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Words of a Bibliophile

"It's only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away." —Bee Gees

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood

"The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you begin excusing yourself. You must see the writing as emerging like a long scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it.

Impossible, of course.”

Some novels are aptly called a saga, an epic tale, and The Blind Assassin is one of them. It didn't bore me unlike certain other long novels (I'm looking at you, The Goldfinch).

The novel goes back and forth between the story of two sisters both in the past and the present, the vague story of two characters in a book written by one of the sisters, the trashy science fiction/fantasy story shared between the two characters within the aforementioned book, and newspaper clippings about notable events in the lives of the sisters and the people around them. Whenever I sat down to read I got lost in one of those many subplots, even the trash fiction.

I'm not sure I liked any of the characters, but the storytelling is captivating, the writing raw, the tone often bitter, the words deep with meaning. It's a novel about secrets and lies, truth and treachery, mistakes and sacrifices. It's the kind of novel that reveals itself little by little like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, or like a fogged-up mirror that becomes clearer each time someone wipes at it with a finger.

After the entire picture is revealed you might, like I did, return to the beginning to read again with this new knowledge, this new perspective. But the vision you see in the mirror might not be pretty. After all, not everything in life is.