Joey Manley's Reviews > The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
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's review
Jan 02, 12

bookshelves: literary, science-fiction
Read in January, 2012

Very well-written, of course, but not the kind of book that inspires passionate advocacy -- or at least, not from me. I figured out the "twist" about 2/3 of the way through, but maybe you're supposed to. I don't know. The hint that tipped me off was pretty heavy-handed, but then the narrator continued to obscure and be coy, so I thought maybe I wasn't supposed to know. Whatever. It's not an O. Henry story -- there's a lot more to it than "twist."

The good: the language itself, the poetic turns of phrase, the stark insights.

The bad: the narrator's passivity amounts to complicity in the events she describes, which is all to be expected, and thematically resonant, and in line with the historical situation of women during the years the story takes place, etc., etc., but also means that it's difficult to like this woman enough to want to spend time with her at all, especially given the length of the book. She's pretty repugnant when you really look at her.


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Reading Progress

12/16/2011 page 75
12.0% "Between readings of her books, I always forget she is Canadian. One doesn't expect it of a writer of her stature."
12/22/2011 page 191
35.0% "Just saw the NYT review of this book by one Thomas Mallon and, man, it seems overly harsh -- even though I haven't finished the book yet, I can tell this guy wasn't being fair. What's up with that?"
12/30/2011 page 315
58.0% "The narrator's voice is startlingly real and powerful. I am not sure if I'm supposed to dislike her as much as I do. Which is a lot."
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