Margaret Atwood The Blind Assassin: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780385720953

The Blind Assassin: A Novel

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9780385720953: The Blind Assassin: A Novel
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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Handmaid's Tale

WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE

In The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood weaves together strands of gothic suspense, romance, and science fiction into one utterly spellbinding narrative. The novel begins with the mysterious death—a possible suicide—of a young woman named Laura Chase in 1945. Decades later, Laura’s sister Iris recounts her memories of their childhood, and of the dramatic deaths that have punctuated their wealthy, eccentric family’s history. Intertwined with Iris’s account are chapters from the scandalous novel that made Laura famous, in which two illicit lovers amuse each other by spinning a tale of a blind killer on a distant planet. These richly layered stories-within-stories gradually illuminate the secrets that have long haunted the Chase family, coming together in a brilliant and astonishing final twist.

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Review:

The Blind Assassin is a tale of two sisters, one of whom dies under ambiguous circumstances in the opening pages. The survivor, Iris Chase Griffen, initially seems a little cold-blooded about this death in the family. But as Margaret Atwood's most ambitious work unfolds--a tricky process, in fact, with several nested narratives and even an entire novel-within-a-novel--we're reminded of just how complicated the familial game of hide-and-seek can be:

What had she been thinking of as the car sailed off the bridge, then hung suspended in the afternoon sunlight, glinting like a dragonfly, for that one instant of held breath before the plummet? Of Alex, of Richard, of bad faith, of our father and his wreckage; of God, perhaps, and her fatal, triangular bargain.
Meanwhile, Atwood immediately launches into an excerpt from Laura Chase's novel, The Blind Assassin, posthumously published in 1947. In this double-decker concoction, a wealthy woman dabbles in blue-collar passion, even as her lover regales her with a series of science-fictional parables. Complicated? You bet. But the author puts all this variegation to good use, taking expert measure of our capacity for self-delusion and complicity, not to mention desolation. Almost everybody in her sprawling narrative manages to--or prefers to--overlook what's in plain sight. And memory isn't much of a salve either, as Iris points out: "Nothing is more difficult than to understand the dead, I've found; but nothing is more dangerous than to ignore them." Yet Atwood never succumbs to postmodern cynicism, or modish contempt for her characters. On the contrary, she's capable of great tenderness, and as we immerse ourselves in Iris's spliced-in memoir, it's clear that this buttoned-up socialite has been anything but blind to the chaos surrounding her. --Darya Silver

From the Back Cover:

"The first great novel of the new millennium."
--Newsday

"Absorbing... expertly rendered... Virtuosic storytelling [is] on display."
--The New York Times

"Brilliant... Opulent... Atwood is a poet.... as well as a contriver of fiction, and scarcely a sentence of her quick, dry yet avid prose fails to do useful work, adding to a picture that becomes enormous."
--John Updike, The New Yorker

"Chilling... Lyrical... [Atwood's] most ambitious work to date."
--The Boston Globe

"Hauntingly powerful.... A novel of luminous prose, scalpel-precise insights and fierce characters... Atwood's new work is so assured, so elegant and so incandescently intelligent, she casts her contemporaries in the shade."
--The Atlanta Journal--Constitution

"Grand storytelling on a grand scale... Sheerly enjoyable."
--The Washington Post Book World

"Bewitching... A killer novel.... Atwood's crisp wit and steely realism are reminiscent of Edith Wharton... A wonderfully complex narrative."
--The Christian Science Monitor

"A tour de force."
--Chicago Tribune

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780385475723: The Blind Assassin

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0385475721 ISBN 13:  9780385475723
Publisher: Nan A. Talese, 2000
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9781860498800: The Blind Assassin

Virago..., 2001
Softcover

9780747549376: The Blind Assassin

Blooms..., 2000
Hardcover

9780771008917: The Blind Assassin

Emblem..., 2011
Softcover

9780770428822: The Blind Assassin

Seal, 2001
Softcover

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