The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin

by Margaret Atwood
4.1 159

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Overview

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood takes the art of storytelling to new heights in a dazzling new novel that unfolds layer by astonishing layer and concludes in a brilliant and wonderfully satisfying twist.

For the past twenty-five years, Margaret Atwood has written works of striking originality and imagination. In The Blind Assassin, she stretches the limits of her accomplishments as never before, creating a novel that is entertaining and profoundly serious.

The novel opens with these simple, resonant words: "Ten days after the war ended, my sister drove a car off the bridge." They are spoken by Iris, whose terse account of her sister Laura's death in 1945 is followed by an inquest report proclaiming the death accidental. But just as the reader expects to settle into Laura's story, Atwood introduces a novel-within-a- novel. Entitled The Blind Assassin, it is a science fiction story told by two unnamed lovers who meet in dingy backstreet rooms. When we return to Iris, it is through a 1947 newspaper article announcing the discovery of a sailboat carrying the dead body of her husband, a distinguished industrialist.

Told in a style that magnificently captures the colloquialisms and clichés of the 1930s and 1940s, The Blind Assassin is a richly layered and uniquely rewarding experience. The novel has many threads and a series of events that follow one another at a breathtaking pace. As everything comes together, readers will discover that the story Atwood is telling is not only what it seems to be--but, in fact, much more.

The Blind Assassin proves once again that Atwood is one of the most talented, daring, and exciting writers of our time. Like The Handmaid's Tale, it is destined to become a classic.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385720953
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/28/2001
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 585
Product dimensions: 5.17(w) x 7.99(h) x 0.89(d)

About the Author

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than twenty-five books, including fiction, poetry, and essays. Her most recent work includes the novels Alias Grace and The Robber Bride and the collections Wilderness Tips and Good Bones and Simple Murders. She lives in Toronto.

Hometown:

Toronto, Ontario

Date of Birth:

November 18, 1939

Place of Birth:

Ottawa, Ontario

Education:

B.A., University of Toronto, 1961; M.A. Radcliffe, 1962; Ph.D., Harvard University, 1967

