Q: What about your early life might have influenced you to become a writer?
A: I grew up in the north under rather isolated circumstances, spending most of my early life in a forest with no electricity, no running water, without any radio or movies, and before television. I was read to a lot as a child. There were always books in the house, and they were my entertainment. They were what you did when it was raining, they were the escape, they were the extended family. So it was a natural step from loving books to writing them.
Q: Cat's Eye is perceived as your most personal novel. Is there any truth to that statement?
A: In some ways, yes. Cat's Eye draws on more semi-autobiographical elements than any of my other novels--the time period and the place, primarily. But in many other ways, it's fiction.
Q: Do you consider Cat's Eye a novel that might advance your reputation as a feminist writer or one that might challenge it?
A: If by "feminist" you mean that I write about women--though not exclusively--the answer is yes. Cat's Eye is about the underside of little girlhood and about the intricate ways adult women's attitudes evolve from our ambiguous childhood friendships. But if you mean that I see all women as good and all men as bad, then the answer is no. Feminists haven't attacked Cat's Eye much; they too were little girls.
Janet McPherson, September 7, 2011 (view all comments by Janet McPherson)
My favorite book by Margaret Atwood. Her insights about the realtionships girls have with other girls while growing up are so accurate. Along with To Kill a Mockingbird, one of those books I have read several times and never get tired of.
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carver, October 9, 2009 (view all comments by carver)
I have vastly enjoyed every book Margaret Atwood has ever written. However Cat's Eye was also nostalgic for me because I was born the same year Margaret Atwood was born. Even though she is from Canada and I from Oklahoma it was amazing to me how much our childhood's seemed the same. This book is absolutely true for curly haired girls born in 1939!
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This is my favorite out of all Margaret Atwood's books. It tells the story so convincingly of the cruelty and competition between young girls as viewed by the now older narrator Elaine. Complex and disturbing, Cat's Eye is a momentous book from one of Canada's most talented and provocative writers.
"The best book in a long time on female friendships... Cat's Eye is remarkable, funny, and serious, brimming with uncanny wisdom."
by Boston Sunday Globe,
"A brilliant, three-dimensional mosaic...the story of Elaine's childhood is so real and heartbreaking you want to stand up in your seat and cheer."
by Los Angeles Times,
"Stunning...Atwood conceives Elaine with a poet's transforming fire; and delivers her to us that way, a flame inside an icicle."
Cat's Eye is the story of Elaine Risley, a controversial painter who returns to Toronto, the city of her youth, for a retrospective of her art. Engulfed by vivid images of the past, she reminisces about a trio of girls who initiated her into the fierce politics of childhood and its secret world of friendship, longing, and betrayal. Elaine must come to terms with her own identity as a daughter, a lover, an artist, and a woman--but above all she must seek release from her haunting memories. Disturbing, hilarious, and compassionate, Cat's Eye is a breathtaking novel of a woman grappling with the tangled knot of her life.
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