The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin is an award-winning novel by Canadian writer, Margaret Atwood, and it is also the title of the novel written by one of the characters in the novel by Margaret Atwood.   But not only that, the blind assassin is a character in the story told by one of the characters in novel, The Blind Assassin, written by one of the characters in the novel, The Blind Assassin, written by Margaret Atwood.

Don’t worry, the story isn’t as confusing as it sounds.

The Blind Assassin is a story within a story, within a story.  First, and mainly, it is a story of two sisters, Laura and Iris Chase, sheltered and pampered daughters of a once successful and wealthy industrialist who eventually loses everything due to changing times.

Second, The Blind Assassin is the title of the novel written by Laura Chase, about two unnamed lovers in an illicit affair – meeting in secret, away from the prying eyes of the woman’s family and from those on the lookout for the mysterious man.

Third, the mysterious man in Laura Chase’s novel, The Blind Assassin, weaves a cheap, fantastical tale of about  aliens, slaves, man-eating zombie women and young boys and girls who were former tapestry weavers turned prostitutes, turned assassins, to entertain his lover during their trysts.

Atwood’s The Blind Assassin is divided into chapters which alternate between the story of the Chase sisters and the story of the two lovers in Laura Chase’s The Blind Assassin, telling each other stories.

In the beginning, this alternating style gives the novel a disjointed, slightly confusing, flow,  but the meaning behind the stories become clearer as the novel progresses, until finally, the three parts of the novel come together nicely in the end.

The short chapters of the novel reveal information a little at a time, leaving readers guessing and wanting more.  Though I enjoyed the three stories of the novel separately and as a whole (yes, even the trashy sci-fi/fantasy creation of Laura Chase’s character), I found the novel to be quite predictable.

As I worked my way toward the end of the novel, I was hoping there would be more to the story than what I had already guessed.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t, and I was able to come to all the right conclusions on my own before the real author, Margaret Atwood, revealed the secrets of her novel.  The big twist in the end I was waiting for to throw me for a loop never happened, and I was a bit disappointed.

That said, I still enjoyed the novel immensely, because as the saying goes, most of the time, the journey is  much more interesting than the actual destination.

2 thoughts on “The Blind Assassin

  1. This book sounds interesting. I’ve read some of Atwood’s other books and really enjoyed them (they were the closest thing to light reading that my university library had in college). My favorite was “Cat’s Eye,” which you might also like.

    • Thanks. Yes, it’s an interesting book which will keep you hooked ’til the end. I’ve also read another one of her books, The Penelopiads, which is a modern re-telling of Homer’s The Odyssey. Quite interesting as well. I will definitely try Cat’s Eye the next time I’m in the mood for some Margaret Atwood. I hope you end up liking The Blind Assassin when you get around to reading it.

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