several steep valleys that might once have been rivers.

I suppose there are canals, like Mars?

Oh, canals, and all sorts of things. Abundant traces of an ancient and once highly developed civilization, though this region is now only sparsely inhabited by roaming bands of primitive nomads. In the middle of the plain is a large mound of stones. The land around is arid, with a few scrubby bushes. Not exactly a desert, but close enough. Is there a cheese sandwich left?

She rummages in the paper bag. No, she says, but there's a hard-boiled egg. She's never been this happy before. Everything is fresh again, still to be enacted.

Just what the doctor ordered, he says. A bottle of lemonade, a hard-boiled egg, and Thou. He rolls the egg between his palms, cracking the shell, then peeling it away. She watches his mouth, the jaw, the teeth.

Beside me singing in the public park, she says. Here's the salt for it.

Thanks. You remembered everything.

This arid plain isn't claimed by anyone, he continues. Or rather it's claimed by five different tribes, none strong enough to annihilate the others. All of them wander past this stone heap from time to time, herding their thulks--blue sheep-like creatures with vicious tempers--or transporting merchandise of little value on their pack animals, a sort of three-eyed camel.

The pile of stones is called, in their various languages, The Haunt of Flying Snakes, The Heap of Rubble, The Abode of Howling Mothers, The Door of Oblivion, and The Pit of Gnawed Bones. Each tribe tells a similar story about it. Underneath the rocks, they say, a king is buried--a king without a name. Not only the king, but the remains of the magnificent city this king once ruled. The city was destroyed in a battle, and the king was captured and hanged from a date palm as a sign of triumph. At moonrise he was cut down and buried, and the stones were piled up to mark the spot. As for the other inhabitants of the city, they were all killed. Butchered--men, women, children, babies, even the animals. Put to the sword, hacked to pieces. No living thing was spared.

That's horrible.

Stick a shovel into the ground almost anywhere and some horrible thing or other will come to light. Good for the trade, we thrive on bones; without them there'd be no stories. Any more lemonade?

No, she says. We've drunk it all up. Go on.

The real name of the city was erased from memory by the conquerors, and this is why--say the taletellers--the place is now known only by the name of its own destruction. The pile of stones thus marks both an act of deliberate remembrance, and an act of deliberate forgetting. They're fond of paradox in that region. Each of the five tribes claims to have been the victorious attacker. Each recalls the slaughter with relish. Each believes it was ordained by their own god as righteous vengeance, because of the unholy practices carried on in the city. Evil must be cleansed with blood, they say. On that day the blood ran like water, so afterwards it must have been very clean.

Every herdsman or merchant who passes adds a stone to the heap. It's an old custom--you do it in remembrance of the dead, your own dead--but since no one knows who the dead under the pile of stones really were, they all leave their stones on the off chance. They'll get around it by telling you that what happened there must have been the will of their god, and thus by leaving a stone they are honouring this will.

There's also a story that claims the city wasn't really destroyed at all. Instead, through a charm known only to the King, the city and its inhabitants were whisked away and replaced by phantoms of themselves, and it was only these phantoms that were burnt and slaughtered. The real city was shrunk very small and placed in a cave beneath the great heap of stones. Everything that was once there is there still, including the palaces and the gardens filled with trees and flowers; including the people, no bigger than ants, but going about their lives as before--wearing their tiny clothes, giving their tiny banquets, telling their tiny stories, singing their tiny songs.

The King knows what's happened and it gives him nightmares, but the rest of them don't know. They don't know they've become so small. They don't know they're supposed to be dead. They don't even know they've been saved. To them the ceiling of rock looks like a sky: light comes in through a pinhole between the stones, and they think it's the sun.

The leaves of the apple tree rustle. She looks up at the sky, then at her watch. I'm cold, she says. I'm also late. Could you dispose of the evidence? She gathers eggshells, twists up wax paper.

No hurry, surely? It's not cold here.

