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Archive > December Group Read (2015) - The Blind Assassin

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message 1: by Maxwell (last edited Nov 23, 2015 08:04AM) (new)

Maxwell (welldonebooks) | 375 comments Mod
Hello all! I'm very pleased to announce that the chosen novel for December is Margaret Atwood's 2000 winner The Blind Assassin. I'm particularly excited for this one, as I'm a massive Atwood fan.

As usual, we will be reading this through the whole month of December and holding discussions in this forum. Just remember to warn before spoiling. Otherwise enjoy, and have a great time reading and discussing. :]


message 2: by Robert (new)

Robert | 363 comments Oh yesss - it's the only booker winner from the 00's which I haven't read! the book has been on my shelf since 2012 so i'm looking forward.

As for Line of Beauty - i don't mind reading it in January.


message 3: by Neil (new)

Neil | 511 comments Cool. And only £1.99 on Amazon in UK at the moment for Kindle!

I would be very happy to go with Line of Beauty for January's choice. I could tell the two were very close in the votes and I was looking forward to a re-read of that.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Looking forward to that, hoping to get it from the library in due time.


message 5: by Britta (new)

Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
Oh, great, I am looking forward to this! Happy reading everyone!


message 6: by MichelleG (new)

MichelleG (michellegreiss) | 20 comments That sounds great, I'll pick up both books together and save on postage :)


message 7: by Cataluna6 (new)

Cataluna6 | 18 comments Perfect - I started reading Blind Assassin in October, but put it down to catch up on other things. I'd be happy to read Line of Beauty in January.


message 8: by Kerry (new)

Kerry Hunter (kerryelizabeth) | 6 comments I've been meaning to read this one for a while!


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Line of Beauty sounds good for January. I just picked up a copy of The Blind Assassin from a charity shop a few weeks ago. This will be my first Atwood. Excited!


message 10: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 17 comments I got my copy of the Blind Assassin from a charity shop a few weeks ago too - a 50p bargain! My first Atwood too - it is one of the books in my 2016 "52 books in a year" reading challenge. I might have to read it slowly so that I finish it in January 2016 to qualify!


message 11: by Maxwell (new)

Maxwell (welldonebooks) | 375 comments Mod
Just a reminder that our group read of The Blind Assassin begins tomorrow! I'm really looking forward to reading & discussing it with you all!


message 12: by Anne (new)

Anne  (annwiththee) | 11 comments I got my copy yesterday! :) I'm really looking forward to this one because I feel kind of bad for abandoning Last month's read. I hope I receive this one well!


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

I am ready, looking forward to my first read with this group.


message 14: by Giulia (new)

Giulia (giuguatteri) | 9 comments My usual library lost its copy/someone misplaced it, so I'll pick it up from another library tomorrow.
I'm excited to discuss this one with you all, it will also be my first Margaret Atwood and I'm really looking forward to start reading it!


message 15: by Neil (new)

Neil | 511 comments Nearly ready - 120 pages of Against The Day to go. Looking forward to starting this later in the week and joining in with the discussion.


message 16: by Clara (new)

Clara (shereadslit) | 6 comments I'm really looking forward to reading and discussing this one with you all. I picked up a copy the other day for just £2! (Yay). Happy reading everyone :)


message 17: by Sue (new)

Sue | 1 comments Just checked out a copy from the library and patiently waiting for it to arrive...really looking forward to my first readalong with a book club!! :-)


message 18: by Robert (new)

Robert | 363 comments Due to a load of work that will be cropping up by mid December, I had to start the book early. I am now halfway through and I cannot stop reading it. I'm itching to discuss some plot aspects with all of you!

Definitely Atwood at her best.


message 19: by Britta (last edited Dec 02, 2015 01:19AM) (new)

Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
I just started last night and I feel that it's a bit of a pity that I know so much about the novel already (especially about who tells which story). Still, Atwood's writing is lovely. And I do enjoy the scifi-parts, although I agree with some critics that they are quite long and detailed. Curious to hear what you all think about it.


