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The Blind Assassin Hardcover – Jan 1 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Nan A. Talese (2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385475721
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385475723
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 16.3 x 23.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 975 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (220 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #561,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on July 16 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having stuck it out through thick and thin with this sometimes complex and twisty novel, I can now truly say the experiene was rewarding. Margaret Atwood once again lives up to her reputation as one of Canada's finest fictional writers. This novel is one of those rare works that effectively blends form and content to provide an entertaining and instructive story about life in high society in southern Ontario during the 20th century. The structure - the multiple-layering of stories - takes a little sorting out, but when the big picture finally emerges halfway through the book, the reader will be rewarded with a very clear understanding of Atwood's working philosophy. The plot is mainly about the two Chase sisters growing up together in the town of Port Ticonderoga during the 1920s. They are members of a wealthy family who during the Great Depression fall on hard times and virtually lose everthing. The moments together during the good and bad times are told much later as the older sibling, Iris, reflects on the life they once lived together and how it eventually fell apart because of circumstances beyond their control. Her reflective account grapples with why she and Laura, once so inseparable, eventually drifted apart and went their own separate tragic ways. Included in this tale are moments of intrigue, love, fantasy, injustice and tragedy, all cleverly woven together around a theme that is found in many of Atwood's writings: the incredible dominating power of the male sex drive to limit and control women. These two women unfortunately fall into the clutches of Richard Griffen, an up-and-coming political star, who marries the older one to enhance his public image while sexually exploiting the younger one.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 6 2002
Format: Paperback
I love Margaret Atwood (except for the occasional clunker she's come out with - a/k/a "Life Before Man", "Surfacing" and "Bodily Harm") and was very much looking forward to her latest. And, up until the last chapter or so, she did not disappoint. I was mesmerized (I even willingly read the story-within-a-story, and I loathe science fiction tales of any type) Unfortunately, though, it seems as though Atwood was writing on a deadline, or perhaps had run out of ideas. Certainly, toward the end, the story became a bit muddled and, surprisingly, left many plot holes:...
Additionally, the language, which up to the book's climax, had been of sterling Atwood quality ("... can never stop howling") somehow becomes short and stilted. "We were lovers, you see, in secret..." When I got to that line, I had a very difficult time equating it with any other dialogue in the book. It was too blunt, too sharp and failed to blend well with the rest of the writing (I thought of several other ways in which the author could have played that scene... definitely in a much gentler manner more in keeping with her prose)
And finally, the narrator's obsession with death and "being a skull", etc. was just a bit too much after a while. Yes, we know she has health problems, we know she's elderly... but does the reader have to be beaten over the head with such blatant morbidity?
All in all, I felt a great deal of what was otherwise a wonderful story fell through the cracks and that much space was wasted on Alex's sci-fi tale (yes, I saw the correlations between the characters and the story; however, I felt that the Xenon story could easily have been cut by two-thirds and still have made a point).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By THX1138b on May 20 2002
Format: Paperback
A story within a story within a story. The novelist writting about a woman writting about a novelist (her sister) and we get the sister's novel to boot and guess what? _That_ novel is about an author. My, my.
The idea is hardly new, but Atwood brings it off very well.
The problem is that none of the stories going simultaneously in this lengthly novel are all that interesting. It's just a tad preachy and I find Margaret's stretching to put at least one pithy, quotable phrase on each page a bit tiresome. Though she has a humorus streak throughout this.
Half way through you know what's coming, no fault in and of itself, but getting to the end is not rewarding.
I'll wait for the film. THAT could be something!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S.P. Harrison on April 15 2002
Format: Paperback
I began The Blind Assassin with great hopes and finished it greatly disappointed. The story-within-a-story-within-a-story is awkward and, until the end of the book, lacked continuity. Even disregarding that form, I found the substance of the book lacking in meaning and depth, and devoid of issues to consider. Having finished the book, I am at a loss at to why the author wrote it. I do not know what I am supposed to take away with me. Thus, I certainly cannot explain to you why you should read it. Further, the characters were one-dimensional and I cared little for them. The narrator Iris is unbelieveable as portrayed; throughout the book she is a character who allows others to make important decisions for her. After she learns a terrible secret regarding her husband's unfaithfulness, the reader is supposed to believe that Iris has the gumption and the intelligence to respond in a way that I simply found unbelieveable. Other main characters -- her sister, her husband, and her sister-in-law, are likewise portrayed in a way I found contrary to human experience...they are like cardboard people. When I finished the book, I felt empty, I felt like I had endured a long novel with the result of having nothing to show for it. Worst, I felt alienated by the author, whom I felt had achieved a feat of writing a novel of complex form, at the expense of alienating me, the reader.
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