There's a breeze coming through from the water, she says. The wind must have changed. She leans forward, moving to stand up.

Don't go yet, he says, too quickly.

I have to. They'll be looking for me. If I'm overdue, they'll want to know where I've been.

She smoothes her skirt down, wraps her arms around herself, turns away, the small green apples watching her like eyes.

The Globe and Mail, June 4, 1947


special to the globe and mail

After an unexplained absence of several days, the body of industrialist Richard E. Griffen, forty-seven, said to have been favoured for the Progressive Conservative candidacy in the Toronto riding of St. David's, was discovered near his summer residence of "Avilion" in Port Ticonderoga, where he was vacationing. Mr. Griffen was found in his sailboat, the Water Nixie, which was tied up at his private jetty on the Jogues River. He had apparently suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. Police report that no foul play is suspected.

Mr. Griffen had a distinguished career as the head of a commercial empire that embraced many areas including textiles, garments and light manufacturing, and was commended for his efforts in supplying Allied troops with uniform parts and weapons components during the war. He was a frequent guest at the influential gatherings held at the Pugwash home of industrialist Cyrus Eaton and a leading figure of both the Empire Club and the Granite Club. He was a keen golfer and a well-known figure at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. The Prime Minister, reached by telephone at his private estate of "Kingsmere," commented, "Mr. Griffen was one of this country's most able men. His loss will be deeply felt."

Mr. Griffen was the brother-in-law of the late Laura Chase, who made her posthumous debut as a novelist this spring, and is survived by his sister Mrs. Winifred (Griffen) Prior, the noted socialite, and by his wife, Mrs. Iris (Chase) Griffen, as well as by his ten-year-old daughter Aimee. The funeral will be held in Toronto at the Church of St. Simon the Apostle on Wednesday.

The Blind Assassin: The park bench

Why were there people, on Zycron? I mean human beings like us. If it's another dimension of space, shouldn't the inhabitants have been talking lizards or something?

Only in the pulps, he says. That's all made up. In reality it was like this: Earth was colonized by the Zycronites, who developed the ability to travel from one space dimension to another at a period several millennia after the epoch of which we speak. They arrived here eight thousand years ago. They brought a lot of plant seeds with them, which is why we have apples and oranges, not to mention bananas--one look at a banana and you can tell it came from outer space. They also brought animals--horses and dogs and goats and so on. They were the builders of Atlantis. Then they blew themselves up through being too clever. We're descended from the stragglers.

Oh, she says. So that explains it. How very convenient for you.

It'll do in a pinch. As for the other peculiarities of Zycron, it has seven seas, five moons, and three suns, of varying strengths and colours.

What colours? Chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry?

You aren't taking me seriously.

I'm sorry. She tilts her head towards him. Now I'm listening. See?

He says: Before its destruction, the city--let's call it by its former name, Sakiel-Norn, roughly translatable as The Pearl of Destiny--was said to have been the wonder of the world. Even those who claim their ancestors obliterated it take great pleasure in describing its beauty. Natural springs had been made to flow through the carved fountains in the tiled courtyards and gardens of its numerous palaces. Flowers abounded, and the air was filled with singing birds. There were lush plains nearby where herds of fat gnarr grazed, and orchards and groves and forests of tall trees that had not yet been cut down by merchants or burned by spiteful enemies. The dry ravines were rivers then; canals leading from them irrigated the fields around the city, and the soil was so rich the heads of grain were said to have measured three inches across.

The aristocrats of Sakiel-Norn were called the Snilfards. They were skilled metalworkers and inventors of ingenious mechanical devices, the secrets of which they carefully guarded. By this period they had invented the clock, the crossbow, and the hand pump, though they had not yet got so far as the internal combustion engine and still used animals for transport.

