I FAMILY SAGA Margaret Atwood
The Blind Assassin (Bloomsbury £16.99)
After 25 years of acclaim and several high-profile awards, the production of a single book would be too easy for Margaret Atwood. With her latest work of fiction, Canada’s most prominent author has come up with a sales gimmick to rival the bonus track, producing two tales for the price of one.
The novel opens with Iris Chase Griffen’s dispassionate account of her sister’s death, before quickly transporting us to Laura Chase's posthumously published novel The Blind Assassin. Despite the comical image conjured up by this title, Chase's bestseller is an erotic, Nin- esque tale of illicit love between a
naive young socialite and an anarchist.
a M rgaret Atwood 0
Erotic and comic saga
Atwood moves between this and octogenarian lris’ memoir throughout. Instructed by their remote, manufacturer father to ’look after Laura', lris' life becomes subordinate to the needs of her highly-strung younger sister. Overshadowed and eclipsed, her late writings provide an unrestrained family history and an acerbic depiction of Canadian high society. In turn, her story is contextualised by newspaper cuttings documenting the fall of the house of Chase as well as key historical events of the last century; two world wars, big business exploitations, Red activity of the 305/405.
While the interwoven segments of Chase's mucky novel-within-a-novel are occasionally tedious and overwritten, this is more than compensated for by Iris’ wrny compelling memoir which provides a rich portrait of tormented individuals against a vigorous historical backdrop. (Allan Radcliffe)
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CRIIVIE FICT ON Frederic Lindsay Death Knock (Hodder £17.99)
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