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

I am off to a slow start, page 26, and a little confused. I like the fantasy-story, the rest is a blur at this time.


message 21: by Robert (last edited Dec 02, 2015 01:51AM) (new)

Robert | 363 comments The writing is ace. In fact I was going to read the book in small 20 page bursts but i'm even trying to read a chapter during work! I just HAVE to know how things will tie up.


message 22: by Neil (new)

Neil | 511 comments Aargh! You are all making me frustrated that I won't be starting this until Friday! Determined to finish Against The Day first (just 60 pages to go so plan to finish tonight!) and am away for work tomorrow with dinner out in the evening, so no reading at all tomorrow.


message 23: by Kay (new)

Kay | 71 comments I read this book a few months ago and thoroughly enjoyed it - the weaving of the two (almost three) different stories kept the mystery going for most of the book for me in a really good way. Looking forward to see what other people think.


message 24: by thePNWDame (new)

thePNWDame Just picked up my copy for the library today. Happy reading!


message 25: by MichelleG (new)

MichelleG (michellegreiss) | 20 comments My copy just arrived in the post, can't wait to start reading :)


message 26: by Maxwell (new)

Maxwell (welldonebooks) | 375 comments Mod
Just finished the first 50 pages, and I'm really intrigued. I have absolutely no idea what this book is about going in, which I think really helps contribute to its overall mysteriousness. The first 10 pages or so were rather confusing, but now that I'm situated in the story more, I'm feeling comfortable and excited to read more.

Iris's character reminds me of Elaine from Atwood's Cat's Eye in a way--that elderly woman reflecting on her state of being old as well as on her younger years. Can't wait to read on!


message 27: by thePNWDame (new)

thePNWDame Might be some late night reading in my plans tonight


message 28: by Paula (new)

Paula | 131 comments Having already read this Booker winner, I want to encourage you all in your own adventure with Atwood. Our last book was also a re-read for me. But I don't mind when the story is so good. I'm busy with many projects right now, but have made a good start. Looking forward to getting further into it. I remember enjoying it a great deal last time.


message 29: by thePNWDame (new)

thePNWDame The opening paragraph tho! Love it!


message 30: by thePNWDame (new)

thePNWDame The opening paragraph tho! Love it!


message 31: by Paula (new)

Paula | 131 comments Monty wrote: "The opening paragraph tho! Love it!"

The 'hook' by the author should always prompt such a response by the reader!


message 32: by Robert (new)

Robert | 363 comments Maxwell wrote: "Just finished the first 50 pages, and I'm really intrigued. I have absolutely no idea what this book is about going in, which I think really helps contribute to its overall mysteriousness. The firs..."

yeah it's something Atwood does a lot. I feel that The Blind Assassin is where all the 'Atwoodian' elements of her past novels reach a culmination point.


message 33: by Neil (new)

Neil | 511 comments I just had time to read the first, I think, 13 pages last night. What an intriguing start! Intriguing in that I am already wondering about the stories of the characters I've met. And intriguing in that the structure look fascinating. Is some of the cleverness of the writing/structure going to remind me of Ali Smith? This is my first experience of Atwood.


message 34: by Britta (new)

Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
Maxwell wrote: "Just finished the first 50 pages, and I'm really intrigued. I have absolutely no idea what this book is about going in, which I think really helps contribute to its overall mysteriousness. The firs..."

Yes, absolutely! I am really sad that I cant enjoy the mysteriousness because I've heard so much about the book already. They should ban spoilers from official reviews :-)


message 35: by Britta (new)

Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
Aother 25 pages last night. And I was chuckling all the time, Atwood has such a great humor...


message 36: by Giulia (new)

Giulia (giuguatteri) | 9 comments I read about 25 pages and I have to say I'm quite confused by the plot line. Anyway, I find it incredibly intriguing and i can't wait to read more.


message 37: by Robert (new)

Robert | 363 comments just finished it - what a STUNNING novel. There's a lot to discuss. Can't wait!!


message 38: by Britta (new)

Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
Am about a quarter into the book, and the pacing is rather slow now, after a whirlwind start. Am a bit doubtful whether its necessary to give quite so much background information about Iris' family. But I enjoy the casual writing- style and getting to know Laura and Iris. What to think of the scifi-part and its purpose? Not sure yet... But I am looking foward to finding out more about the people of Zycron.


