Saturday, March 27, 2010
1. the BLIND ASSASSIN
The Book Blurb:
The novel opens with these simple, resonant words: "Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove 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 a 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.
Told in a style that magnificently captures the colloquialisms of the 1930s and 1940s, The Blind Assassin is a richly layered and uniquely rewarding experience. The novel has many threads and a series of events that follow one another at a breathtaking pace. As everything comes together, readers will discover that the story Atwood is telling is not only what it seems to be -- but is, in fact, much more.
'Ten days after the war ended, sister Laura drove a car off a bridge. The bridge was being repaired: she went right through the Danger sign. The car fell a hundred feet into the ravine, smashing through the treetops feathery with new leaves, then burst into flames and rolled down into the shallow creek at the bottom.'(opening lines)
"Why do we always assume at such moments that everyone is staring at us. Usually nobody is."
"I don't need that fluff on my coffee.Looks like shaving cream. One swallow and you're foaming at the mouth."
"But thoughtless ingratitude is the armour of the young; without it, how would they ever get through life? The old wish the young well, but they wish them ill also; they would like to eat them up, and absorb their vitality, and remain immortal themselves. Without the protection of surliness and levity, all children would be crushed by the past-the past of others, loaded onto their shoulders. Selfishness is their saving grace."
"Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment."
"Where was the threshold, between the inner world and the outer one? We each move unthinkingly through this gateway everyday, we use the passwords of grammar-I say, you say, he and she say it, on the other hand, does not say-paying for the privilege of sanity with common coin, with meanings we've agreed on."
"All the speech-making can bloat a man up. I've watched the process, many times now. It's those kind of words, the kind they use in speeches. They have a fermenting effect on the brain. You can see it on television, during the political broadcasts-the words coming out of their mouths like bubbles of gas."