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Extended Audio Sample The Blind Assassin: A Novel, by Margaret Atwood Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (60,053 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Margaret Atwood Narrator: Margot Dionne Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Margaret Atwood takes the art of storytelling to new heights in a dazzling new novel that unfolds layer by astonishing layer and concludes in a brilliant and wonderfully satisfying twist.

For the past twenty-five years, Margaret Atwood has written works of striking originality and imagination. In The Blind Assassin, she stretches the limits of her accomplishments as never before, creating a novel that is entertaining and profoundly serious.

The novel opens with these simple, resonant words: “Ten days after the war ended, my sister drove a car off the bridge.” They are spoken by Iris, whose terse account of her sister Laura’s death in 1945 is followed by an inquest report proclaiming the death accidental. But just as the reader expects to settle into Laura’s story, Atwood introduces a novel-within-a-novel.

Entitled The Blind Assassin, it is a science fiction story told by two unnamed lovers who meet in dingy backstreet rooms. When we return to Iris, it is through a 1947 newspaper article announcing the discovery of a sailboat carrying the dead body of her husband, a distinguished industrialist.

Told in a style that magnificently captures the colloquialisms and clichés of the 1930s and 1940s, The Blind Assassin is a richly layered and uniquely rewarding experience. The novel has many threads and a series of events that follow one another at a breathtaking pace. As everything comes together, readers will discover that the story Atwood is telling is not only what it seems to be--but, in fact, much more.

The Blind Assassin proves once again that Atwood is one of the most talented, daring, and exciting writers of our time. Like The Handmaid’s Tale, it is destined to become a classic.

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Quotes & Awards

  • The first great novel of the new millennium. Newsday
  • Margaret Atwood is one of the most brilliant and unpredictable novelists alive. Literary Review (U.K.)
  • An example of a writer at the very peak of her performance.…As it delves into the kinds of relationships that can exist between men and women and the rich and poor, it becomes a compassionate and utterly honest book. It is profound and touching. It is to be treasured. Edmonton Journal
  • Atwood performs a spectacular sleight of hand, fashioning a bewitching, brilliantly layered story of how people see only what they wish to. Entertainment Weekly
  • Dazzling and entertaining.… Globe and Mail
  • The Blind Assassin is quite simply Atwood’s most emotional, yearning, heartfelt, sexy, and elegiac book ever. Quill & Quire
  • Atwood has never written with more flair and versatility than in this multidimensional novel. A brilliant accomplishment. Sunday Times (U.K.)
  • Boldly imagined and brilliantly executed. Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
  • There is no presence more formidably protean than Margaret Atwood’s in Canadian culture.…[The Blind Assassin] will alternately charm and beguile its readers. Winnipeg Free Press
  • Stories spin within stories in this spellbinding novel of avarice, love, and revenge.… Booklist (U.S.) (starred review)
  • A tour de force. Chicago Tribune
  • Sumptuous and compelling.…. Toronto Star
  • The Blind Assassin is the kind of story so full of intrigue and desperation that you take it to bed with you simply because you can’t bear to put it down.…It’s one thing to write an accomplished novel; it’s another entirely to spin a tale so brilliantly that the reader internalizes it. Harper’s Bazaar
  • Atwood is a dazzling storyteller with a distinctive voice and an ear attuned to irony. London Free Press
  • “With [The Blind Assassin], Ms. Atwood offers added certification to her lofty position in world literature…[It] is marked by lyrical writing and the intricacy of the narrative. The reader is repeatedly caught by surprise…Almost to the last page, the book retains its sense of mystery.”

    New York Times

  • Margaret Atwood is one of the greatest writers alive.…A novel of luminous prose, scalpel-precise insights and fierce characters.…[The Blind Assassin] is so assured, so elegant and so incandescently intelligent, she casts her contemporaries in the shade. Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • “A literary high-wire act…Big and ambitious…A sweeping family saga.”

    Newsweek

  • “Brilliant…Opulent…Atwood is a poet…as well as a contriver of fiction, and scarcely a sentence of her quick, dry yet avid prose fails to do useful work, adding to a picture that becomes enormous.”

    John Updike, New Yorker

  • “Chilling…Lyrical…[Atwood’s] most ambitious work to date.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Grand storytelling on a grand scale... Sheerly enjoyable.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “Expansive…A tour de force…[The Blind Assassin] is in the best tradition of gothic melodrama.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Ingenious…Atwood performs a spectacular sleight of hand, fashioning a bewitching, brilliantly layered story of how people see only what they wish to.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Brilliant…bountiful…Meticulously furnished with the clothing, cuisine, and locutions of the period…Capacious, audacious.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Enthralling…Unforgettable…Iris Chase is a brilliant addition to Atwood’s roster of fascinating fictional narrators. Not only is her story sinuously complex, but she is entertaining company.”

