Monday, 16 January 2017

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood


1.Title: The Blind Assassin
2.Author:Margaret Atwood
3.Published by :Virago Press.
4.Copyright:@ O.W.Toad Ltd. 2000
5.ISBN:978-1-86049-880-0.
6.Pages:637.
7.Price:Rs 499/=
This novel  by Margaret Atwood is  dark  but a page turner. It is the story set in Ontario,Canada of two  sisters –Laura Chase  and Iris Chase Griffin . Laura   dies mysteriously in a car  accident and Iris  writes  fifty years after about  their story , secrets  and betrayals.
     The novel is set against the panoramic  backdrop of twentieth century history. The story moves through the first World War , the maiden voyage of Queen Mary, the Depression ,the Spanish Civil War , the second World War and several years thereafter. Against a broad social backdrop , Atwood has the ability  to suggest  the complexity of individual lives. Final tragedy is the result of human frailty, greed and passion .The novel also shows the ways women are used by men , especially if they also have wealth.
       The novel is told by Iris Chase Griffin  , who is now 83 years old .Iris  is writing a biography  of her early life  with her family ,  particularly her sister Laura.
 The novel unfolds layer by layer  ,and  there is also  a novel within novel. This novel ,  published by Iris  in Laura’s name  after her death is also called The Blind Assassin .In this  novel ,the hero  tells his lover  pulp fiction stories in the dingy rooms  where they meet. He is a leftist on the run , convenient scapegoat for a factory fire that was presumably an insurance fraud  while she is a privileged  person , sneaking away from  her watchers  , for a few risky hours of pleasure.
     The Blind assassin is more than  a mere fictional character ,as  told to a lover .In stead , it is an apt description  of a character that sometimes irresponsibly chooses  not to see and at other times is  nasty and vengeful .It is  a story of tragedy , corruption  and crucial manipulation. There are promises and betrayals, losses and regrets, memories and yearning .
        Each word , phrase , sentence and paragraph  in the book  is beautifully written and they are all appropriate  for the mood of the story. Atwood weaves  so many layers  that each part remains  interesting as a story , but the big picture  is only revealed in the end. Each of the characters  had their own quirks, own dark sides, their own edges , which made them very real. It is a gripping story . It is a grand story told in a grand way ,on a grand scale. It also shows that Atwood deeply understands the human condition , and she describes it beautifully.
                 I recommend you to read this great work of fiction .Incidentally , it also won the 2000  Booker Prize .