The Blind Assassin


Title: The Blind Assassin

Author: Margaret Atwood

Publication Date: 2001

Pages: 521

Genre: Literary Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Science Fiction

Geographic Setting: Ontario Canada

Time Period: 1930s and 1940s

Plot Summary: The Blind Assassin tells the tale of two sisters, Laura and Iris Chase. The layered and ambitious novel is from Iris’s point of view and gives an account of her life as a sheltered child, an unhappy wife, an insufficient mother and the suicide of her sister Laura. The story goes back and forth in time and also into a story within a story within a story.   The novel is interwoven with Iris’s narrative as well as parts from Laura’s novel about a love affair with a revolutionary who writes a science fiction pulp novel about a blind assassin.  That novel is based on Laura (and Iris’s) experience with a man.  As the story unfolds, the pieces of the novel and Iris’s life come together in an intriguing, dark and complex book by Margaret Atwood.

Subject Headings: Subject(s): Psychological fiction, sisters—fiction, women novelists—Canada—Fiction, Women novelists—fiction, Sisters—Death—Fiction, Love stories, Canada—Social life and customs—20th century—fiction,

Appeal: complex, historical details, family-centered, flashbacks, multiple plot lines, thought provoking, detailed, well drawn, intriguing, austere, darker, psychological, suspenseful, uneasy, poetic, vivid, restrained, bleak

Three Terms that describe this book: Intriguing, austere, well drawn

Similar Authors and Works (fiction):

The Lace Reader by Bruonia Berry (gripping, investigative, historical, different perspectives)

Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz (historical, weaving tale, dark, harsh, compelling, well drawn characters, family mystery)

Fall on Your Knees by Anne Marie MacDonald (epic family history, sisters, lyrical, Canada, shifting plot lines, mythic, dark)

The Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder (story within story, multiple plots, symbolism, whimsical, philosophical)

Similar Authors and Works (Non-fiction):

Time Machines:  The Story of Pulp Fiction Magazines from the Beginning to 1950 by Mike Ashley

My Sister, My Self: Understanding the Sibling Relationship the Shapes Our Lives, Our Loves and Our Selves by Vikki Stark

Ontario: Image, Identity and Power by Peter Baskerville

Name: Alicia Hammond


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