Winner of the Man Booker Prize By the author of The Handmaid's Tale and Alias Grace Laura Chase's older sister Iris, married at eighteen to a politically prominent industrialist but now poor and eighty-two, is living in Port Ticonderoga, a town dominated by their once-prosperous family before the First War. While coping with her unreliable body, Iris reflects on her far from exemplary life, in particular the events surrounding her sister's tragic death. Chief among these was the publication of The Blind Assassin, a novel which earned the dead Laura Chase not only notoriety but also a devoted cult following. Sexually explicit for its time, The Blind Assassin describes a risky affair in the turbulent thirties between a wealthy young woman and a man on the run. During their secret meetings in rented rooms, the lovers concoct a pulp fantasy set on Planet Zycron. As the invented story twists through love and sacrifice and betrayal, so does the real one; while events in both move closer to war and catastrophe. By turns lyrical, outrageous, formidable, compelling and funny, this is a novel filled with deep humour and dark drama.
Unlock the more straightforward side of The Blind Assassin with this concise and insightful summary and analysis! This engaging summary presents an analysis of The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, a complex novel about the power of the written word and its ability to deceive. It is told from the perspective of Iris Chase, a woman in her eighties looking back on the events of her youth, when she and her sister Laura fell in love with the same man: the charming radical and storyteller Alex Thomas. Laura had fictionalised her love affair with him in an award-winning novel that Iris published posthumously after Laura’s suicide, but as Iris unravels the tangled threads of past deceit, it soon becomes clear that nothing is as it seems... The Blind Assassin was the winner of the 2000 Man Booker Prize, and remains one of Atwood’s best-known novels. Find out everything you need to know about The Blind Assassin in a fraction of the time! This in-depth and informative reading guide brings you: • A complete plot summary • Character studies • Key themes and symbols • Questions for further reflection Why choose BrightSummaries.com? Available in print and digital format, our publications are designed to accompany you on your reading journey. The clear and concise style makes for easy understanding, providing the perfect opportunity to improve your literary knowledge in no time. See the very best of literature in a whole new light with BrightSummaries.com!
The Handmaid's Tale; The Blind Assassin; Alias Grace; The Robber Bride
Author: Margaret Atwood
Publisher: Emblem Editions
Four of Margaret Atwood's best novels, in one volume! In The Handmaid's Tale, a multi-award-winning, bestselling novel, Margaret Atwood has created a stunning Orwellian vision of the near future. This is the story of Offred, one of the unfortunate “Handmaids” under the new social order who have only one purpose: to breed. In Gilead, where women are prohibited from holding jobs, reading, and forming friendships, Offred’s persistent memories of life in the “time before” and her will to survive are acts of rebellion. Provocative, startling, prophetic, and with Margaret Atwood’s devastating irony, wit, and acute perceptive powers in full force, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once a mordant satire and a dire warning. The Blind Assassin: “Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge.” These words are spoken by Iris Chase Griffen, married at eighteen to a wealthy industrialist but now poor and eighty-two. Iris recalls her far from exemplary life, and the events leading up to her sister’s death, gradually revealing the carefully guarded Chase family secrets. Among these is “The Blind Assassin,” a novel that earned the dead Laura Chase not only notoriety but also a devoted cult following. Sexually explicit for its time, it was a pulp fantasy improvised by two unnamed lovers who meet secretly in rented rooms and seedy cafés. As this novel-within-a-novel twists and turns through love and jealousy, self-sacrifice and betrayal, so does the real narrative, as both move closer to war and catastrophe. Margaret Atwood’s Booker Prize-winning sensation combines elements of gothic drama, romantic suspense, and science fiction fantasy in a spellbinding tale. In Alias Grace, Atwood takes us back in time and into the life of one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of the nineteenth century. Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer, Thomas Kinnear, and Nancy Montgomery, his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders. Dr. Simon Jordan, an up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness, is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember. What will he find in attempting to unlock her memories? Is Grace a female fiend? A bloodthirsty femme fatale? Or is she the victim of circumstances? And finally, The Robber Bride, inspired by "The Robber Bridegroom," a wonderfully grisly tale from the Brothers Grimm in which an evil groom lures three maidens into his lair and devours them, one by one. But in her version, Atwood brilliantly recasts the monster as Zenia, a villainess of demonic proportions, and sets her loose in the lives of three friends, Tony, Charis, and Roz. All three "have lost men, spirit, money, and time to their old college acquaintance, Zenia. At various times, and in various emotional disguises, Zenia has insinuated her way into their lives and practically demolished them. To Tony, who almost lost her husband and jeopardized her academic career, Zenia is 'a lurking enemy commando.' To Roz, who did lose her husband and almost her magazine, Zenia is 'a cold and treacherous bitch.' To Charis, who lost a boyfriend, quarts of vegetable juice and some pet chickens, Zenia is a kind of zombie, maybe 'soulless'" (Lorrie Moore, New York Times Book Review). In love and war, illusion and deceit, Zenia's subterranean malevolence takes us deep into her enemies' pasts.
