What I’m reading

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. It’s told from the view point of an old (or, as we now have to say older) woman, whose sister committed suicide, leaving behind a controversial novel (also called The Blind Assassin) that became a bestseller (maybe not really hers, but I haven’t finished the book yet) . I got it for Christmas, but have only just managed to start on it – very good so far.

The only other thing of Atwood’s I’ve read was The Handmaid’s Tale. I enjoyed it, but was miffed by the various literary types who raved about it when they would scorn to mention, say, Ursula Le Guin. That reaction goes in spades for Doris Lessing’s ventures into SF. Writing this, it strikes me that the inner novel The Blind Assassin also has an SF theme.

8 thoughts on “What I’m reading

  1. John, try Atwood’s Alias Grace. It’s the story of Grace Marks, the most famous female murderer of the 19th century – or is it, and was she?

    The Handmaid’s Tale is great , but I’ve always thought it owed something to John Wyndham’s novella Consider Her Ways.

  2. Oops, should have been “…..Canadian female murderer…..” But this is Atwood, so you would have known that.

  3. I’ve just read her more recent Oryx and Crake which I enjoyed. However it really annoys me how a literary author can write sci-fi but its considered “speculative fiction”, not that lowbrow sci-fi stuff.

  4. Is it safe to confess that Doris Lessing’s prose style bores me so witless that I’ve never finished one of her books?

    The Handmaid’s Tale, in contrast, was a breeze to get through.

  5. I’ve always thought that Atwood’s Booker win for The Blind Assassin was really the Booker she earned for Alias Grace – which really is much, much better… (though I’m sure judging panels don’t work this way – all afflicted by the same unconscious sense of unfairness/residual guilt? Nah.)

  6. I thought the sci-fi book inside the book in The Blind Assassin was incredibly bad, which spoiled the whole thing for me and scared me off Atwood’s other sci-fi-ish stuff. Much preferred Alias Grace.

  7. Attwood Sfi-Fi stories abound. Just read in the Harpers Weekly: “Author Margaret Atwood was planning to avoid book tours by signing books via remote-controlled robot.”

  8. Madeleine Smith is a strong contender for the honour of being the most famous 19th century murderess. After she got off not proven (Scottish), one scientist remarked that “now she’s free, she ought in the interests of science to tell us how she did it”.

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