Saturday, 31 March 2012

The Blind Assassin - #1

I have a love-hate relationship with the Booker Prize. I love the idea of having a prize to reward and recommend the best of the best English language books of the year. And I love some of them, The Life of Pi for example. I hate it because it also rewards self-indulgent wank as literature, such as The Finkler Question. For me, The Blind Assassin falls more into the later category than the former.

I found the book slow to get into. Which would have been fine, if it was 200pp long instead of pushing 600pp. When it is such a brick, it makes you wonder if you will ever see the end of the damn thing. It was disjointed to begin with I felt, with me trying for the life of me to work out why I was reading about lizard men from outer space. Slowly, ever so fricking slowly, you start to work out what is happening and how the lizard men or the people sacrificing virgins fit in. Finally you want to know what happened to the Blind Assassin much more than the trendily unlikable characters in the “real world”.

Oh don't get me wrong, I felt sympathy for Iris. I liked to some extent Laura. Agreed with Reenie. And cared slightly for Alex even though he was a dick in his own way as well. And it was because of this I finished it. But if I am honest, mainly as I saw the “twist” about 300pp in and then wanted the smug satisfaction of knowing I was right. Which may confirm that I am in my own way as self-indulgent as the Booker winners I hate. Bugger.

So in the end:

Next: The Inheritance of Loss  - Darjeeling, India.


  1. THANK YOU for agreeing with me on the Finkler Question. There were other books nominated that year that were so great, too.

    I've been trying to gradually read all the Booker winners. Some have been exhausting, but some have been surprising - have you tried "How Late It Was, How Late?" Lovely little book.

    I don't know if you've read any other Atwood, but this was my least favorite. Funny because other people I know love this book. I prefer her dystopian novels (The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake, etc) and her poetry, which hardly ever gets any attention.

    1. Oh you are welcome! I was so excited about The Finkler Question as everyone raved about how funny it was. It wasn't at all, it was a waste of time.

      I think after this mammoth challenge is over, I will go and read a whole heap of award winners off my shelf I just haven't gotten to yet. Maybe that will make me feel better about the Booker, but at the moment we are at 50-50 for love-hate. I will add your book to my thoughts!

      I quite liked The Handmaid's Tale, and enjoyed the few chapters I got through of The Year of the Flood for my old book group before life got in the way of that read. I do have The Robber Bride and Oryx and Crake sitting there. Margaret Atwood is one of those authors I really want to like, but this book just let me down.