The Blind Assassin
I am so behind on my posting, I don’t even know where to begin. Usually, things are the other way around – I feel like writing more than I feel like reading. But this time, since I spent the week at my parents’ house, I finished the 2 books I had already started and I’m catching up on my movie watching as well.
So what should come next is a review for 2 more books, a leapsa from Ana, and my end-of-year list. Tomorrow, if possible, so that I start the new year with a clean slate 😉
But back to the matter at hand…and that is, The Blind Assassin
My best friend recommend this to me. I mean – for a whole week she kept telling me how great the book is – and usually she is right about these things. But it took me a whole month to get through the book – I was interrupted, I was busy, I didn’t feel like it…so I’m not sure I ended up appreciating it at it’s full value.
The good – the best part of reading it was old Iris. Young Iris seems a bit sketchy; Laura, Richard, Alex, Winnifred – even more so. But old Iris – she’s so full of life (despite her age) and since her every move is documented everything she does or says feels real and immediate. I liked her irreverence, her outbursts of bitterness and her acceptance of the inevitable. She was complete, she was the real character, everything else was just a story.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
There are two alternating voices – from the 2 main characters: old Iris’s account of her childhood, marriage and relationship with her sister and Laura’s (the sister) book and ticket to fame and remembrance, The Blind Assassin. Plus the occasional excerpt from newspapers documenting Iris’s and Laura’s lives – Laura being a “famed authoress” and Iris being the wife of a rich magnate with political ambitions – Richard Griffen. As far as structure goes, it’s all very easy to follow: Iris’s story and The blind assassin alternate every other chapter, and, by the end, you realize that they complete eachother. In short, Iris and Laura come from a rich, respectable family in Port Ticoderonga (fictional Ontario town), but after their mother’s death and their father’s attempts at turning the family fortune around fail, Iris eventually has to marry Richard Griffen, a Toronto man with the power to save her family from ruin. But since things never turn out the way you plan them Iris’s father dies while she’s on her honeymoon, and her sister if forced to move in with her and Richard. From here on it all unfolds as a gradual revelation, Laura’s book and Iris’s tale become more and more entwined until…but that’s too spoilery. You may suspect its outcome all along, but not knowing is still better 😉 .
I’m really not doing this 600-pages-long book any justice, and there’s a recently emptied alcohol glass sitting judgingly in front of me. The book is on Time’s 100 all time best novels list and won a Booker prize – which means more than the few words I can scrounge up now. I’d give it a 8/10 – the grading system is something I resort to when I’m out of words 😀