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The Blind Assassin 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 159 reviews.
Molinarolo More than 1 year ago
This book sat on my shelf for several months before I had the courage to read Atwood's best work. Blind Assassin is for the serious or the literary reader. And, very quickly we are thrown into a novel w/in the novel. The name? Blind Assassin written by Laura chase and published posthumously after her death in 1945 by her sister, Iris. Iris discovers: "Nothing is more difficult than to understand the dead, I've found; but nothing is more dangerous than to ignore them." Did Laura purposely drive off that bridge? Do Iris' relationships to her father, much older husband, Alex, and even to Laura die in that car as well. Which sister is Laura writing about in her novel? And whom is the male lover in Blind Assassin that tells fantastical Sci Fi stories. Are they actually parables lifted from Laura and Iris' life to explain or justify each girl's choices? Or they something else, still yet defining Laura and Iris? Atwood never yields to cynicism, or contempt for her characters. The result; a rich world of layered truths and lies of Laura and Iris. Atwood uses Iris to tell their story, define their relationships-all of them-to understand the dead and finally lay them to Rest in Peace. Thus Iris is revealed, and finally at peace with her life-warts and all, in the Autumn of her own life. This book deserves more stars than this rating and the time it takes to read this wonderful story. I was very dissapointed that I had come to the last word. This marvelous book is a gem of an addition to my book collection and hopefully to yours.
osaka More than 1 year ago
This book is so very different. It's got 3 stories going on all at once. It kept me wanting to find out what happens next. My first read by Margaret Atwood. This was excellent, I'll have to check out her other books.
swift__cat More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books of all time. The mystery of the plot is revealed in the unraveling of the past as the main character transforms from a young girl floating through life to a strong woman in firm possession of her identity. This novel is about the heartache and culpability of our inaction when the things we are not strong enough to see or realize are suddenly as stark as the death of a loved one. The heroine is anything but perfect. She makes mistakes that ultimately lead to unhappiness but in owning up to them and fighting, the reader both forgives and admires her. This story is unique, fast paced and well-written. Even if the plot doesn't strike you as something you would be interested in, I recommend it for sheer literary value.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not having read one of Margaret Atwood's books before, I was not sure what to expect. What a rich and textured story awaited me. A novel within a novel within a mystery within a love story. Once I got the rhythm of the story, I was hooked.
khk-67 More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful surprise this book was to me. It was quite a feat by the author to weave so many types of writing into one novel. Historical fiction, prose, poetry and science fiction. Sometimes, I found it challenging to realize whose story was being told. This book had so many fascinating layers.
jsakbari More than 1 year ago
The Blind Assasin was a unique experience of alternating atmospheres, impeccible detail, and insightful perspective from the accounts of the main character, Iris, and her take on everyone, and everything, around her. From the blend of cynisism to the intermixed events of a capricic life, Iris' memoirs, which compose the story, are a force to be reckoned with. Her story is most notable in that it is definitely one with regret and revenge, and an undeniable thirst for change. Meanwhile, the task of unconvering the identity behind the mysterious man and woman in "The Blind Assasin" chapters leaves you speculating til the very end. I honestly can say I've never read anything like this before. Atwood's style and composition is anomalous, and utterly unmatchable. She brings a new flavor to the realms of the literary world, and has done justice in her experimentation with the conventional novel. Moreso than her style, the turn of events in Iris' story are most surprising; two suicides, marriage into a twisted family and the loss of one's true identity make this a heartfelt read. I was transplanted into the setting of each memory as it was being written down by Iris, and felt and saw every blinding detail, the prescence the type of man Richard was, and how supressed Iris felt; eye awakening to say the least. When she recounts her sister Laura, a whole other level of complexity and understanding is added to the novel--bringing her full, enigmatic, unconventional personality and its influence--to the story. Yet overall, the best part was not unconvering the mysterious identities and coming to the definitely unexpected conclustion so much as it was growing and empathyzing with each of the characters along the way. It unreal how many questions one's memories can evoke in a person, causing them to question their society and everyone around them. I would most definitely reccomend this book for anyone up for a twisted, enconventional journey of living vicariously through someone else, and anyone looking to be humored by the highly descriptive, sometimes nonsensical, abstract details and opinions of the Author via the main character of the book.
ILoveClassics More than 1 year ago
I thought that challenging reading was for school... the boring stuff. But Margaret Atwood's "The Blind Assassin" was a twisted, complex novel that features a story within a story that requires your undivided attention! The first line of the book is "On the day after the war ended, my sister drove her car off a bridge." That caught my attention for sure! The narrator, Iris Chase Griffen, narrates the story, telling the tale of her life currently, as well as recounting her early childhood and all of its trials. That's only 2 parts of the story to follow. The 3rd part, which is perhaps the hardest to grasp, is a story that the narrator's sister, Laura Chase (the one the first sentence refers to) has supposedly written before her early death and has been published posthumously by Iris called "The Blind Assassin". The 3 stories weave together in an intricately complex, but rewarding way. Every three or four chapters, the story will switch from Iris's narrative to "The Blind Assassin." Carefully attention is needed to see how small details relate between the two settings, because therein lies the beauty and uniqueness of this work of art. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a challenge and is sick of the same ol' same ol' story. But make sure you are ready to think, think, think!
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading Atwood's 'The Handmaid's Tale' which I thought was a masterpiece, I was really looking forward to this one. I was greatly disappointed. I found the' novel within a novel' to be really just a gimic and unnecessary to move the story along. The 'mystery' wasn't much of one at all ( I figured it out early on in the book ). Atwood is still a great writer and I hope she rebounds from this effort. If you haven't read 'The Handmaid's Tale' do yourself a favor and read it. Now that was a great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the book by margaret atwood is a splendid creation of fiction and the imagination that people can conjure up in their minds.........the book is relly an interesting book and teaches us alot of messages and advices that we can learn from...........................................
Anonymous 12 days ago
I am on page 53 and I am bored to tears An old lady is just shuffling around in her bed-slippers Really disappointing so far
KimHeniadis More than 1 year ago
I know Margaret Atwood is well know, and some of her books, such as Cat’s Eye and The Handmaid’s Tale are very widely read. This is the first book that I read by her, and I wasn’t super impressed. Her writing of scenes and clothing was very well done. The imagery was wonderful, but what fell flat for me was the characters. I didn’t really connect with any of them. I guess it was a case of rich people problems. I don’t want to put in spoilers, but I will say that I knew who the mysterious lovers were, and the niece and what had happened to Laura to get her put into an institution way before the end. There was no big reveal for me. I did read it for book club and the others didn’t pick up on all the pieces, but some had picked up on more than others. And the Sci-Fiction story that was written inside the story had potential, but with no Chicago Style Editing, it felt like the author had a free pass to not really worry about proper writing. To me it was as if it was a first draft, and editing hadn’t taken place yet. Not to say it had spelling errors or timing issues, just no quotes for text, etc… I also couldn’t tell if the book inside the book was supposed to include all the interactions between the two lovers, or if we were just supposed to pick out the Sci-Fi story from it. I’m thinking it was everything, because later on this book gets published under Laura’s name, and there would need to be a lot more to make it into a complete novel. Then again sometimes novels can be short, so maybe it was just supposed to be the Sci-Fi parts. This book was over 500 pages, and I think Atwood could have chopped out at least 100 pages. It wasn’t a bad read, and now if anyone asks me if I read Margaret Atwood, I can say I have, but I would say read one of her other books instead.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The_Book_Wheel_Blog More than 1 year ago
It’s hard to summarize such a long and complex book, but the short version is that it’s actually three stories in one. The first is about a woman named Iris who, in present day, looks back on her life, including her marriage to wealthy man and her complicated relationship with her sister, who died as a young woman. The second is the vivid recreation of Iris’s past, itself. The third is a book written by Iris’s tragically misunderstood sister who’s death serves as an unspoken catalyst for the entire story. If I thought summarizing the book up was hard, I can say that telling you why I loved this book is equally difficult. It’s no secret that Atwood has a way with words and is able to weave a complex story with complete ease, but she is also able to foster empathy for misunderstood characters. Atwood manages to recreate a world where the suppression of women is commonplace, but not evil, while at the same time punctuating the story with little rebellions by strong women. Feminism in the 1930’s was of a very different variety than today and Atwood‘s ability to capture both the the reality of the times and the subtle ways women rebelled is nothing short of stunning. Allison @ The Book Wheel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a great book!!! So raw and beautifully written. An attention grabber and instant modern classic.
bookwormmom4 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this story. Never read a Margaret Atwood book and this was a good place to start.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Genius.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love Margaret Atwood.
mellow More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books of all time. Reality and sci fi both in one book, and full of great characters.
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