The male Snilfards wore masks of woven platinum, which moved as the skin of their faces moved, but which served to hide their true emotions. The women veiled their faces in a silk-like cloth made from the cocoon of the chaz moth. It was punishable by death to cover your face if you were not a Snilfard, since imperviousness and subterfuge were reserved for the nobility. The Snilfards dressed luxuriously and were connoisseurs of music, and played on various instruments to display their taste and skill. They indulged in court intrigues, held magnificent feasts, and fell elaborately in love with one another's wives. Duels were fought over these affairs, though it was more acceptable in a husband to pretend not to know.

The smallholders, serfs, and slaves were called the Ygnirods. They wore shabby grey tunics with one shoulder bare, and one breast as well for the women, who were--needless to say--fair game for the Snilfard men. The Ygnirods were resentful of their lot in life, but concealed this with a pretense of stupidity. Once in a while they would stage a revolt, which would then be ruthlessly suppressed. The lowest among them were slaves, who could be bought and traded and also killed at will. They were prohibited by law from reading, but had secret codes that they scratched in the dirt with stones. The Snilfards harnessed them to ploughs.

If a Snilfard should become bankrupt, he might be demoted to an Ygnirod. Or he might avoid such a fate by selling his wife or children in order to redeem his debt. It was much rarer for an Ygnirod to achieve the status of Snilfard, since the way up is usually more arduous than the way down: even if he were able to amass the necessary cash and acquire a Snilfard bride for himself or his son, a certain amount of bribery was involved, and it might be some time before he was accepted by Snilfard society.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1498 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 546 pages
  • Editeur : Anchor (18 décembre 2007)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B0012D1CYW
  • Synthèse vocale : Non activée
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  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (3 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°87.486 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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19 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
You're in your late twenties, you're married to one of the most powerful industrialists/politicians in post-war Canada (although you're now living apart), and your beautiful Harpy sister has just died in a mysterious road accident. So what do you do? You publish your sister's first and only novel, and watch as the vultures descend...
Margaret Atwood's Booker prize-winning novel is long and difficult to digest, a veritable seven-course meal. It's taken me a long time of reading and rereading to get my angle upon it. From the start, everything seems relatively straightforward. You know what happens to whom, and where and when they died. The rest of the novel explores have they got there. However, what's most interesting about this narrative is that it does stray from the path, and ventures into the Wild Woods. When Atwood won the Booker, she poignantly praised the work of Angela Carter, which resounds in a small paragraph in the novel: "All stories are about wolves". The Blind Assassin is very much a work of magic realism. You need to have some background reading, starting off with Dante's Inferno, especially Canto XIII. The Wood of the Suicides features the Harpies, and I believe these are symbolic of Laura's supposed 'hysteria'. Harpies are also known as 'The Robbers', and Laura is a notorious klepto. Iris (the name of our narrator) was also sister to the Harpies in myth. The two young heroes in the pulp novel have to enter a wood that supposedly has terrifying dead women in it. Laura is symbolised by the suicide of Dido from the Aeneid. There's also the glorious Book of Daniel, which recounts how Babylon fell overnight (which resounds in the pulp novel too, including the victorious Assyrians' Code of Hammurabi).
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6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 What a joy to find a book so well written 1 octobre 2005
The narrative collision in Margaret Atwood's 2000 novel is between the biographical recollections of Iris Chase Griffen and the novel "The Blind Assassin" written by her sister Laura Chase, who committed suicide in 1945. Thrown in for good measure at strategic intervals are newspaper articles covering the deaths and other choice moments in the lives of the characters, most of whom move in the upper echelon of Canadian society. We know that at some point the importance of the novel-within-a-novel (in which a man tells science-fiction stories to the woman with whom he is having an affair in backstreet rooms) for the real life story (the girl's father owns a button factory who marries off Iris to stave off financial ruin) will become painfully clear. "The Blind Assassin" is not allegorical, mainly because it is to personal a tale to have that broad a meaning for its readers. As Iris approaches death at the turn of the century, she looks back on her life in the 1930's and 40's, explaining it so that we understand the true import of her sister's novel.
