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The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

The Blind Assasin by Margaret AtwoodI actually received my copy of The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood as a prize in a competition being run by Foyles bookshop for World Book Night earlier this year. As the prize could have been any one of the twenty five titles being promoted I was doubly pleased when the package landed on the doormat and it was by a writer that I hadn’t previously read.

So how did I get on with this Booker Prize Winner from the year 2000?

Read on for a full review…

-- The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood a Review by Des Greene --

The Blind Assassin is cleverly crafted as a book within a book. I know it is almost compulsory for literary fiction writers to write about writing, but at least in this instance it is done in a creative and interesting way that actually enhances the overall.

The main story is a tragic tale of family and political intrigue, personal greed and ambition. The narrative is related in the latter years of her life by Iris Griffen, and follows the downfall of her own Chase family’s fortunes, her dysfunctional and somewhat forced marriage to Richard Griffen and the mysterious death of her younger sister Laura. This is intriguingly interwoven with the second narrative of The Blind Assassin, a sci-fi story we are led to believe is being related by a fugitive political agitator with whom Iris is having an affair. The ruthless political ambitions of Richard Griffen, aided by his creepily interfering sister Winifred are the root cause of most the unhappiness and misfortune in the novel and they do represent a wonderfully penned pair of “baddies”.

The backdrop for the main plot is America in the thirties and forties of the last century. The Depression, McCarthyism and other relevant political and social elements to the story are re-inforced to the reader using clippings from newspaper stories, which adds a heightened realism to events.

It is a tragically sad and very human story, written with great style and will keep you in its grip right to the last page. Definitely one of those all too rare novels which you simply don’t want to end, even though the last section of the book is one of the best you are likely to come across anywhere. Highly recommended.

Already read The Blind Assassin? What did you think of it? Please post a comment below, Novel Suggestions is always keen to hear your opinions.

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