21st Century Literature discussion

The Blind Assassin
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2016 Book Discussions > The Blind Assassin - Whole Book Discussion, Spoilers Allowed (October 2016)

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Ernie (ewnichols) | 58 comments This thread is for discussion of sections VIII through XV and the book in its entirety.

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2713 comments Mod
OK, I have finished the book and written a review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

I tried to avoid putting any spoilers in the review, but I thought the overall construction was very clever. It was clear fairly early on that the idea that Laura and Alex were having secret meetings was implausible, partly because of chronological clues and partly because it is clear that the narrator of the book within a book has greater access to money and material things than Laura would have done. So I did guess about two thirds of the way through that Iris was the narrator of both parts, but other twists were equally well hidden without making the whole any less convincing. The apparently dreary details of Iris's life in old age also seemed absolutely necessary to establish her account's credibility.

I was also surprised by how much wry humour I found in the book, and how perceptive many of the details are. An exceptional book - thanks for suggesting it Ernie.

Ernie (ewnichols) | 58 comments Great review, Hugh. I read it while on vacation, but I never commented. Definitely will be reading more Atwood. There are so many more to go!

I'm not quite sure when I started thinking that Iris was narrating both parts, but it definitely hit me I want to say about two thirds as well. I find it interesting though because there were times when I was almost reading the sections as separate stories in my mind, when in fact, it is all related. I think reading it that way is a problem, and I'm glad my mind made the switch, but it was all just natural. I read in an interview with Atwood that apparently it was really obvious she was the narrator the whole time if you were paying attention, even from the very beginning. It makes me want to re-read it, and perhaps this is part of how it had the Man Booker judges going back for more. There's so much in this novel, and it's quite brilliant how she put it all together.

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2713 comments Mod
Thanks for moderating the discussion Ernie

Nastasya | 20 comments What I loved about The Blind Assassin was how it's virtually a little Russian doll set of stories. A tale told between lovers within a fictional novel within the actual book.
It also has one of my favourite exchanges, ever:
'Where were we? I've forgotten.'
'He was deciding whether to cut her throat or love her forever.'
'Right. Yes. The usual choices.' (page 324)

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