I usually devour novels at a frantic pace but that proved impossible with "The Blind Assassin." This was one of those novels where you would finish a part, which alternate between the narrative and the novel, and mull over what had just happened and how the pieces were coming together. But even getting through individual chapters took time, because there were so many wonderfully written lines, so many finely crafted paragraphs, that you just had to sit back and enjoy them (or run around sharing them with people who were unfortunate enough not to have read this book yet).
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6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Captivant 23 septembre 2004
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Ce roman est d'autant plus jubilatoire qu'il devient de plus en plus addictif au fil des pages. Surtout, il ne faut pas se laisser décourager par le début, Margaret Atwood nous entraîne dans plusieurs récits au milieu desquels le lecteur peut se sentir un peu perdu. Mais dés que le fil conducteur apparaît, de manière floue et confuse puis de façon bien plus claire, ce roman devient impossible à lâcher. Encore meilleur que The Robber Bride, ce n'est pas peu dire!
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Amazon.com: 4.0 étoiles sur 5  572 commentaires
145 internautes sur 156 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Bleakly Beautiful 12 septembre 2000
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
I admit to being an Atwoodaholic--I wrote my master's thesis on Surfacing and paid double the price to have Alias Grace shipped to me from Canada in advance of its US publication date. As such, I devoured her newest novel in two sittings, despite its 500+ page length. It has left me feeling bleak and, in the words of the book's narrator "scraped clean inside." This is a beautifully structured book, involving three (perhaps even four) narrative layers that play off of each other to build a terrifying commentary on love, passion, sisterhood (both the biological and, by extension, emotional kinds), and betrayal. The book contains the closest thing to a love story Atwood has ever written, and it's a harrowing one that will sneak up on you and devastate you in the end. With the primary action being set between WW I and WWII, the novel also offers a final comment on the twentieth century: humanity's culpability in creating, destroying, and creating again, and on the quiet moments of beauty that are possible (temporarily) among the rubble.
This is a great book, a worthy successor to the wonderful Alias Grace. Read it at your own emotional risk, but READ IT.
86 internautes sur 94 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Atwood's Brilliance Shines 25 septembre 2000
Par Elizabeth Hendry - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I wish I could give this one more than five stars. The Blind Assassin is a fantastic, fabulous novel and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Margaret Atwoood has written a terrific story told in such a way that the reader will always be kept guessing as to what the true "truth" is. It is a mystery, with a death, but it is not a "mystery novel" as we come to expect. The Blind Assassin is the story of two sisters: Laura and Iris Chase. Laura died in what may or may not have been a suicidal car crash in 1945. Iris tells the story of her family and the events leading up to Laura's death, reflecting in the present on the events of the past. What is so fascinating about The Blind Assassin is that things are not always what they seem, but there are layers upon layers of story, of truth. Atwood reveals the story to us in many ways. We see newspaper accounts of what happened to the Chase family. These accounts are told with the confidence that they convey the whole, true story, but do they? Then we hear Iris' story, but something is not right with her story, something is missing. Iris admits that she has omitted crucial details and bit by bit, the reader is able to piece together what did happen. Interspersed in Iris' narrative are excerpts from Laura's posthumously publised novel, The Blind Assassin, which also give us insight into what happened. Atwood tells this story marvelously. Iris' observations about the present day are witty and sharp. Atwood kept me guessing right up until the end. The mystery of this novel makes it just that much more fun to read. The Blind Assassin is a wonderful addition to the body of work of one of the most talented living authors. I highly, highly recommend it.
126 internautes sur 142 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Dear God, I wanted to love this book 18 avril 2006
Par Jeronimo - Publié sur Amazon.com
And for a while, I really did. What an unusual, totally original idea for a story: a woman tells her long, twisted family history, which is interspersed with excerpts from her dead sister's novel about two lovers meeting in hotel rooms to tell a science fiction story. What an amazing concept.