    Time

  • “Complex and rich in period detail…[A] stylish family saga.”

    People

  • The Blind Assassin has enough mysteries to keep even a casual reader engaged…There is a steely quality to Ms. Atwood’s writing that’s a bit scary but also exhilarating; no one gets away with anything.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Assured…A harsh portrait of class warfare and sexual exploitations, a knowing satire of pulp fiction and literary cultism, and an unflinching meditation on the uses of art, all wrapped up with Atwood’s customary aplomb.”

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • “Atwood’s best novel to date…It’s a fair bet that The Blind Assassin will join that list of novels that stand beyond the reach of criticism.”

    Denver Post

  • “Rewarding…Intricate…Atwood continues to stretch the bounds of fictional technique.”

    Seattle Times

  • “Sexy, readable, far-fetched, and intelligent…Atwood brings style and substance together to make a beautiful plaster cast of all the proprieties and constriction of the bourgeois colonial town that, in the decades after the war, British Toronto still was, and adds to it the vivid colors of human cruelty, love, and sin.”

    Elle

  • “Bewitching…A killer novel…Atwood’s crisp wit and steely realism are reminiscent of Edith Wharton…A wonderfully complex narrative.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “Hauntingly powerful…Margaret Atwood is one of the greatest writers alive…[Her style is tight, authoritative, and as glittering and hard as a diamond…The Blind Assassin is a novel of luminous prose, scalpel-precise insights, and fierce characters…Atwood’s new work is so assured, so elegant and so incandescently intelligent, she casts her contemporaries in the shade.”

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  • “Intricate, haunting…The Blind Assassin…is the kind of story so full of intrigue and desperation that you take it to bed with you simply because you can’t bear to put it down…Atwood has achieved an astonishing feat. It’s one thing to write an accomplished novel; it’s another entirely to spin a tale so brilliantly that the reader internalizes it.”

    Harper’s Bazaar

  • “An intricately structured, often poetically rendered novel that’s also graced by [Atwood’s mordant wit…So flush is The Blind Assassin with knowing, telling details, it’s almost possible to [finish] the book feeling the author has again slipped the bonds to create a fiction more persuasive than reality.”

    Daily News

  • The Blind Assassin is by far the most intricately plotted of Atwood’s novels to date, a puzzle designed to beguile the reader much as the tales of Scheherazade beguiled King Shahryar.”

    Oregonian

  • “Vintage Atwood—furious, funny, brilliant, and subversive…Atwood achieves an almost impossible combination—a hall of mirrors, with cutting insights at every turn, cloaked in a dreamy, all-enveloping atmosphere that seduces the reader with every sentence…Iris Chase Griffen is one of the most memorable in a long line of dangerous, driven Atwood women…In The Blind Assassin, [Atwood’s] talents are on full display.”

    Times-Picayune

  • “Entirely convincing…Atwood is wonderfully perceptive.”

    Economist

  • Winner of the 2000 Man Booker Prize
  • A 2001 ALA Notable Book for Fiction
  • A 2001 Book Sense Book of the Year
  • A 2001 Time Magazine Best Book for Fiction
  • Winner of the 2001 Hammett Prize
  • A 2000 Governor General’s Literary Award Finalist
  • A 2002 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award Finalist
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • One of Time Magazine's Best 100 English-Language Novels from 1923–2005
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2001 Audie Award Finalist for Solo Female Narration
  • Shortlisted for the 2001 Orange Prize for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Geni | 2/19/2014

    " I could not put this remarkable, beautifully written book down. At times confusing, frustrating, and maddening, it was always rich, enthralling, imaginative, and profoundly sad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Rebecca | 2/9/2014

    " Despite its formidable size, I found "The Blind Assassin" to be a compelling read. I tore through the first 400 pages or so in two days, all the while relishing the novel's unique structure, excellent writing, and knotty detail. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but the novel left me less satisfied than when I started it. I predicted the "twists" at the end of the novel (and didn't find them to be particularly profound or original), and eventually the structure of the novel became less exciting and more predictable . That being said, I still enjoyed the book, and highly recommend. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Cheryl | 2/6/2014

    " Wonderfully captivating. Atwood keeps stringing you along with tidbits of tantalizing clues. This is a story within a story. One of my all time faves. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Rosslyn | 2/4/2014

    " Margaret Atwood is never for those who will not persevere. The blind assassin is slow to start and with a number of strands and styles with no apparent link you might be forgiven for giving up. However she is a masterweaver and as the strands begin to form a pattern you are hooked. Set in the 30's it is the story of moneyed families between the wars, the downfall of their industries due to communism etc. It is the story of pride, ambition, manipulation, abuse and failure to protect! It has twists and turns and keeps you guessing....... "

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