Sunday, 26 May 2013

140/111 - The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

I've had this book for so so long, I can't even remember when I bought it or why (although it was probably because I was really into Margaret Atwood or whatever). The reason I decided to read this is that every few months I meet up with a bunch of old school friends, and this time around, one of them suggested that we do a little book club format, so that every few months when we meet up we have something new to talk about. Someone suggested The Blind Assassin, and so we were on our way!

I didn't start reading this until quite late, and since I have been pretty ill with a cold the last couple of weeks, I didn't actually get to finish it in time for the book club, but never mind.

I did not enjoy this at all. There were definitely parts which were note resting and I really wanted to like it as I like Margaret Atwood, however it was such a slog. It was very clever - a story within a story within a story - and it won the Booker prize in the year it was released. But I didn't care about any of the characters really. I was already 300 pages in before it had even moved past the main character's childhood!

There was one part that really struck me, which was quite near the beginning, when the narrator is looking back at her life, and she's getting something out of her fridge late at night:

"Standing there with the jar in one hand and my finger in my mouth, I has the feeling that someone was about to walk into the room - some other woman, the unseen, valid owner - and ask me what the hell I was doing in her kitchen. I've had it before, the sense that even in the course of my most legitimate and daily actions - peeling a banana, brushing my teeth - I am trespassing."

I really empathised with this idea of feeling like you're trespassing in your own life, and I often catch myself feeling like I don't deserve to be in the position I'm in at my job, for example, and that I'm going to get caught. Or I'll catch myself being inauthentic with my friends, thinking, I better keep this up or they're going to see me for who I really am. I guess I've never imagined another woman coming to find me and kick me out of my own life, but I get where she's coming from.

That's it, really, for me that was the most interesting part. From talking about this with the others I've come to the conclusion that I love Margaret Atwood's sci-fi, like The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake etc, but I don't like her 'realist' novels all that much. Luckily she writes awesome sci-fi, so I'll just keep reading that.

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