Unfortunately, it falls flat, for several reasons: the narrator is unengaging and tedious. The secondary characters are cardboard cutouts from a gothic novel. The resolution to the science fiction story is phenomenally unsatisfying. And there are several passages that, while beautifully written, bog the story down and have no thrust.

This isn't to say that I didn't enjoy the book. There were many portions that I certainly did enjoy. That I finished this in three days should indicate that, if nothing else, Atwood knows how to keep a reader engaged. And there are moments of such startling originality that I had to lean back, put the book down and say out loud, 'my God, that's good writing.' Atwood, it must be said, has a remarkable talent.

She's got, however, a few serious flaws as well. First of all, the narrator, Iris Chase Griffen. I know she's had a hard, hard life. I can't imagine going through half of the disastrous events she recounts: mother's death, father's death, a loveless marriage, supervising a loopy sister in a decaying mansion straight out of Jane Eyre. It's all quite tragic. She also makes it quite interminable. If we're going to be with this woman for the better part of 500 pages, we want to like her. But I don't think I've ever come across a more bitter, listless narrator. Everywhere, everywhere there's thunder and gloom and endless references to raped women and raw sewage. Reading Iris's words is akin to sitting with a morbid dinner guest with a tragic history. You're truly sorry to hear the horrible events. You genuinely sympathize. And there's a part of you that just wants to get the hell out. A narrator need not be perky. She need not be funny, even. But she's got to have life. Look at Holden, from 'Catcher in the Rye.' He should be a sobbing rich brat, and he is, but you want to hear more. He's got charisma, and you need that on some level, no matter who you are. If we're going to hear Iris's sob story, we need to be engaged with her. Atwood is far too interested in creating a mood and not interested enough in creating a character. Iris is so stuck in the mud, so alarmingly passive until the very end, that you can't help skipping ahead to see when someone else is going to take the story's focus.

If Atwood paints Iris with a very gloomy brush, she barely touches the other characters. Even Iris has to admit, towards the end, that she's described her husband as a total cardboard cutout. She's being far too modest. Her husband Richard and his sister Winnifred are painted as evil, child molesting, power obsessed maniacs. There is no other dimension given them. Reenie, Iris's childhood nurse, might as well join a repertory company and play their stock Irish housekeeper until she drops dead. Father dearest is locked away in his turret drinking and raving, and should've headed to Bronte country long ago. Laura is the only character who emerges with a hint of coloring, and Atwood keeps her shrouded in mystery, unfairly refusing to allow Laura her moment of self-actualization and explanation. The true crime is Alex Thomas, the mysterious orphan. He is the most fascinating character, and is given almost nothing. True, once the book is completed it's quite obvious why he can't be a bigger part of Iris's story. Still, you feel that Atwood's cheated you out of something special, something different and exciting. You feel truly shackled to Iris as the story progresses. This is a problem that I noticed in 'The Handmaid's Tale'; apart from the narrator, no character is given true dimension and depth. This is a frequent Atwood problem.

As for the novel-within-a-novel, it's the whole point of reading this book. To watch unnamed lovers squabble and love in dirty hotel rooms while composing a bizarre science fiction universe is fascinating. If she'd wanted to, Atwood probably could have done away with the entire Iris story and worked more on this. The Iris tale, interesting as it may be, has been done before. Nothing really surprises us. Whereas this tale is fresh and interesting. However, that being said, the end of the 'blind assassin', the science fiction tale that the lovers tell, is weak. Unbelievably weak. As in 'wrapped up in one sentence halfway through the book' weak. You really can't believe it. There's more science fiction mumbo jumbo ahead, but nothing about this character. Since he lends his name to the title of the book, you think he'd get better treatment. That's the problem with the science fiction aspect of the novel: it's used as an unusual method to parallel the other two stories. Atwood doesn't explore these characters in their own right, and when it's about a mute sacrificial virgin and a blind assassin falling in love the night before a city's destruction, you'd think she'd pay them more mind. Repressed socialites we've seen. Fugitives telling tales about the fantastical in motel rooms, not so much.

