Thursday, July 12, 2012

Book review: Cat's eye

Title: Cat's eye

Author: Margaret Atwood

Genre: Literary fiction

First sentence reads: Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimension of space.

Rating: 4/5

I've been wanting to read a book by Atwood and I finally did it. This is my first Margaret Atwood's book. The story somewhat seems like a biography. Elaine is an established painter who is about to open her retrospective exhibition in her hometown, Toronto. At this particular time in Toronto which was her home while growing up, she reminiscence her childhood, her constant travel from place to place with her entomologist dad and her friends Grace, Cordelia and Carol. Her relationship with her three girlfriends was tumultuous, full of secrets with plenty of childhood dilemma. Atwood alternates between Elaines past and present. Her relationship with her brother was delightful to read.

Its hard to sum up the book as it sorts of flows and is actually a story of Elaine's travel through her memory. It doesn't move too fast and at the same time does not drag on. The author has a wonderful way with words, and its gives so much pleasure to the reader. She does use a lot of adjectives and my I loved it. Though she has the tendency to end sentences abruptly or put lots of short phrases and repeated sentences I did not really mind as each character, each scene came to life with her vivid description. It also brought to life a time long gone, a generation of people and their simple way of life long diminished from the  current world. 

The only problem I had with this book is Elaines preoccupation with her friend Cordelia. I did not really understand why she lingered most on the memories of cordelia. why she misses her much. I did not warm up to Cordelia's character.

I read this book continuously and when I was not reading, I was thinking about the characters and the story. Overall I really enjoyed it and would recommend it for those who love biography like fiction with beautiful prose.

Favourite quotes

~The sun sets in long, chilly, lingering sunset, flamingo pink, then salmon, then the improbable vibrant red of Mercurochrome.~

~We are silent, considering shortfalls. There's not much time left, for us to become what we once intended. Jon had potential, but its not a word that can used comfortable any longer. Potential has shelf life.~

~He has a look of amazing brilliance, as if at any minute his head will light up and become transparent, disclosing a huge brightly coloured brain inside.~


  1. I read this book a few years ago and like you, really enjoyed it. But it has faded completely without leaving any impression on me, so perhaps it wasn't as good as I initally thought.

    1. Some books do stay in our memories don't they? I'm not sure about this book. Lets just see. But I'm planning to read the rest of Atwood's books. She's really good though.

  2. I've read a few of Atwood's books, but not Cat's Eye. Eventually, I'd like to read them all. You should read The Blind Assassin, from what you've said, I think it has a similar structure. I also really liked it.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. I'm planning to read The blind assassin, also the handmaid's tale. Heard its good. =)

    2. I LOVE The Handmaid's Tale. It was my first Atwood and definitely my favourite. I hope you enjoy it.