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The Blind Assassin
By Margaret Atwood

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The Blind Assassin

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The Blind Assassin
Large Print Edition
By Margaret Atwood
Random House Large Print (2000)
ISBN: 0-375-43085-7
Genre: Fiction

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - April 18, 2001

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 and The Robber Bride. 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.

The Blind Assassin opens with the death of Laura Chase, Iris's sister, in 1945. Rather than telling the tale chronologically, Atwood has elected to jump around in time. In a convoluted manner she explores the history of the entire Chase family, 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. Along the way you are treated to an ongoing science fiction serial about blind assassins and sacrificial virgins, which would be well accepted as an independent novel, in its own right.

This is one novel that you will either love or hate. It is a complicated tale and some readers may find the time jumps disconcerting and annoying. No matter how you feel about the novel's plot, the writing is excellent. Atwood really shows the full extent of her writing skills in this intricate tale. Throughout, she expertly changed the dialogue and the nuances of the characters to fit the period of time in which the narrative took place. She also interwove the various genres contained in the story, science fiction, mystery, biography, so seamlessly that you may not be aware that you are actually reading two novels at once. This book is destined to find its way into many literature classes, and has every possibility of becoming a classic.


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