Sunday, 12 February 2012

THE BLIND ASSASSIN by Margaret Atwood

I am insanely far behind in blogging my books for 2012, so without further ado lets turn to the appalling BLIND ASSASSIN by Margaret Atwood.

This dire book won the Booker, which after this and the THE FINKLER QUESTION, I'm beginning to regard as a mark of shame.

It tells the story of two young women whose father is slowly going bankrupt. The oldest one agrees to marry a rich man to save the family. She lives a terribly constrained life, which she enlivens with an affair. Her sister comes to live with the family and eventually kills herself.

The story is told primarily from the perspective of the older sister, as an old woman in the present. She lives a very dull life, and this is for some reason detailed for us in excruciating detail. If you have any familiarity with the tastes of the Booker committee, you won't be surprised to hear that this is not the only narrative voice. The story is interwoven with a science fiction story (how innovative, I could just puke) and a pretentiously third person account of the affair.

Here's a representative extract, a description of a man in an old photograph:
. . .he's holding up his hand, as if to fend her off in play, or else to protect himself from the camera, from the person who must be there, taking the picture; or else to protect himself from those in the future who might be looking at him, who might be looking at him through this square, lighted window of glazed paper. As if to protect himself from her. As if to proect her.
I mean honestly. And to think I used to like this writer. Who was I?


  1. And I have this on my list. And I also loved her two books I've read: A Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake. Hmm. Let's see.

  2. You're putting me off. I really wanted to read a book by Attwood sometime soon.

  3. Heh wow, while I've loved the Atwood that I've read I think this one won't be one I'll run out and get...

  4. Oh Nana and AMy, I feel bad because I used to love her and everyone else seems to love her. I am almost scared to read another book of hers, because right now I just think this is an exception . . .but what if I just can't bear her as an author anymore!