Friday, May 18, 2007

Margaret Atwood - Cat's Eye

There are a few authors I really like and sometimes go out of my way to read. Of them, Margaret Atwood is probably the most thought-provoking, and Cat's Eye is no exception.

It's a book about middle-aged female artist doing a retrospective exhibition of her work. Probably over half the book is in flashback to the events that shaped her life, especially her slightly unusual family and how she was bullied as a child. It's got all kinds of themes - memory, ageing, female relationships and friendships, bullying, art, judging other people, ...

One thing worries me though. I am almost certain this classes as "chick lit", which I normally intensely dislike, but I quite enjoyed this one. Probably because it was so well written...

Random Margaret Atwood anecdote - on my selection conference for the C of E, the first evening we had a questionnaire to fill in, kind of like an exam but with questions such as "When were you last angry? What did you do?" In one of those, I mentioned that I'd just finished reading Oryx and Crake, by Atwood. There was one interviewer who was coming from a very different background to me, so I thought it might be difficult to relate well to her. But we chatted for nearly an hour about that book and issues it raised... Random advice for people going on selection conferences therefore is to read a Margaret Atwood novel first, just coz there's so much to talk about afterwards.

1 comment:

Willow said...

I agree with you about how a Margaret Atwood novel gives you something to talk about. Like you, I enjoyed Cat's Eye. As you say, it is so well-written. What draws me so warmly to this book is the absolute accuracy of the minutely detailed description of what Elaine sees, feels and thinks.

My other favourites among Atwood's novels are The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake.