Stronger and harder than a bad girl's dream. (lost_angel) wrote,
Stronger and harder than a bad girl's dream.
lost_angel

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The Blind Assassin

I finished it. Margaret Atwood is two for two, The Blind Assassin and A Handmaid's Tale have been outstanding novels.

I have my own way of telling that a book is amazing, like the near blinding flash of a camera bulb. It leaves me blinking, gasping for breath, with the blazing, burning truth of life it carries wrapped in balmy, stinging language.

An excerpt that I think is appropriate for this venue:


I could have chosen ignorance, but I did what you have done - what you've already done, if you've read this far. I chose knowledge instead.

Most of us will. We'll maim ourselves in the process, we'll stick our hands into the flames for it if necessary. Curiosity is not our only motive: love or grief or despair or hatred is what drives us on. We'll spy relentlessly on the dead: we'll open their letters, we'll read their journals, we'll go through their trash, hoping for a hint, a final word, an explanation, from those who have deserted us - who've left us holding the bag, which is often a good deal emptier than we'd supposed.

But what about those who plant clues, for us to stumble on? Why do they bother? Egotism? Pity? Revenge? A simple claim to existence, like scribbling your initials on a washroom wall? The combination of presence and anonymity - confession without penance, truth without consequences - it has its attractions. Getting the blood of your hands, one way or another.

Those who leave such evidence can scarcely complain if strangers come along afterwards and poke their noses into every single thing that would once have been none of their business. And not only strangers: lovers, friends, relations. We're voyeurs, all of us. Why should we assume that anything in the past is ours for the taking, simply because we've found it? We're all grave robbers, once we open the doors locked by others.

But only locked. The rooms and their contents have been left intact. If those leaving them had wanted oblivion, there was always fire.

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