“The Blind Assassin” is a novel written by Margaret Atwood, one of Canada’s most celebrated authors. It was published in 2000 and received critical acclaim, winning the prestigious Booker Prize that same year.
Set in the mid-20th century, “The Blind Assassin” tells the intertwined stories of two sisters, Iris Chase Griffen and Laura Chase. Iris, an elderly woman, reflects on her past and reveals the secrets and complex relationships within her family. The novel incorporates multiple narrative layers, including Iris’s memoir, excerpts from Laura’s posthumously published novel, and newspaper clippings.
The story explores themes of love, loss, betrayal, and the power dynamics between men and women. It also delves into social and political issues of the time, such as the Great Depression, World War II, and the feminist movement. Atwood’s skillful storytelling weaves together these different elements, creating a multi-layered and thought-provoking narrative.
The novel’s title, “The Blind Assassin,” refers to the story within the story. Laura Chase, Iris’s sister, is said to have written a novel called “The Blind Assassin” before her death. This novel within the novel tells a science fiction story set in a dystopian future, featuring a love affair between an upper-class woman and a working-class man. These sections of the book provide a contrast to the main narrative and offer commentary on the themes explored in Iris’s story.
“The Blind Assassin” is known for its rich prose, intricate plot structure, and compelling characters. Atwood’s exploration of memory, truth, and the complexities of human relationships has made the novel a favorite among readers and critics alike.