Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin was the book I used to close my September Man Booker Prize Month and indeed it was a great way to conclude what has been a great month in terms of reading. The novel exceeded my expectations, although I did kind of make it along the way that it would be reeking of feminism. Not that I have anything against it. Overall, it was a riveting tale, blunt, critical and always on-point on all ends.

If you haven’t read my review of Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin, click here.

Aside from its interesting plot, the narrative is also hemmed with metaphoric and thought-provoking lines. I have picked up some of my favorite lines from the novel. Here they are.


“The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you begin excusing yourself. You must see the writing as emerging like a long scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it.” ~ Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

“Why does the mind do such things? Turn on us, rend us, dig the claws in. If you get hungry enough, they say, you start eating your own heart. Maybe it’s much the same.” ~ Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

“What fabrications they are, mothers. Scarecrows, wax dolls for us to stick pins into, crude diagrams. We deny them an existence of their own, we make them up to suit ourselves – our own hungers, our own wishes, our own deficiencies.” ~ Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

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“When you’re unhinged, things make their way out of you that should be kept inside, and other things get in that ought to be shut out. The locks lose their powers. The guards go to sleep. The passwords fail.” ~ Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

“It wasn’t so easy though, ending the war. A war is a huge fire; the ashes from it drift far, and settle slowly.” ~ Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

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“Was this a betrayal, or was it an act of courage? Perhaps both. Neither one involves forethought: such things take place in an instant, in an eyeblink. This can only be because they have been rehearsed by us already, over and over, in silence and darkness; in such silence, such darkness, that we are ignorant of them ourselves. Blind but sure-footed, we step forward as if into a remembered dance.” ~ Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

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“You want the truth, of course. You want me to put two and two together. But two and two doesn’t necessarily get you the truth. Two and two equals a voice outside the window. Two and two equals the wind. The living bird is not its labeled bones.” ~ Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

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“Perhaps they were looking for passion; perhaps they delved into this book as into a mysterious parcel – a gift box at the bottom of which, hidden in layers of rustling tissue paper, lay something they’d always longed for but couldn’t ever grasp.” ~ Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

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“She knows herself to be at the mercy of events, and she knows by now that events have no mercy.” ~ Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

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“But in the end, back she comes. There’s no use resisting. She goes to him for amnesia, for oblivion. She renders herself up, is blotted out; enters the darkness of her own body, forgets her name. Immolation is what she wants, however briefly.” ~ Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

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“The picture is of happiness, the story not. Happiness is a garden walled with glass: there’s no way in or out. In Paradise there are no stories, because there are no journeys. It’s loss and regret and misery and yearning that drive the story forward, along its twisted road.” ~ Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

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“Don’t misunderstand me. I am not scoffing at goodness, which is far more difficult to explain than evil, and far more complicated. But sometimes it’s hard to put up with.” ~ Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

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“The ancestral voices were prophesying war because ancestral voices never shut up. And they hate to be wrong, and war is a sure thing, sooner or later.” ~ Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

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“But thoughtless ingratitude is the armor of the young; without it, how would they ever get through life? The old wish the young well, but they wish them ill also: they would like to eat them up, and absorb their vitality, and remain immortal themselves. Without the protection of surliness and levity, all children would be crushed by the past – the past of others, loaded on their shoulders. Selfishness is their saving grace.” ~ Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

“Farewells can be shattering, but returns are surely worse. Solid flesh can never live p to the bright shadow cast by its absence. Time and distance blur the edges; then suddenly the beloved has arrived, and it’s noon with its merciless light, and every spot and pore and wrinkle and bristle stands clear.” ~ Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin


These are just some of the eye-catching quotes from The Blind Assassin. Is there a particular line from the novel that has caught your attention but is not on my list? If you do, kindly share it in the comment box please.

Happy reading!

 

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