The Blind Assassin
The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood
If you didn’t know, The Blind Assassin is an engineered feat of writing: The story is narrated by Iris Chase, who informs us her sister Laura committed suicide ten days after the end of the second world war. Iris is now an old lady with heart problems, and wants to write a kind of confession of their lives to her estranged granddaughter. She remembers past events, not always chronologically, but skips between these memories and what is happening in the present. In addition to this, there is the novel written by Laura Chase (called The Blind Assassin) and newspaper articles spread through the narrative.
I’m not particularly into the kind of science fiction the story within the story within the story (the one actually featuring a blind assassin!) falls into, but as the novel continued I did begin to enjoy the relationship between the man and woman, especially as it begins to parallel the sisters’ lives more and more. I loved Iris as an old lady – she has some particularly excellent crazy elderly lines, but it was the hindsight and melancholic nostalgia that really won me over. And the tales of high society reminded me very much of the Ford Madox Ford novel I read recently.
Atwood manipulates this story perfectly – there really is no other book with such beautiful and touching depths.