Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my 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, 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.   

Mel u


The Literary Stew said...

I loved Cat's Eye when I read it years ago. I'm now reading Onxy and Crake and so far it's brilliant!

Peter S. said...

Hi, Mel! Have you read The Blind Assassin? It's so wonderful! It's one of my favorite novels ever. Although, now I'm wondering why I haven't read more Atwood. I'm curious about The Year of the Food though, since I've been hearing good things about it.

Suko said...

Mel, thanks for another great review. You remind me that Oryx and Crake awaits me!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Thanks for the helpful review. I got this one from my Secret Santa this year -- it was on my wish list so i was happy!

Mel u said...

Literary Stew-I am looking forward to reading your post on Onxy and Crake-I hope it will be my next Atwood

Peter S-maybe I will try Blind Assassin in the second 1/2 of 2010-I saw The Year of the Flood in hardback in NBS in Trinoma but I do not feel like paying the hard bound price for it-by the time I get around to reading Onxy and Crake-kind of a prequel to it-maybe it will be out in paper back

Suko-maybe we will both read Oryx and Crake and Year of the Flood in 2010

Diane-I hope you enjoy the work and will look forward to seeing your thoughts on it

claire said...

I also really liked Cat's Eye but it was years ago in college and don't remember much of. I know, though, that I loved THe Blind Assassin a lot more.

claire said...

P.S. I might consider reading the Ford Madox Ford, depending on the timing and schedule. When are you planning it for? :)

Booklover Book Reviews said...

Oryx and Crake is on my wishlist too.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. I've read a view of Atwood's book but not this one. Unreliable narrators are interesting! I've just posted my review of The Year of the Flood on my blog today.

I hope you'll be able to get the books you want soon.