Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood is a well crafted novel, layering stories in slices until it all comes together in the end. Moving from a straight first person narrative to newspaper clippings to passages from a novel written by one of the characters, the story unfolds wonderfully. Where this novel failed for me is Atwood’s use of foreshadowing metaphor. The few surprises there should have been at the end were so heavy handed, the symbolism more a slap than subtle, that I knew every plot twist long before it came. I could say more but to do so would be to include spoilers in this review, something I try to avoid doing. But if the book had not been so well written my frustration with the ending would have made me angry. I think if I had read it faster, had less time to think about the obvious foreshadowing of events and images, I would have been a little more surprised by how the last few chapters reveal the narrative truths. And with all of this, I can recommend this book to anyone who wants a satisfying conclusion, one that grows naturally and inevitably from the content. The final twists may have been predictable for me but if you don’t over-think as you read you may find them surprising and definitely satisfying. I do wish I’d had the foresight to use a blank index card as a bookmark so I could have written down some of the more amusing or interesting lines in the novel. It has some great quotable lines.

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