Cat’s Eye is the story of Elaine Risley, a controversial painter who returns to Toronto, the city of her youth, for a retrospective of her art. Engulfed by vivid images of the past, she reminisces about a trio of girls who initiated her into the fierce politics of childhood and its secret world of friendship, longing, and betrayal. Elaine must come to terms with her own identity as a daughter, a lover, an artist, and a woman–but above all she must seek release from her haunting memories. Disturbing, hilarious, and compassionate, Cat’s Eye is a breathtaking novel of a woman grappling with the tangled knot of her life.
About Margaret Atwood
MARGARET ATWOOD, whose work has been published in over thirty-five countries, is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. In addition to The Handmaid’s Tale, her novels include Cat’s Eye, shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; and her most recent, Oryx and Crake, shortlisted for the 2003 Booker Prize. She lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.
Herself the daughter of a Canadian forest entomologist, Atwood writes in an autobiographical vein about Elaine Risley, a middle-aged Canadian painter (and daughter of a forest entomologist) who is thrust into an extended reconsideration of her past while attending a retrospective show of her work in Toronto, a city she had fled years earlier in order to leave behind painful memories. Most pointedly, Risley reflects on the strangeness of her long relations with Cordelia, a childhood friend whose cruelties, dealt lavishly to Risley, helped hone her awareness of our inveterate appetite for destruction even while we love, and are understood as characteristically femininea betrayal of other women that masks a ferocious betrayal of oneself. Atwood’s portrayal of the friendship gives the novel its fraught and mysterious center, but her critical assessment of Cordelia and the “whole world of girls and their doings” also takes the measure of a coercive, conformist society (not quite as extreme as in the futuristic The Handmaid’s Tale ). Emerging “the stronger” for her latecoming understanding of herself, Risley in the final pages rises above the ties that bound her, transcendently alive to the possibilities of “light, shining out in the midst of nothing.” – Publishers Weekly
When Elaine Risley returns to her hometown, Toronto, for a retrospective show of her paintings, she finds more than critical acclaim. Local streets, long-gone landmarks, and elements in the paintings themselves trigger memories of her transient childhood traveling across Canada with her entomologist father; of adolescence marred by the cruel teasing of three friends; and of love affairs with her first art teacher and mentor, and with Jon, her first husband. In addition, Elaine is haunted by thoughts of her chief tormentor/best friend, Cordelia, whom she last saw years ago in a mental institution. Atwood’s focus on the inner landscape of Elaine’s youth and early adult years will appeal to older teenagers. - Alice Conlon, University of Houston for School Library Journal
Teen Girls, Mean Girls: A Tale Of Karmic Revenge
NPR Book Review – January 30, 1012 (Excerpt)
Anyone familiar with upstate New York knows its formidable ice-greased winters, where the backs of your thighs sear and chap, and your teeth clatter like rickety marionettes. But the first time I saw my soon-to-be best friend, she wore only a flimsy poncho, short skirt, no pantyhose and, most amazingly, open-toed shoes.
Both in our early 20s, enrolled at the same university as grad students, we spent years synchronizing our tastes. She tattooed her arm in the exact same spot as mine. I began to sport cleavage just like her. She dyed her hair dark; I highlighted mine. But what began in enchantment eventually ended in disillusionment. She’d inform me of people who didn’t “like” me and spared me none of the snarky put-downs supposedly said behind my back by a mutual friend. I’ll never know if those comments were true — only that they wounded me.
In the wake of this friendship’s demise, another friend recommended Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye. “Very few books explore female friendship at this level of intensity,” she said. “It will help you.”
I devoured it within two sleepless nights. Then I read it again, slowly, this time to savor it. [Read the full article...]
Margaret Atwood’s Brave New World Of Online Publishing
NPR Book Review – December 27, 2012 (Excerpt)
If you’re a Margaret Atwood fan — and you’ve got some spare change under the couch cushions — just a few dollars will get you a stand-alone episode of the new novel she’s writing in serial form.
It’s called Positron, and Atwood is publishing it on Byliner, a website launched last year that’s one of many new sites billing themselves as platforms for writers.
So what inspired the best-selling, Booker Prize-winning author ofThe Blind Assassin and The Handmaid’s Tale to try out this newfangled approach?
“Once upon a time, novelists of the 19th century, such as Charles Dickens, published in serial form,” Atwood tells NPR’s Audie Cornish. “They would put out maybe three chapters or so, and then they would respond to readers’ reactions. And then, that moved on and serial publication got taken over by magazines and newspapers, and that was where it was in my youth. But that died out as the 20th century neared its close, so a whole way of publishing, a whole platform vanished.” [Read the full article...]
Painted Wings and Giants’ Rings
A Novel by Wilfried F. Voss
The loss of innocence, when “painted wings and giants’ rings made ways for other toys” is the central theme of this festival of children’s dream world adventures against the harsh reality of adult life.
In his newest novel, Wilfried F. Voss delivers a unique and insightful view into a child’s world and how it relates to the harsh reality of adult life, in this case the life of Roger Wilkinson, a businessman who is haunted by childhood memories and the ultimate fear of mistreating his own children.
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
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