I must say, it has been quite some time since I’ve read a book that is 600+ pages. Actually, I know that I havn’t since I started work at the Library, as it is here that I first encountered the reality of too many good books, and too much death in the way of reading them. A general construct of mine when building the answer to the question “what book to read next?”, is to put down any title that is above the 400 page mark (it is actually preferable to select reads that are somewhere under 250 pages). So, I approached Atwood’s The Blind Assassin with the determination of the long distance runner: You’ve been pacing yourself all of these years Geoff, and all of those “good little stories”, that you could just merrily jog yourself through in a few sittings must now be traded in for what could potentially be a month long endurance test. Though I feared that this novel would have felt like required reading, I was relieved to discover that it possessed many of the qualities of what I like in a good book: my comfort in the pastiche of the dime store noir paperback, the unsettling feeling of wanting to yell “No!”, when a female protagonist chooses to do “what is best”, and exposure to the general mess of life lived through lies, secrets and denial.
“Loose Lips Sink Ships, said the wartime poster. Of course the ships will all sink anyway, sooner or later” Iris Chase Griffen.
Links are below. See everyone on Thursday!
Here is a charming interview from the CBC archives. I just love Margaret’s prickly yet playful responses to questions about life and death: “When I die, I die. And before that I live. And that’s it”.
Insight into the author’s approach to writing the The Blind Assassin:
An unfavorable review of the novel by NY Times reporter, Thomas Mallon . Really though? “Overlong and badly written”. It’s almost as if Mr. Mallon contradicts at least the badly written argument when he quotes pleasant, and powerful imagery within his own review: ”I couldn’t get out of my mind the image of Laura, in the icy black water of the Louveteau — how her hair had spread out like smoke in a swirling wind, how her wet face had gleamed silvery, how she had glared at me when I’d grabbed her by the coat. How hard it had been to hold on to her. How close I had come to letting go.”