“Nevertheless, blood is thicker than water, as anyone knows who has tasted both.”
Ok, I’m officially in love with Margaret Atwood. I somehow missed The Handmaid’s Tale in high school (I think everyone I know read it then), but I read The Edible Woman and Alias Grace last year and adored them. My latest Atwood to devour, The Blind Assassin, has to be my favorite yet. The Blind Assassin is actually three stories in one, and how Atwood kept them straight while writing baffles me. Let’s see if I can explain!
Iris Chase is an elderly woman, looking back at her life as the daughter of a wealthy factory owner and the wife of, well, a rich asshole. Iris also reflects on the tragic death of her sister, Laura, who drove off a bridge 10 days after the war ended. Laura was a fascinating and confusing woman, who wrote a book called The Blind Assassin (“This is how the girl who couldn’t speak and the man who couldn’t see fell in love”) which Iris published post-humously. So we read about Iris’s current life, as well as her life with her sister and husband in the 30s and 40s, as well as reading snippets of The Blind Assassin (which was totally my favorite part). Atwood also throws in newspaper clippings about the girls and Iris’s asshole husband.
I’m not explaining well, I know, but you have to read this book. Laura Chase was kind of a manic-depressive pixie dream girl, full of passion but also confusion about the world. And Iris’s dry sense of humor throughout the story made me feel like Atwood herself was narrating. And The Blind Assassin (itself a story within a story) would have been wonderful as a stand-alone book, so reading it wedged between the lives of these girls just made it so much more intriguing.