noracharles: (Default)
[personal profile] noracharles

We'll be reading and discussing The Blind Assassin from June 24th to June 30th. Only the first chapter is required reading to participate in the discussion, but of course you're very welcome to read on for as long as you enjoy the book.

The Blind Assassin opens with these simple, resonant words: "Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge." They are spoken by Iris, whose terse account of her sister's death in 1945 is followed by an inquest report proclaiming the death accidental. But just as the reader expects to settle into Laura's story, Atwood introduces a novel-within-a-novel. Entitled The Blind Assassin, it is a science fiction story told by two unnamed lovers who meet in dingy backstreet rooms. When we return to Iris, it is through a 1947 newspaper article announcing the discovery of a sailboat carrying the dead body of her husband, a distinguished industrialist. Brilliantly weaving together such seemingly disparate elements, Atwood creates a world of astonishing vision and unforgettable impact.

Because the first chapter is five and a half pages long, I am committing to reading at least the second chapter.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-06-21 05:57 pm (UTC)
blnchflr: Captain America Civil War (Foreigner)
From: [personal profile] blnchflr
I only took notes on the first chapter - here unedited:

My copy of The Blind Assassin is 641 pages - I'm happy we're not attempting to read whole novels.

But it was an intriguing first chapter - In just one 6-page chapter we get:

A first-person narrative
A newspaper article
A novel within the novel

Wow :)

Basically knowing way too little about literature considering my university degree in literature, I hadn't realized The Blind Assassin was as new as 2000 until I wrote up the schedule for the reading club.

Reading the first lines I was struck with how not-2000 it was written. I don't know Atwood enough to know if she successfully wrote as if she was writing in 1945, or if her writing style is just a little old-fashioned?

She really likes her similes and similar figures of speech - or Iris and Laura do.

Iris (first-person narrative):
feathery with new leaves
no more fuss than stepping off a curb
as if from a distance
as if I'd been to the dentist
like ink spilled in water
less like something she'd chosen to put on than like something she'd been locked up in
as if she were admiring the view
glinting like a dragonfly

Laura (novel within the novel):
leather cases that looked like muzzles
like the heat from a sun-warmed stone at midnight
like a scratched match flaring
as if to fend her off in play
this square, lighted window of glazed paper
as if she's peering into a well or pool
shimmering like a jewel on sand
as if discarded
like ice cream smudged on chrome

Ok O___O

(I read on after the first chapter, but I didn't care for the characters at all, and when the sexual exploitation theme came up, I was reminded why I couldn't get through The Handmaid's Tale, either.)