Advent with Atwood

The Blind Assassin Read-along: Parts V-VIII (sort of)

Read-along Parts I-IV

How disproportionately sized are the parts of this book??? I’ve read it every spare moment I’ve had in the last week and I’m at page 404, about 2/3 of the way through the book, and I’m still only in part VII! So apologies for poor division of the parts, and for not doing my own required reading.

However.

It’s becoming more and more readable as it goes along; possibly because there is less and less of the sci-fi story and more of the slow-motion train wreck of Iris Chase’s life. Interspersing it with her days as a pensioner is sort of reassuring because we know that she’s going to get through all the mildly unpleasant parts of her life intact, and we already know that Laura will drive off the bridge so now we’re sort of just waiting for it to happen.

Atwood writes fluently and elegantly but without much showiness; so far I have only noted three quotes:

“On the main street of Port Ticonderoga there were five churches and four banks, all made of stone, all chunky. Sometimes you had to read the names on them to tell the difference, although the banks lacked steeples.”

“Alone and therefore neglected, neglected and therefore unsuccessful. As if I’d been stood up, jilted; as if I had a broken heart. A group of English people in cream-coloured linen stared at me. It wasn’t a hostile stare; it was bland, remote, faintly curious. No one can stare like the English. I felt rumpled and grubby, and of minor interest.”

“Why stir everything up again after that many years, with all concerned tucked, like tired children, so neatly into their graves?”

It’s a sad novel; an inevitability of tragedy hangs over the protagonist.

I am enjoying the description of life in between-war Canada, the life Iris had before and after marrying new money (it reminds me of something I’ve read recently, a woman who marries for money rather than love… ah – Wallis Simpson).

Onwards!

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