I always have very high expectations from award-winning books and I am usually not disappointed. The Blind Assassin was an exception.
The novel traces the story of Iris & Laura Chase, two sisters, born into a rich but fading household in a small industrial town in Canada. The narrative is mostly from the point of view of Iris Chase, the elder sister, as she unravels her life history as a message to her enstranged granddaughter. It begins with the death of Laura Chase from where we go back into the memories of Iris, which take us through their childhood to the day Laura died.
In process, we learn of deep dark family secrets and dysfunctionalities. We learn of crudeness and evilness of human nature. An interesting aspect to the book is the novel within the novel approach – where a parallel thread of story is woven – moving the narrative forward.
I think it is definitely a challenge to write in this way, to have so many threads, and not make any chronological mistakes.The narrative is almost like a mystery – the author throws up clues as you read along- and you have to collect them and fit them together as you move towards the end of the book
What I really liked about the book was the language and the narrative. What I disliked was that it was a tad too long. Also, The Blind Assassin is a great book for someone who has not read these family dramas earlier. Unfortunately for me, I read this book when I have had my share of novels about self discovery and repentance and revelations.
Also, I was constantly irritated with the weakness of Iris’s character. Her failure to take life in her own hands – submission to her father, her husband, her sister-in-law and then to her daughter. Its very hard to like a book where you cant respect the main character.
Verdict: Borrow but don’t buy