Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction, Yiddish Literature, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality historical novels are some of my Literary Interests
Sunday, December 20, 2009
"Cat's Eye" by Margaret Atwood
Cat's Eye (1988, 565 pages) is the third novel by Margaret Atwood that I have read. My first of her works was The Handmaiden's Tale which I liked a lot for the dystopic vision of a future America and the finely crafted alternative universe the book offers. I then read The Penelopiad a retelling of the story of Odysseus from the point of view of his left behind wife Penelope. In the recent 43rd Bookworms Carnival there were four reviews of The Penelopiad, mine among them. Of four reviewers, I seemed to have liked the book the most. I like the concept of the retelling of myths in the Canongate's Myth Series of books. I wanted to read a 3rd Atwood before the year ended. Readers in Manila do not always have as many options as those in some other countries. There are no public libraries, Amazon.com charges too much to ship and the Bookdepository will not ship here at all. We have many big beautiful ultramodern book stores in which you can always find lots of wonderful books. However, if you want to go to a store and find all 20 or so of Atwood's books for sale you are out of luck. Anyway I really wanted to read her Oryx and Crake. I could find only The Blind Assassin and Cat's Eye.
Cat's Eye is a story mostly about the childhood memories of a woman who as an adult is a highly regarded artist. The story is told in the first person from her perspective. The strongest part of the book to me was in its showing how childhood experiences shape a person in ways few of us will ever really understand. It makes very good use of different ways of viewing remembered experiences. It is also the story of friendship of young girls and a story of awaking sexuality. The narrator is partially at least, unreliable and we have to take an active role in figuring out what really happened. It is well written. I would not say it is as beautifully written as say a work of Kristy Gunn or Jeannette Winterson might be. I would characterize this as a clever book by a very creative writer.
I will eagerly read her two Dystopic tales and will try Alias Grace if I come upon it.