Atwood is a master at conveying the inner landscape of her characters, and her novels are frequently peppered with sharp and incisive social commentary. Adored by both readers and critics, she has published over 40 works, including many books of poetry, and has won countless accolades, including the Booker Prize and the Arthur C. Clarke Award. Cat's Eye, written in 1988, is the story of Elaine, a famous painter who returns to the city where she grew up for a retrospective exhibit of her work. Long flashbacks take the reader back to Elaine's childhood where she endured much emotional torment from her group of friends. Cat's Eye is an uncanny portrayal of how cruel children can be to their peers, the toll it can take on the victims, and how that cruelty echoes on in the mind for years. Atwood brings Elaine's world alive for the reader in vivid and incandescent detail. Recommended By Mary Jo S., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"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." Boston Sunday Globe
"Stunning...Atwood conceives Elaine with a poet's transforming fire; and delivers her to us that way, a flame inside an icicle." Los Angeles Times
About the Author
Margaret Atwood is the author of more than twenty-five books, including fiction, poetry, and essays. Her most recent works include the bestselling novels Alias Grace and The Robber Bride and the collections Wilderness Tips and Good Bones and Simple Murders. She lives in Toronto.
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.