Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

2000 Booker Prize Winner

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Attwood


Publisher: Bloomsbury

Length: 525 pages

About: Dying woman remembers remarkable life

Style: 1st & 3rd person

Where: Canada (Toronto)

When: 1920-1990s



Publisher’s synopsis:

Iris Chase, married at eighteen to a politically prominent industrialist, but now eighty-two and poor, is living in Port Ticonderoga, a town dominated by her once-prosperous family. While bewailing her unreliable body and deriding those who try to help her, Iris reflects on her far from exemplary life and her perilous times, particularly on the events surrounding her sister Laura’s mysterious, tragic early death.



 Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge. The bridge was being repaired: she went right through the Danger sign. The car fell a hundred feet into the ravine, smashing through the treetops feathery with new leaves, then burst into flames and rolled down into the shallow creek at the bottom. Chunks of the bridge fell on top of it. Nothing much was left of her but charred smithereens.

I was informed of the accident by a policeman: the car was mine, and they'd traced the licence. His tone was respectful: no doubt he recognized Richard's name. He said the tires may have caught on a streetcar track or the brakes may have failed, but he also felt bound to inform me that two witnesses - a retired lawyer and a bank teller, dependable people - had claimed to have seen the whole thing. They'd said Laura had turned the car sharply and deliberately, and had plunged off the bridge with no more fuss than stepping off a curb. They'd noticed her hands on the wheel because of the white gloves she'd been wearing. 




Atwood has never written with more flair and versatility than in this multidimensional novel. This is Margaret Atwood at her remarkable best.

Sunday Telegraph



Not so good:

The truth that emerges is, in fact, eminently neat, in a murder-mystery sort of way. The surprises have the effect of further flattening out the characters, the villains becoming blacker, the martyrs yet more devoted. More of a grey area would be welcome. The demands of Atwood's tricksy plot have produced a curiously reactionary world picture, in which men have political convictions, while women's lives contain nothing more serious than love.

With three researchers working for her, Atwood has come up with plenty of background about labour relations in Canada between the wars, but the political elements of the book never seem more than cladding bolted on to the romantic tale. He so dark, sarcastic and righteous, she so vulnerable in her youth and lovely gown.

The Observer, Adam Mars-Jones 17th September 2000 for full review click here



About the author

Margaret Atwood was born in November 1939 in Ottawa and is the author of more than thirty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. Her work is acclaimed internationally and has been translated into thirty-three languages. She is the recipient of many literary awards and honours from various countries. Margaret Atwood lives in Toronto, with writer Graeme Gibson. Margaret Atwood has been shortlisted for it three times in; 1986 with The Handmaid’s Tale, 1996 with Alias Grace and most recently in 2003 with her eleventh novel Oryx and Crake.


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2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

Extract from New York Times to view full article...

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