Lastly, the book doesn't need to be this long. There are several chapters that simply don't need to be there. The octagenarian Iris telling about her routine trips to the donut shop is not a riveting read. And Ms. Atwood, I understand that death is knocking at this woman's door, and that women are abused and squashed and raped in fifteen different ways, physically and spiritually, in this world. Please stop beating me over the head with it. Telling me once is good. Telling me twenty eight times is pushing it. Atwood is an accomplished poet, and it shows. The passages are gorgeously written. But they get in the way of the story. Atwood needs to figure out how to get her lovely prose to push the narrative ahead. She's not always so good with that.

It's not that this is a terrible book. Not in the least. But it could have been so much better. Ms. Atwood got lost in her wonderful idea, and forgot to make her world accessible. She also forgot to bring a little more humanity into the proceedings. And lastly, and most importantly, she didn't give her blind assassin the treatment he deserved. A title character has the right to something better.
87 internautes sur 97 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Atwood's Booker is no 'blind attempt'! 8 novembre 2000
Par Billy J. Hobbs - Publié sur Amazon.com
Not having read the other nominees, I can't compare, but the announcement that "The Blind Assassin" by Margaret Atwood has won this year's Booker Prize, I am not surprised. Atwood, having already written over a dozen novels, poetry, children's books, and some non-ficition, comes through with her latest in grand manner. A prolific writer she is indeed. That said, "The Blind Assassin" is an adventure--not to mention quite an ambitious undertaking--to read. Included in her convoluted plot line is a "novel within a novel" (see Reginald Hill's "Arms and the Women"!)--so be prepared to pay attention. Atwood's style of writing, however, is anything but convoluted; it is straight forward, but complicated, with expertly created characters.
The book is told by Iris who recounts her sister's death in Toronto in 1945, when she drives her car off a bridge. The inquest indicates that the death is accidental. Then Atwood introduces us to her "novel within a novel" entitled "The Blind Assassin." Told by a pair of anonymous lovers, the book stretches into science fiction--absorbing on its own as an intriguing story! What seems amazing about this work is the expert craftsmanship that Atwood possesses (and presemts), although, given her reputation, that is not surprising. She also captures the 1930s-40s atmosphere quite well, too! The novel is tiered, and the author explores each level, one by one, until the final pages.
With her themes of greed, love, and (inevitably) revenge, the story is right out of the Greek tragedies (well, actually, not, as "tragic" is not really exploited!). Be prepared to spend some time with this work--but it will be time well spent. What an intriguing novel! (Billyjhobbs@tyler.net)
82 internautes sur 92 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 If this book doesn't win the Booker Prize.... 24 octobre 2000
Par Mary Whipple - Publié sur Amazon.com
If this book doesn't win the Booker Prize, then Margaret Atwood will never get to give Thomas Mallon his much-deserved comeuppance for the snide review he wrote of it for the New York Times Book Review. Because I respect Mallon and have enjoyed more than one of his books, I took this review to heart (fool that I am), wasting several weeks before discovering for myself how much fun I've been missing out on! Perhaps, however, Mallon was just playing the role of "The Blind Assassin" when he wrote it.

Because of the number of excellent plot summaries already posted here, I'll save the space and not repeat them. Atwood's female characters here are as complex and intriguing as they are in Cat's Eye. Her descriptions are so specific that every aspect of the setting comes vibrantly to life, and it is easy to imagine every detail (yes, even the much maligned simile of a loaf of bread as bland-tasting "as an angel's buttock").

The plot evolves on three distinct, but parallel, planes, giving a triple whammy to Atwood's themes, while several different time frames keep the story full of mystery and excitement. Best of all, Atwood brings all the threads of the story together for a truly thrilling, rock 'em, sock 'em grand finale. If you've been wondering why the odds are so good that Atwood will win the Booker, read the book. This will certainly NOT be a consolation prize! Mary Whipple
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