The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

I went to a booksale and I got into trouble. A whole bookbag of trouble. About $40 worth of trouble. But look at all the lovely books I added to my shelf! Including this huge and 20s-style hardcover of Margaret Atwood’s Blind Assassin!

I recently finished listening to it as an audiobook, which I loved, loved, loved. It’s a giant novel, and as a result it’s about a lot of things: two sisters who love the same man, storytelling and the nature of narrative, a murder mystery, a working-class town history, the slowly depleting reputation of a war hero, the slowly depleting happiness of a small town, the ability of the wealthy to get away with anything, the ability of women to undermine the men they loathe.

I have a lot of feelings about Atwood, most of which boil down into a pretty simple sentiment: her older stuff is straight fire, and her new stuff is sadly and weirdly lacking. She wrote Edible Woman when she was twenty-three years old, and it’s straight, proto-feminist fire; last year she released a graphic novel called Angel Catbird, the moral of which is to keep your housecats indoors so they don’t kill too many birds, and it’s just a milquetoast as you think it sounds. I tend to avoid, and tell others to avoid, anything post-Oryx and Crake, and to so frequently and fervently vent my frustrations with modern Atwood that my coworkers have learned to chime in on my rant with a repeated refrain: Peggy, give it up!

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