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The Blind Assassin
By Margaret Atwood
Dramatized by Michael O'Brien

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The Blind Assassin

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The Blind Assassin
By Margaret Atwood
Dramatized by Michael O'Brien
BTC Audio Books, 2005
An Imprint of Goose Lane Editions
An Audio Dramatization on 3 CDs
ISBN: 0-86492-401-1
Genre: Fiction

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - January 16, 2006

This audio production of The Blind Assassin, from BTC Audio Books, originally aired on CBC Radio. It is actually a dramatization of the story, written by Margaret Atwood, rather than a straight reading of the original book. Dramatized by Michael O'Brien, this recording captures the true essence of Atwood's book, while also remaining true to the basic story line. This production runs about three hours and features a cast of twenty actors including Patricia Hamilton, Amy Rutherford, Anick Obonsawin, Deborah Pollitt, Tom McCamus, and Fiona Reid.

The Blind Assassin opens with the death of Laura Chase, Iris's sister, in 1945. In a convoluted manner the history of the entire Chase family is explored, along with the lives of Laura and Iris, and those individuals whose lives intersect those of the sisters. By the end of the story, you have an in-depth understanding of the sisters, and you know the real reasons behind Laura's death. As in the novel, this dramatization of the story features a multi-layered mystery that must be uncovered one layer at a time, before you can discover the truth.

Margaret Atwood is a prolific author who is well known for her creativity and fluid prose. She has penned such well received works as The Handmaid's Tale, The Robber Bride, and Oryz and Crake. In The Blind Assassin she again proves that her reputation as an innovative and accomplished author is well earned. The Blind Assassin is a hard book to categorize. It contains several interwoven stories that come together in the fictionalized autobiography of Mrs. Iris Chase Griffen.

This is one novel that you will either love or hate. It is a complicated tale that gained instant status as a literary classic. No matter how you feel about the novel's plot, you will have to acknowledge that the writing is excellent. Best of all, the performance of the actors in this audio production animate the characters, bringing both a sense of reality and emotion that heightens the effect of the story. Atwood really showed the full extent of her writing skills in this intricate tale. This dramatization does full justice to her story and it honors her writing prowess. A must for all Atwood fans!


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