Review: The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

Posted 12 June, 2007 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 8 Comments

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Title: The Blind Assassin
Author: Margaret Atwood
Date Read: April 24, 2007
Rating: 4.75/5

The Blind Assassin is my second Atwood novel (other is The Handmaid’s Tale), and after a second helping, I will certainly be holding my plate out for more, and more, and more.

Most of the novel centers around Iris Chase as she recalls the events of her past (she is an older woman at the time of her recollection). Intertwined into Iris’s memoirs is also the posthumously published “The Blind Assassin” novel written by her sister Laura Chase who died in a mysterious car accident. While the story within a story motif was a little difficult to handle at first (science fiction meets literature noir), I found myself wrapped up in the story as the novel progresses. On a third level is newspaper clippings of pertinent events in the lives of the Chase family. All three parts work together a beautiful, yet sad, story.

The book itself was a little difficult for me to start, but once I was sucked into the story of the Chase girls (Laura and Iris)–well, I guess I’ve already said it–I was sucked in. Atwood’s writing is beautiful as she tells a story of loss, submission, secrecy, and denial. The plot twists and turns as the reader tries to make the connections between the Chase girls through Iris’s account, the newspaper articles, and the nameless characters of the posthumous novel.

Recommendation: I would recommend this book to people who like a mystery a little out of the ordinary (although Atwood gives enough clues throughout the text to make the ending a little predictable–but still enjoyable). Certainly a book for Atwood fans. Not for the beach book reader, but I think its a book that can be enjoyed by a large number of different readers.

8 Responses to “Review: The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood”

  1. I loved A Handmaid’s Tale. It’s the only Atwood I’ve read. I do have Cat’s Eye and this book on my TBR though. Great review!

  2. I’ll be reading Cat’s Eye in August and can hardly wait. I think Atwood certainly has a way of drawing in her readers!

  3. I think this may be one of my least favorite of Atwood’s books. Of course saying it is my least favorite still makes it a fabulous book.

    My personal favorite is The Robber Bride. Oryx and Crake is also very good but closer to science fiction–I think Atwood prefers calling it speculative fiction.

  4. LK

    I have this book (given as a gift) so I expect to read it. I’ll be interested in how you like Cat’s Eye.

  5. Thomas – Its interesting to hear different people’s perspectives. I’ve heard for a lot that Robber Bride and Oryx and Crake are not as good (both of which I own, but haven’t read yet). Thanks for popping by!

    LK – I’m really looking forward to Cat’s Eye; I’ve heard great things about it. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  6. C

    This was my first Atwood book in college. I lost count of how many train stations and bus stops I missed because of the book. The 3 layers intertwine intelligently, but the book demands a lot from readers. I love it because it is different, but not completely out of line. Years after I read the book, however, Laura was the one who has left a much stronger impression than Iris.

  7. I still have to read this book, and it appears from your review that I’d enjoy it. Have you gotten around to reading Oryx and Crake yet? It’s pretty good!