Margaret Atwood puts the human heart to the ultimate test in an utterly brilliant new novel that is as visionary as The Handmaid's Tale and as richly imagined as The Blind Assassin. Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of an economic and social collapse. Job loss has forced them to live in their car, leaving them vulnerable to roving gangs. They desperately need to turn their situation around—and fast. The Positron Project in the town of Consilience seems to be the answer to their prayers. No one is unemployed and everyone gets a comfortable, clean house to live in . . . for six months out of the year. On alternating months, residents of Consilience must leave their homes and function as inmates in the Positron prison system. Once their month of service in the prison is completed, they can return to their "civilian" homes. At first, this doesn't seem like too much of a sacrifice to make in order to have a roof over one's head and food to eat. But when Charmaine becomes romantically involved with the man who lives in their house during the months when she and Stan are in the prison, a series of troubling events unfolds, putting Stan's life in danger. With each passing day, Positron looks less like a prayer answered and more like a chilling prophecy fulfilled.
The present volume contains general essays on: the relevance of `Commonwealth¿ literature; the treatment of Dalits in literature and culture; the teaching of African literature in the UK; `sharing places¿ and Drum magazine in South Africa; black British book covers as primers for cultural contact; Christianity, imperialism, and conversion; Orang Pendek and Papuans in colonial Indonesia; Carnival and drama in the anglophone Caribbean; issues of choice between the Maltese language and Its Others; and patterns of interaction between married couples in Malta. As well as these, there are essays providing close readings of works by the following authors: Chinua Achebe, André Aciman, Diran Adebayo, Monica Ali, Edward Atiyah, Margaret Atwood, Murray Bail, Peter Carey, Amit Chaudhuri, Austin Clarke, Sara Jeannette Duncan, Amitav Ghosh, Nadine Gordimer, Antjie Krog, Hanif Kureishi, Naguib Mahfouz, David Malouf, V.S. Naipaul, Michael Ondaatje, Tayeb Salih, Zadie Smith, Ahdaf Soueif, Yvonne Vera. Contributors: Jogamaya Bayer, Katrin Berndt, Sabrina Brancato, Monica Bungaro, Judith Lütge Coulli, Robert Cribb, Natasha Distiller, Evelyne Hanquart¿Turner, Marie Herbillon, Tuomas Huttunen, Gen¿ichiro Itakura, Jacqueline Jondot, Karen King¿Aribisala, Ursula Kluwick, Dorothy Lane, Ben Lebdai, Lourdes López¿Ropero, Amin Malak, Daniel Massa, Concepción Mengibar¿Rico, Susanne Reichl, Brigitte Scheer¿Schaezler, Lydia Sciriha, Jamie S. Scott, Andrea Strolz, Peter O. Stummer, Cynthia vanden Driesen, Clare Thake Vassallo. Stella Borg Barthet is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Malta. She is the author of papers and book chapters, mostly on Maltese, Australian, and African fiction. Her current research interests include North African and African-American writing.
In Vintage Living Texts teachers and students will find the essential guide to the works of Margaret Atwood. This guide will deal with her themes, genre and narrative technique, and a close reading of the texts will be accompanied with likely exam questions, and contexts and comparisons - as well as providing a rich source of ideas for intelligent and inventive ways of approaching the novels.