A novel within a novel, within a novel…within a novel. Only Margaret Atwood could do this. That’s my conclusion, at least.
Published in 200 by Anchor Books, The Blind Assassin, is a book with countless different dynamics and unexpected twists. To be completely honest, I didn’t like the book for a long time and forced myself to continue to the end. By the last few chapters, as all the pieces came to a beautiful fit, I realized the true genius of the book.
The characters are well described and very real. So real, they are almost unlikeable. The antagonists of the book are extra unbearable and I found myself actually shocked at the brutality at some points.
The narrator for one part of the novel is elderly Iris, who is writing her memoirs. The parts with her in present day are laboriously slow and overly descriptive, which seems to match the mobility of the character. Her flashbacks (in the memoir) are more fast paced and interesting. Then, the novel “The Blind Assassin,” written by her sister, Laura, is intertwined with the story. Within the Blind Assassin, the male character weaves his own stories, science fiction in the 40s.
The language and ideas are wonderful and the way it all comes together are golden, if you are able to persevere through the first half, which can get dull, confusing and irritating. The main character’s flaws bothered me for a long time, but she redeemed herself later on, thankfully.
Overall, this is a book worth reading and contemplating. After you forget the chore of getting the final chapters, you will revel in the masterpiece of the story.