From what I’ve heard, people either love Margaret Atwood or hate her after reading one of her books. I haven’t heard of many people in the middle ground, but maybe they’re just not as vocal.
As I mentioned before, this is my second Atwood novel. I loved The Edible Woman, after reading it for a college class. I loved The Blind Assassin more.
The best thing about The Blind Assassin is the three different ways shes uses to tell the story of the Chase family and their downfall. You read their story through the actual novel narrated by one of the main characters, and a novel within the novel (the complete novel “The Blind Assassin” that one of the story’s fictional characters wrote and which has become a classic inside the plot). You read a few chapters of the “real” novel, and then a few from the “fake” classic novel. Both stories are supplemented throughout with news articles from the characters’ lives. It sounds confusing, and it does take a few chapters to get used to, but it works very well and makes the entire work tremendously unique.
I’m always impressed when a writer creates an complex, wonderful narrator who is old. It’s amazing when they can put the reader directly inside the thoughts and feelings of an elderly person, in a very believable way. Most of us (if we’re lucky) are going to grow to be quite old, and old age is not something most of us want to think about. We don’t want to think about the time when our bodies will start working against us, no longer seeming to be on our team. The time when most of the population views you as worthless, redundant, or a burden. But this happens and it seems best that we read and think about it now. It also seems that so few books have elderly narrators. It impresses me because anyone can write about youth… we’ve all been through it. True old age is something even writers in their 50s and 6os haven’t experienced personally yet.Another wonderful book that has a narrator who is very old is Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen.
Back to the point: The Blind Assassin is a novel about family, consequences, control, love, and forgiveness. And it’s great.