Monday, April 25, 2011

Complications of Moving and, a Book Review

I moved my computer upstairs with the idea that it would spur on my creative writing. I set it up in my library, in the place where my typewriter had been. I hoped that it would help as I try to create the next great american novel. Instead I found that I still wrote long-hand in paper journals and sadly that I didn't bother to blog at all. It's been almost two weeks since my last post. Not my brightest plan.

I can't completely blame the move though. I've been partially absent because I've been reading. Voraciously. I haven't turned on Netflix in weeks. I haven't been out much. Instead I've been devouring books. The moment I finish one, I pick up another. The second that one is done, I've selected another. The clerks at the library practically know me by name. And I'm starting to make a dent in my "to be read" bookcase at home.

I've been blessed that most of the books I've read this month were very good but one of them was so good that I had to share. My dad had given me a copy of Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin a couple of months ago. I'd put off reading the book for some unknown reason. A week or so ago it landed at the top of my stack so I picked it up. And was simultaneously confused and intrigued.

The Blind Assassin tells the story of the Chase sisters, as told by Iris Chase who is now in her 80s. It also tells the story of two unnamed lovers who meet for their trysts and end each meeting telling a continual science fiction story. All in all there are really three or four different stories being told. The book begins after Laura has driven off a bridge and died. Laura is known as the author of the brilliant book The Blind Assassin, which was published posthumously. Iris is besieged with her sister's posthumous fame, all the while living a quiet life. Then Iris begins to tell the story of their childhood. Recounting early crushes, early crises, and the way too early death of their mother, we start to get a sense for who the girls were. We also get a feel for the time they grew up in. As the book continues, the twists and turns begin to untangle until we finally see how all the stories in the book entwine and how perception is not always truth.

When I got with 100 pages of the end of this book I was so desperate to finish that it was almost painful. This is of course the moment that my week conspired against me. I had something going on every night that kept me away from my book until nearly 11 at night. My lunches, which are normally reading time, turned social and I wasn't able to read during the day. I stole whatever moments I could but I was in agony to find out what happened. The two people who had read it before wouldn't tell me anything. They would just wink and say "you'll see". At the time I was mad they wouldn't tell me. When I finally did find the time on Friday, I was glad they hadn't said a word. The discovery was just as delicious as the novel. This was by far the best book I've read in months. Now if I had only been more productive with the blogging while I was reading it.


JMims said...

Well, may I be the first to say "Yay books!"

Also that you formerly used a typewriter is just AWESOME.

Cat B said...

I'll echo the Yay Books!!! Always good to meet another reader.

I've had a couple typewriters in my life. I think the last count was 7 but I'm not positive. All manuals. All wonderful.

The Warrior said...

Thnx for posting here about d book.. The Blind Assassin... now.. u have compelled me to read it.. :)

Cat B said...


I'm glad I could get you interested in the book. You'll have to let me know if you enjoy it. I thought it was just wonderful. Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment.