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The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin is a novel published in 2000 by the Canadian author Margaret Atwood, set in Canada. It is narrated from the present day, referring back to events that happened within a family over a period covering the twentieth century and a little before.

The novel is centred around the protagonist, Iris Chase, and her sister Laura, who committed suicide immediately after the Second World War. Iris, now an old woman, recalls the events and relationships of her childhood, youth and middle age in an unhappy marriage to a rival of her industrialist father. Interwoven into the lengthy novel is a science fiction story-within-a-story and the story of its telling, by a politically radical author of pulp fiction with an ambiguous relationship with the sisters. The novel takes the form of a gradual revelation, illuminating both Iris' youth and her old age before coming to the pivotal events of her and Laura's lives around the time of the Second World War.

The book won the Booker Prize and the Governor General's Award for the year 2000.


You want the truth, of course. You want me to put two and two together. But two and two doesn't necessarily get you the truth... The living bird is not its labelled bones.