Andy's Reviews > The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
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's review
May 30, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: love-stories, fiction, sci-fi-fantasy
Read in May, 2011

This book had its ups and downs, and I thought it was kind of a tweener between 3-star and 4-star land, but I ended up giving it the benefit of the doubt. It alternates between two stories: one narrated by an old woman recounting the life of her sister, who killed herself in her twenties, and one which follows the trysts of a man on the run from authorities and a wealthy woman who sneaks from her house to meet him.

The sister story itself tends to alternate between the actual retelling and the reminiscences of the narrator in present day. The latter I really could have done without. It's repetitive (how many times does she visit the Chase graves?) and loaded with too much wist and sad little throwaway observations that form a serious drag on the book. I think if these segments were reduced by half, if not three-quarters, the book would be much better.

That's really it for the criticism; the sister story itself is pretty good, emotional in a stately and somber way, and the lovers' story is more exciting and fun. The image of the blind assassin himself is a great one, cruel and bitter and sad swallowed all as one drink. The ending was moving and satisfying to read even if you figure out how it'll happen.
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