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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Margaret Atwood

Recently I have been chain-reading Margaret Atwood.

I first read her in Moral Disorders, a collage of short stories that centre around the same characters. It was insightful, but not extremely entertaining or inspiring.

Then I picked up Oryx and Crake, and went a little crazy about it. It reminded me of the crazy sci-fi that Murakami writes about in some of his books. Oryx and Crake is superb writing, in content and delivery alike.

I then went on to The Robber Bride, and found it amazing - the character development is excellent, so multi-facetious because the central character is a trickster who goes by many identities. By this time I realised that Atwood can write in such a wide variety, excellently. It is not easy for any writer to do such a thing, and yet she can.

Then I read Alias Grace. Also superb. Entertaining, well-written, captivating to the last paragraph. I am not usually into murder mysteries, but this one being based on a true story, and much more than just a story than it is about human behaviour.

So I went on, to Cat's Eye. Oh this book is lovely too, it is insightful like Moral Disorder, only more in-depth, and more entertaining because a novel is just so much more than short stories, which I do not like. The protagonist of Cat's Eye is an artist with my namesake; the artworks are described so perfectly I can imagine them and feel inspired as if I were walking through an art gallery.

Now I am reading The Blind Assassin, and I am not devouring it maniacally yet, but I probably will, when I can sit still enough to read it for long. I have to make this book stretch till my next shopping trip, budget allowing.

Atwood is like middle-of-the-road reading, in a good way. More entertaining than some historical fiction, more profound than most contemporary literature. She amazes with her depth and width - profound observations, genre-busting stories. If you tire of shallow books as well as difficult writing, Atwood likely has a perfect book as an in-between.

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