message 39: by Kris (new)

Kris (kmell33) I have had it on my shelf for quite a while and started reading it last night. Looking forward to it.


message 40: by Maxwell (new)

Maxwell (welldonebooks) | 375 comments Mod
Ya know, I'm not sure what it is about these books (first God of Small Things, now this one), but I'm having a really hard time getting through them! I usually love Man Booker winners--hence, why I created this group. But both have been a real struggle for me. I just am really bored by this one, which I didn't expect as Atwood is one of my favorite writers. The disconnect between the two storylines is making it difficult to stay interested. I tend to get frustrated switching back and forth like that. Because I'd rather focus on one storyline that I'm really enjoying. But hopefully it improves. If anyone has read it or is farther along than I am (30% through), let me know when things start to connect more or the pace picks up some. Thanks!


message 41: by Britta (last edited Dec 05, 2015 09:26AM) (new)

Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
Maxwell wrote: "Ya know, I'm not sure what it is about these books (first God of Small Things, now this one), but I'm having a really hard time getting through them! I usually love Man Booker winners--hence, why I..."

Had the same problems… But I stuck with it and the pace does pick up in the second half. Although I still keep struggeling a bit with the elaborate descriptions of Iris' 1930ies life, I like the 2nd half much better. So: dont give up just yet!


message 42: by Neil (new)

Neil | 511 comments This is encouraging! I was really intrigued by the first few chapters, but then it settled down into a load a family history and I started to wonder how long it was going to plod on for. For me, I love the mixing of stories, although I know it's not everyone's taste. Maybe I will discover a point to all the family stuff.


message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

Good to know Britta :-)


message 44: by Maxwell (new)

Maxwell (welldonebooks) | 375 comments Mod
Britta wrote: "Maxwell wrote: "Ya know, I'm not sure what it is about these books (first God of Small Things, now this one), but I'm having a really hard time getting through them! I usually love Man Booker winne..."

Yes, thanks Britta, that is encouraging! I will push through it.


message 45: by Maxwell (new)

Maxwell (welldonebooks) | 375 comments Mod
*possible spoilers* you've been warned:


I just read about 100 pages in a sitting, and I will say I'm starting to enjoy it more. I much prefer the parts where Iris is reflecting on her youth, more than the blind assassin chapters. But I'm curious now to see how I feel about those after such a long stretch spent with Iris talking about Alex, the Depression and her getting married off.

One thing that I had a problem with for the first 150 pages or so was how Iris seemed to have no personality, and all of her major concerns were with Laura. But as we learn more about their childhood, family life and general plight, I am starting to sympathize more with Iris. She seems to be lifeless because she was always tasked with being the golden child, to be the 'son' that her father never had. Also she has a lot more personality as an elderly woman, which makes me think something is going to happen that lights a fire in her. I'm interested to see where the story goes now.


message 46: by Britta (last edited Dec 06, 2015 11:41PM) (new)

Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
I finished the book yesterday, and started reading it again last night. And its worth it! Especially the Blind Assassin-novel within & the scifi parts within that make much more sense the 2nd time around. The first time I read too fast & missed a lot of the references / parallels to the 'real story' and the 'real world' made in the scifi part.


message 47: by [deleted user] (new)

hashtag Booker rereads! ;)


message 48: by [deleted user] (new)

hashtag Booker rereads! ;)


message 49: by Kay (new)

Kay | 71 comments Britta wrote: "I finished the book yesterday, and started reading it again last night. And its worth it! Especially the Blind Assassin-novel within & the scifi parts within that make much more sense the 2nd time ..."


As I have read this book before, I was going to encourage you all to keep reading - all the stories will connect at the end. But Britta just made my point when you immediately started rereading it :)


message 50: by Maxwell (new)

Maxwell (welldonebooks) | 375 comments Mod
I just laughed out loud at the line, "The French are connoisseurs of sadness, they know all the kinds. This is why they have bidets." Atwood is hilarious.


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