Review – Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin
Much like her other novels, Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin is a masterpiece. It is a bit difficult to read at first but once you succeed in developing a relationship with her characters, you will not be able to put this wonderful book down.
This postmodern gem is a novel within a novel. What this means is fairly obvious: a story within a story. But Atwood manages to take this to a whole new level. She makes this a story within a story within a story. The reader has to dig deep to get to the novel that gave this piece of art its title. The actual story of the blind assassin seems to be only tertiary as far as the main story-line is concerned. Still, this seemingly less important narrative is the one that is used to give the whole of the novel its title. We can only guess the reason behind this. In my opinion, this innermost story is the one that symbolizes the inner life of the main character, her secret life that she can only live in her own mind. In some respect, she herself is the blind assassin because she lives her life completely blind-sighted, making naive decisions (or not making any decisions at all) that have irrevocable consequences for the people in her life.
The metaphor of blindness, as I see it, is closely connected to the idea of unspoken words, the words that are only thought but never said, the words that have more weight than any other hastily uttered half phrase or sentence.
Although Margaret Atwood is a master of words, what makes this novel so special is exactly what remains unsaid, unwritten, what is only suggested.
This novel wasn’t my favourite Margaret Atwood novel, but it did make me think about life, relationships and about the legacy that we leave behind. It’s hard for me to decide whether it deserves a Five or a Four Fox rating… I will have to day that, because there were other books of Atwood’s (the MadAddam trilogy, for example) that impressed me beyond words, I will give this one a Four Fox rating. 😊
Questions to Ponder
How did you like this novel?
What do you think about the title? Why do you think Atwood chose to use this title instead of any other?
What do you think about Laura and Iris’s relationship?
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