I never know how it’s going to go with Margaret Atwood. The Handmaid’s Tale was excellent. Oryx and Crake was not. Unfortunately, this book falls on the Oryx and Crake end of the spectrum.
I love books that weave together multiple plot lines. This one incorporates stories from Iris and Laura’s childhood, narration by Iris as an old woman in the present, chapters from Laura’s posthumously published book, and saved newspaper clippings. The elements were all there. I thought I’d like it.
Unfortunately, Iris—who does most of the storytelling, Laura being dead and all—is such a bland character that it’s hard to like or relate to her, and at over 600 pages, there’s just too much book. That’s a shame, because the novel excerpt chapters are interesting (those are multi-level, also, incorporating pieces of a science fiction short story that the unnamed main character and her lover write together), and the mystery that the plot is built around is a good one, with a satisfying reveal at the end. The good parts might have been able to shine if they hadn’t been bogged down by all the rest.
"Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge..."
More than fifty years on, Iris Chase is remembering Laura's mysterious death. And so begins an extraordinary and compelling story of two sisters and their secrets. Set against a panoramic backdrop of twentieth-century history, The Blind Assassin is an epic tale of memory, intrigue and betrayal...