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4 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

The Blind Assassin


The Blind Assassin Cover

ISBN13: 9780385720953
ISBN10: 0385720955
Condition: Standard
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Average customer rating based on 6 comments:

gentanishku, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by gentanishku)
Love this book!
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Nikki Dodd, January 4, 2010 (view all comments by Nikki Dodd)
I not only had one of those rare 'I don't want this to end' kind of experiences when reading this book, but it also introduced and caused me to fall in love with Margaret Atwood. She is one of those authors that are important to actually understanding what literature really is. The Blind Assassin is my favorite, but I have never read a book by Atwood that I didn't actually love.
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cariola119, November 29, 2009 (view all comments by cariola119)
I could have done without the sci fi story embedded in the novel (yes, I know it relates to the main story, but I just found it really annoying). Nevertheless, I did enjoy reading about the troubled, intertwined lives of sisters Laura and Iris. Atwood did a fine job of recreating the world of a small Canadian town in the Depression and World War II eras, especially that of the narrator, Iris Chase Griffin, who marries a wealthy older man in order to provide for her sister and finds herself controlled by her ambitious, high society husband and his snooty sister. Secrets and lies--family dysfunction at its finest!
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Sherry Carty, November 27, 2009 (view all comments by Sherry Carty)
The Blind Assassin is a story that winds slowly through the lives of a wealthy Canadian family before, during, and after The Depression.

The majority of the book is told from the perspective of Iris Chase, an elderly woman reflecting and writing about her life and her family. With her thoughts, the book skips between her 1930’s and 1990’s. At irregular intervals, Iris’s reflections are interrupted by clippings from newspapers and from a novel (also titled ‘The Blind Assassin’) which is written by the sister of Iris, Laura Chase.

Though the technical writing in this book was superb, the frequent changes of perspective made the pacing feel off and the characters less sympathetic. The first three-fourths of the book is an extremely slow read that sags with the weight of too many metaphors. Many of the metaphors were quite good, clever even, as they should be. But when there is a metaphor or simile in every other paragraph, they become unwelcome. So much filler designed to increase word count. The last quarter of the book finally picked up the pace and delivered a moving end to the story.

Ultimately, I found myself thinking through most of the book that the science-fiction story told by a character within Laura Chase’s novel was better than the novel written by Laura Chase or Iris Chase. Perhaps this was Margaret Atwood’s intent, perhaps not.
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Faizan, August 3, 2009 (view all comments by Faizan)
Margaret Atwood's "The Blind Assassin" is a difficult, tricky book to classify. It blends many sub-genre of fiction to create such a unique literary amalgam, it defies characterization. Essentially the story of a woman on a quest to unravel the reason behind her younger sibling’s suicide, it may, at first, feel like a mystery, but is far too well developed to be simply left at that. Atwood uses that oft repeated technique of a novel within a novel (written by the protagonist's deceased sister - a futuristic sci-fi, love yarn where the titular blind assassin falls in love with his victim) to such amusing, liberating and tantalizing affect, that by the time you reach the white knuckle ending, your head will be reeling in disbelief at the surprising, unexpected outcome.

The book is not just very well written (Atwood's use of the English language is sublime), it is also compellingly readable all the way through. A personal favorite, and a book that leaves a stunning, indelible impression on its readers.
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Product Details

Atwood, Margaret
Anchor Books
Atwood, Margaret
New York
Domestic fiction
Psychological fiction
Literature-A to Z
Edition Number:
1st. pbk. ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
August 2001
Grade Level:
8.00x5.28x.90 in. .85 lbs.

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The Blind Assassin Used Trade Paper
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Product details 544 pages Anchor Books/Doubleday - English 9780385720953 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "As she adroitly juggles three plot lines, Atwood's inventiveness achieves a tensile energy. The alternating stories never slacken the pace; on the contrary, one reads each section breathlessly, eager to get back to the other. In sheer storytelling bravado, Atwood here surpasses even The Handmaid's Tale and Alias Grace." Publishers Weekly
"Review" by , "The Blind Assassin has enough mysteries to keep even a casual reader engaged, and with respect to solutions, it is less scrupulously committed to ambiguity than Ms. Atwood's 1997 novel, Alias Grace. As with all of Ms. Atwood's recent fiction, The Blind Assassin, despite what sounds like a romantic plot, has been scoured free of any trace of sentimentality. There is a steely quality to Ms. Atwood's writing that's a bit scary but also exhilarating; no one gets away with anything, especially not her female narrators — and they know better than to try."
"Review" by , “An example of a writer at the very peak of her performance.…As it delves into the kinds of relationships that can exist between men and women and the rich and poor, it becomes a compassionate and utterly honest book. It is profound and touching. It is to be treasured.”
"Review" by , “Atwood is a dazzling storyteller with a distinctive voice and an ear attuned to irony.”
"Review" by , "Atwood does not mess around in her riveting new tale: by the end of the first sentence, we know that the narrator's sister is dead, and after just 18 pages we learn that the narrator's husband died on a boat, that her daughter died in a fall, and that her dead husband's sister raised her granddaughter....Atwood brilliantly overlays a second story, an sf novel-within-a-novel, credited to Laura Chasen, that features nameless lovers trysting in squalor. Some readers may figure out Atwood's wrap-up before book's end. Worry not — nothing will dampen the pleasure of getting there. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "Margaret Atwood is one of the greatest writers alive...Her new work is so assured, so elegant and so incandescently intelligent, she casts her contemporaries in the shade."
"Review" by , The Blind Assassin is the kind of story so full of intrigue and desperation that you take it to bed with you simply because you can’t bear to put it down.…It’s one thing to write an accomplished novel; it’s another entirely to spin a tale so brilliantly that the reader internalizes it.”
"Review" by , "The first great novel of the new millennium."
"Review" by , "Absorbing...expertly rendered...Virtuosic storytelling [is] on display."
"Review" by , "Brilliant...Opulent...Atwood is a well as a contriver of fiction, and scarcely a sentence of her quick, dry yet avid prose fails to do useful work, adding to a picture that becomes enormous."
"Review" by , "Chilling...Lyrical...[Atwood's] most ambitious work to date."
"Review" by , "Grand storytelling on a grand scale...Sheerly enjoyable."
"Review" by , "Bewitching...A killer novel....Atwood's crisp wit and steely realism are reminiscent of Edith Wharton...A wonderfully complex narrative. "
"Review" by , "A tour de force."
"Synopsis" by , The Blind Assassin opens with these simple, resonant words: Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge. They are spoken by Iris, whose terse account of her sister'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. Brilliantly weaving together such seemingly disparate elements, Atwood creates a world of astonishing vision and unforgettable impact.
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