Synopses & Reviews
“Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge.” Thus begins The Blind Assassin
, Margaret Atwood’s internationally acclaimed, Booker Prize-winning novel. Laura Chase’s older sister Iris, married at eighteen to a politically prominent industrialist but now poor and eighty-two, is living in Port Ticonderoga, a town dominated by her once-prosperous family before the First World War. While coping with her now unreliable body, Iris reflects on her far from exemplary life, leading up to the events surrounding her sister’s tragic death. Chief among these was the publication of “The Blind Assassin,” a novel that earned the dead Laura Chase not only notoriety, but also a devoted cult following.
Sexually explicit for its time, “The Blind Assassin” describes a risky affair in the turbulent thirties between a wealthy young woman and a left-leaning man on the run. During their secret meetings in rented rooms and seedy cafés, the lovers concoct a pulp fantasy set on the Planet Zycron. As the invented story twists and turns through love and jealousy, self-sacrifice and betrayal, so does the real one, as events in both move closer to war and catastrophe.
Told by Iris Chase Griffen, The Blind Assassin has the sweep of an epic and the intimate focus of a family drama. By turns lyrical, outrageous, compelling, and funny, this spellbinding novel is at once infused with deep humour and undercurrents of darkness. It is Margaret Atwood at her breathtaking best, and confirms her status as one of the world’s preeminent novelists.
About the Author
Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa in 1939, and grew up in northern Quebec and Ontario, and later in Toronto. She has lived in numerous cities in Canada, the U.S., and Europe. She is the author of more than thirty books – novels, short stories, poetry, literary criticism, social history, and books for children. Atwood’s work is acclaimed internationally and has been published around the world. Her novels include The Handmaid’s Tale and Cat's Eye – both shortlisted for the Booker Prize; The Robber Bride; Alias Grace, winner of the prestigious Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy, and a finalist for the Booker Prize, the Orange Prize, and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; and The Blind Assassin, winner of the Booker Prize. She is the recipient of numerous honors, such as The Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence in the U.K., the National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Literature in the U.S., Le Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France, and she was the first winner of the London Literary Prize. She has received honorary degrees from universities across Canada, and one from Oxford University in England. Margaret Atwood lives in Toronto with novelist Graeme Gibson.