The Blind Assassin strikes me as the most fully realized, best written, and most ambitious of Margaret Atwood's many novels. She manages to overcome my aversion to science fiction with an intriguing novel-within-a-novel and creates two dead-on narrative voices, one belonging to a disillusioned, curmudgeonly old woman (justifiably unhappy with her life) and another a noirish, third person perspective, street-wise, gritty, actually kind of fulfilled despite the sordidness of the tale.
There are long passages of the book that really are the old lady's musings on "life," and I did find myself wondering, "Why is this interesting?" but the variety and disquiet of her observations kept pulling me forward.
The sci-fi tale within a tale is an intriguing mix of imaginings leavened by insight into a desperate love affair gone quite wrong.
A great deal of history is retold along the way--life in provincial Canada at the outset of the 20th century, WWI, WWII, and the successive cultural repressions/openings that followed WWII.
The weakest element of the book relates to the principal narrator's apparent hope that the manuscript she leaves behind will unlock secrets for her estranged granddaughter. This simply doesn't work because the granddaughter is not established as a character in the least--her mother isn't even well-established.
Are there any "deeper meanings" resonating between the naturalistic family saga and the sci-fi tale? I don't see any, nor will I lose any time looking for them, but I'm sure there is a dissertation or two in there somewhere.
Causes Robert Earle Supports
World Wildlife Fund