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A Goodreads user asked:

Almost two years later and I still cannot finish this book. I am more than half way through, but I just can't finish it. Why, oh why? It's been picked up and abandoned multiple times. I'm not sure if the reason is because the story moves too slowly for my taste or if the dialogue is putting me off. Should I continue? For those who have read this book, does the ending make up for the first half?

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Chel I'd suggest you just let it go. I loved this book -- I read it twice and thought it was delicious all the way through. This book is not *about* the ending -- the ending just serves as a way to tie all the loose ends together. So if you aren't already loving it halfway through, it isn't your cup of tea. Life is short. Spend it with a book you like better.
Jami The ending does indeed make up for the first half. It took me ages to finish as well. Think of it as your great grandmother planning to tell you all the dirty family secrets you've suspected for ages, but she's a bit dingy and keeps getting sidetracked. Once I got past the middle I couldn't put it down. "JUST TELL ME, OLD LADY! WHAT HAPPENED?" And she does, eventually, at the very end. It's all the more rich and satisfying a tale, because of all that tangential stuff Grandma Iris kept throwing in there.
Nenya I'd recommend to skip the middle and read from part thirteen 'Gloves' all the way to the end. Then you can go back and read the rest, if you feel like it. I typically prefer to know what's coming, and know all the spoilers beforehand so I don't get upset when the book turns out worse than how I feel it should :).

The ending is quite good. But I don't think it made up for the rest of it.
Melody I tell everyone that I spent about 1.5 years picking up this book, putting it down, listening to it on audio, trying again with reading, and it didn't get going until 1/2- 2/3s through the book. At that point, I couldn't put it down (a stark contrast to the times before, where I just couldn't get into it). The payoff was worth it for me; questions answered, and I ended up rereading the entire thing multiple times to re-read hints and foreshadowing that completely went over my head the first time around. That said, if you are over the halfway point, it may be time to let it go. Chel said it well: Life is short, and there are tons of books out there. I should have followed that instinct with Grisham's King of Torts (ugh, terrible book), but I didn't and felt like my time was wasted.
Gerlinde Yes in my opinion it does. I had to read it for my study, so I wasn't able to put it down, but like you I had difficulty getting through the first half. The second half interested me a lot more, the reading was easier, I was more hooked I suppose. And the ending is quite good, not what I expected at all.
KATHLEEN You know what I did? I read a few chapters of "The Blind Assassin," meaning the book within the book. And then I just gave up on that part, skimmed it, but carefully read the story surrounding it. I found that part much more to my taste.
Jared Gulian I had the same problem. I wanted to love this book, but it moved too slowly. I gave up halfway through.
Anna C I agree, I was surprisingly bored. I mean, I was taking a class on early American literature at the time... and I was still bored. The ending is nice-though I didn't think "the twist" was at all surprising- but I agree that the beginning is difficult to slog through.
Roz I have this book in my personal library and have yet to read it. I also have "Cats Eye" by Atwood and I could not finish it either. I tried but I was so bored by the endless talk of every conceivable moment of her childhood. Now I am reluctant to read "The Blind Assassin" per the reviews here. Talk about slow!
Kumari de Silva I had the same problem. I'm embarrassed to admit how long I have owned this book. My kind older brother bought it for me hardback when it first came out because I told him "The Edible Woman" (by Atwood) is the funniest book I ever read. And I read a lot, so that impressed him. But this book? Gosh I keep putting it down and picking it up, the structure is kind of off putting - I like the comment by reviewer Jami who said:

"Think of it as your great grandmother planning to tell you all the dirty family secrets you've suspected for ages, but she's a bit dingy and keeps getting sidetracked. Once I got past the middle I couldn't put it down. "JUST TELL ME, OLD LADY! WHAT HAPPENED?"

I think this advice will enable me to finally finish!
Deb I didn't mind the pace so much because I knew that I was being led through layers of history, like an paleontologist through limestone. What I struggled with was the character of Iris herself through the first half of the book, and her passive acceptance of everything that came to her. It's hard when there's no character you identify with. (Actually, I identified more with Laura and would have liked to hear more of her side.) I confess I speed-read a bit to get through some of the denser parts. Always, the incredible writing and turn of phrase compelling me to keep going. Into the second half, however, I had to keep reading to find out how the layers would resolve. In the end, I felt it was worth it. But I agree with Chet - if you're not loving it, let it go.
Rene I just finished this book. It took about a month. I find Atwood's language in this consuming and satisfying but I also found the first 75% slow going and melancholy. I like Jami's take in thinking of it as the exposure of dirty family secrets - that is certainly what happens. The last quarter revealed much about the characters, especially Iris. But I also found that while 'dirty secrets' were revealed, these were in a somewhat ambiguous context. I thought I'd missed something and tried to backtrack. I didn't feel it all tied seamlessly together and felt that Iris, as the writer of her story deliberately mislead us until the last few chapters.....weird to feel this way as the writing and descriptives I was in awe of.
Andrew Chel says it well.
Francis Deer I bought this book when it came out. I started it multiple times and never got a certain point in the story. Now, about 20 years later, I took it from the shelf and read it through from start to finish in 5 days - I was hooked by the story and the way all its parts were so cleverly connected, but mostly I loved Iris's narrating voice and discovering the tiny clues as to the final reveal. (I guess part of the reveal early on, but not the second twist.)

As for your question: Sometimes, it just takes a while until a book speaks to us. So perhaps you'll connect to this novel later in your life.

p.s. I also picked up the audiobook and can highly recommend it. It's beautifully read.
Charles Nelson Read the last 20 pages and all will be answered. I sure wish I had done this at about page 150.
Alasandra Alawine I managed to finish it but I did find it slow going. The ending was good but not earth shattering.
Alex I am in the same boat! I love Atwoods writing but this book just isn't doing it for me..
M. Torres I am having the same problem. I love Margaret Atwood but I am having so much trouble figuring this book out. I find myself skipping through the 'Blind Assassin' novel parts and only reading the normal chapters. Seems like an odd way to develop a story.
Anubha I am right there. I've been struggling off and on with this book for the past year. I finally picked it up again last week and this time I persisted and I can say that it's worth it in some ways. Yes, the narrator keeps getting side-tracked, yes the prose moves at a snail's pace sometimes and you are annoyed when the story of the novel within the novel is interrupted abruptly by the endless ramblings of the old Iris, but it's also full of interesting layers that are satisfying to peel. The second half does pick up pace.
Sandy I'm only a third way into it and I'm considering giving up too. It's been on my pile of 'to read' books for years but I'm just not loving it. I even tried the Audible version (that sometimes works when I''m struggling to love a book). I might simply give in and try to shrink my book pile down a little quicker.
Anita I was like you, took me a long time to ready through it. I kept reading and hoping it will get better. Extremely disappointed. The so called "Twist", wasn't a surprise for me since I had already guessed it half way through the book. Not my kind of book. Extremely slow and cynical. It's like talking to an elderly relative with dementia...!
Naima Major About to let it go but eager for that ending. Will probably slog on thru. The mystery makes me want to continue. I read simultaneously so I'll put Atwood down, pick up Ferrante, finish Slaughter and so on.
Apple Van vliet Hey! Wow. yeah, me too! Same situation, though i only tried once and have been meaning to try again... but i'm of the mind that I need to let it go for now and one morning i'll wake up and just...really want to get through it.
Brian Audiobook it.
That's what I did for the first 75% of it.

My first Atwood book, am excited to read more.
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by Margaret Atwood (Goodreads Author)
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