The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin

Book - 2014 | Emblem edition.
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"Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge."

Iris Chase Griffen, married at eighteen to a wealthy industrialist but now poor and eighty-two, recalls her far from exemplary life, and the events leading up to her sister's death, gradually revealing the carefully guarded Chase family secrets. Among these is 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 man on the run. During their secret meetings in rented rooms, the lovers concoct a pulp fantasy set on a distant planet. As the invented story twists through love and sacrifice and betrayal, so does the real one; while events in both move closer to war and catastrophe. By turns lyrical, outrageous, formidable, compelling and funny, this is a novel filled with deep humour and dark drama that comes together in a brilliant and astonishing final twist.
Publisher: Toronto : Emblem Editions, 2014.
Edition: Emblem edition.
ISBN: 9780771008917
Branch Call Number: FIC Atwoo
Characteristics: 635 pages ; 21 cm


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Jun 28, 2019

I have always loved stories where you go back to another time. Like checking out those abandoned houses and wondering what stories lie within. Through this story you become immersed in Iris Chase Griffen's life. The characters of her world come into focus as more information is revealed and as the novel within a novel takes place. A family who on the surface has an unbreakable facade has secrets that anyone would want to keep hidden. By the end I felt so connected with Iris that the end gripped me in sadness. This will be one story that I never forget.

Phil_R Oct 07, 2018

Ugh. I rarely finish a book I don't enjoy, but Atwood strung me along all the way through with the pulp fantasy aspects. Kept hoping 'The Blind Assassin' narrative would take over the dreary biopic details of Iris and Laura. Can someone please tell me which Atwood novels to read if I love the Maddadam trilogy, or was Maddadam just her way of teasing readers with what she is capable of in realms of fantasy?

Leafpeeper May 20, 2018

This is the book for those who appreciate descriptive writing and unpredictable plots. Word choice is flawless. Questions linger until the absolute end.

Mar 02, 2018

I was disappointed in the plodding pace of this book, it reminded me a lot of Alice Hoffman's family tree style of writing. Set in small town Ontario, maybe if you're from a place like that you might enjoy it, but it didn't live up to the "fascinating" reviews it has been given.

Nov 07, 2017

I found it confusing a first but once I figured out that the story was flipping back and forth in time I got into it! It really is a novel within a novel!

Jul 12, 2017

Awesome characters and an intriguing plot by Atwood.

Dec 28, 2016

It's a slow burn, but it's really worth sticking with this book to the end. I ended up loving it.

Jun 20, 2016

Absolutely my favorite book by Ms. Atwood.

Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Dec 01, 2015

This is going to sound flip, and I don't mean it to, but: you know the emoji with the heart eyes? That was me, the entire time I was reading this spectacular book. It's just as feminist as Atwood's other works like "The Handmaid's Tale", but in a different and more subtle way. It is a delicate balancing act of a book, featuring a story within a story within a story (phew!), as well as an intriguing puzzle at its heart. The further readers venture into the book, the more they realize that they don't know about the book, and they come to realize that key assumptions they made are wrong. It's a heartbreaking book, and the two women at its heart -- sisters Iris and Laura -- are not always likable. They lead hard lives in which awful things happen to them, and this is because they are women born into a society at a time when women were expected to be merely decorative objects and nothing more. And yet, the book is still not entirely bleak -- it's sad, and the ending isn't happy, but it feels too meaningful and insightful to be written off as merely a depressing read. The writing is beautiful -- there were passages I read multiple times, just to savor them -- and the characterization is so razor sharp and insightful that I half-expected the characters to leap off the page and into the real world and start speaking to me. It's an incredible, beautiful gem of a book, and it deserves the Booker Prize that it won, and every other word of praise that came its way. Reading this was one of the most moving reading experiences I've had all year. A difficult, challenging read -- but worth it, more so than I can possibly express. It's one of those books that makes you feel privileged, as a reader, to get to experience the joy of reading it. Lovely from start to finish.

Jun 30, 2015

Book Club 8/26/15

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SPL_STARR Jun 16, 2015

"Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge."

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