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The Blind Assassin

Written by: Margaret Atwood
Narrated by: Margot Dionne
Length: 18 hrs and 26 mins
4 out of 5 stars (79 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 2000

For the past 25 years, Margaret Atwood has written works of striking originality and imagination. In The Blind Assassin, she stretches the limits of her accomplishment as never before, creating a novel that is both entertaining and profoundly serious.

The novel opens with these simple resonant words: "Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge." They are spoken by Iris, whose terse account of her sister's death in 1945 is followed by an inquest report proclaiming the death accidental. But just as you expect to settle into Laura's story, Atwood introduces a novel within a novel. Entitled The Blind Assassin, it is a science fiction story told by two unnamed lovers who meet in dingy backstreet rooms. When you return to Iris, it is through a 1947 newspaper article announcing the discovery of a sailboat carrying the dead body of her husband, a distinguished industrialist.

Told in a style that magnificently captures the colloquialisms of the 1930s and 1940s, The Blind Assassin is a richly layered and uniquely rewarding experience. The novel has many threads and a series of events that follow one another at a breathtaking pace. As everything comes together, you will discover that the story Atwood is telling is not only what it seems to be - but is, in fact, much more.

©2000 O.W. Toad, Ltd (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.

What the critics say

Book Sense Book of the Year Award Finalist, Adult Fiction, 2001
"Listeners will find themselves piecing together the clues, guessing at truths, but the rewards are to be found in the layering of details and the skill of the storytelling." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    4 out of 5 stars

Takes some time to get into

Fantastic book but the first 200 pages were a little slow. The book really picks uo once you get into the flow of the various timelines and stories.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Just not my thing

I found it very boring and was unable to get through it. Maybe if I would have stuck with it, it might have got better. ( at least for me )

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Horrible performance. like a translator on news

barely got through it. the reader was awful. she sounded like those flat translator voices on government channels or parliamentary coverage. As well, she mis-pronounced some key words like Yonge Street "YAWN-J" and Spadina "SPA-DEENA"....annoying.

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Atwood does it again

As always, Margaret Atwood has written a story that captivates the reader and keeps you engage until the very end

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Multilayered, melancholy plot

This is a great book, a book with layers on layers and a reveal at the end that makes me realize that if I went back and reread the entire book again now with the full knowledge of the plot, I would see so much more in the story than I did the first time through.

However, it's also a sad book, a book about old age and unhappy marriage and the breakdown of family relationships, so I know I probably won't go back and reread it to get the full extent of appreciate out of the story that I'm pretty sure is possible.

The book tells a story on many layers; it's old-aged Iris telling the story of her childhood with her sister Laura and then her unhappy marriage to Richard. It's the story of The Blind Assassin, a book written by Laura and published posthumously, in which a woman meets a lover who is a pulp SF writer and who tells her the story of the planet Zycron and the pulp SF tales that take place thereon, ostensibly the story of a blind assassin and the girl he rescues, but I now suspect there is a high degree of reflection in these stories of what's happening in the outside world of Iris and Laura, although I didn't know enough to catch it all the first time through. Laura is the most nebulous character all throughout, it's always hard to tell what she's really thinking and doing since we only see her through her sister's eyes, and her sister's eyes. Only at the end do all the remaining loose ends get tied together and we finally understand what each character's place is within the novel and how they all fit together.

Like I said, I think that if I reread the book now, having just finished it, I'd find layers and layers more, and discover that in a way, Atwood was telling the whole story all along, we just didn't know enough to see it until the end of the novel. But, it is also such a melancholy story and left me with such a sad feeling for really almost all the characters in it, that I'm not sure I want to go back and revisit the story again.

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Probably the best Canadian novel I've read. . .

. . .And being able to hear it read aloud was a great treat. #Audible1

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A Great Listen

Not quite what I was expecting but I am very glad to have listened to this.

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Loved the book so much...

This is an old favorite of mine. When I saw it was available as an audiobook I had to get it. The narrator does a wonderful job of embodying the main characters. Margaret Atwood is so very poetic amd eloquent! #Audible1

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • SusieH
  • 2018-06-11

Slurpy Narrator Distracts from Otherwise Excellent Storybat

This story within a story within a story is tantalizingly teased out in startling prose. Atwood is not a master, she is THE master. Unfortunately, the narrator has a painfully annoying slurping habit (she sucks in loudly to take a breath in a manner that leaves you with the feeling she has the microphone lodged inside her mouth— it made me want to throw my phone in the river) her voice is nice, although her “character” voices are a bit affectatious: deep voices for men, high pitched one for young girls, hard to take seriously—she did well with the “plain folk” accents for Reenie and Myra though). Also I’m pretty sure she mispronounced Spadina.