0151 | Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood


Context: finished this off in our room in Piddington with a view out over the garden.

I liked this. It kept me wanting to read more and I was interested in what might happen to the characters. Strangely though, nothing did and, despite that, I still enjoyed reading it. Beats me.

The story is told by a painter whose work encapsulates significant moments of her life story. Each of these episodes she relates in chapters with headings that ultimately become her paintings. This is deeper than I had time to really give the novel I’m sure but I spent long enough in it to appreciate that.

I also appreciated Atwood’s use of metaphor. It’s a sign of a good writer, I feel, that metaphors and similies are original and capture something of life that all of us know but few have reflected long enough on to give words to. Atwood does that.

So, enjoyed my second Atwood. But with the first being Robber Bride, that wasn’t really hard!

Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space.

But it’s enough to see by.

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  1. I don’t think I would say that nothing happens to the characters in this book. Given that it follows the narrator from girlhood through middle age, life happens to her, and if that weren’t thrilling enough, her life is punctuated by many critical and raw moments. I do think the recollections of girlhood are the strongest part of the novel, and while the latter half might not live up to that, the accuracy with which Atwood captures the viciousness of girls when they are young is devastating in its truthfulness. I don’t necessarily like Margaret Atwood, but this one certainly earned her some respect from me.

    1. sure, life happens… but, in all seriousness, what does that amount to for most of us? I think that fact crosses Elaine’s mind from time to time but, as with most modern writers, little is made of that. Yes, she grew up and yes she had childhood, adolescent and adult experiences, she made her name as a painter… and? So, when I say ‘nothing’ happens, I mean it in a very nihilistic sense.

      I don’t subscribe to nihilism at all. I believe that every moment of our days is weighted with extreme significance. Elaine was the antithesis of that. She ends up with no relationships of value – she’s distant from everyone around her – and even her paintings are, to her, lacking any value despite the fuss made of them by certain people. In this way, it’s quite a sad book.

  2. I am a huge Atwood fan.
    Which is to say, I really need to lose weight, and I love Margaret Atwood.
    This [Cat’s Eye] was my second favorite ever, Atwood…. the first being Alias Grace.
    The only time she has lost me was with Oryx and Crake.
    But she is a gem.
    Our [Canadian] national treasure, in my opinion.

  3. Far too many authors do not use metaphors enough I think. It makes people divulge into the story a bit more instead of reading surface value.

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