Year Published: 2000
Rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was a fabulous book. Atwood tells the tale of a wealthy family's plunge to disaster via three running stories: The daily life of the narrator, an octagenarian named Iris struggling to contend with the difficulties of aging and summoning her past for preserving; the narrator's memoir of her childhood and young adulthood; and a novel written by her younger sister Laura and published posthumously, after her sister's suicide.
The girls grow up wealthy in Toronto after the first world war, when their father inherits his father's button factory. But as the depression approaches and a series of tragedies strike the family, they are forced into roles they did not envision. Iris marries an older wealthy competitor of her father's. Laura remains fiery, creative, temptestous and more than a little odd. Their friendship with a Communist sympathizer sets off a series of events steeped in passion, intrigue, secrecy, and cruelty, which ultimately lead to Laura's untimely and tragic demise.
I will say no more so I don't ruin any of this book, except for this: Atwood's telling of the tale is nothing short of brilliant. She reveals just enough in each section of the three storylines to keep the reader's interest piqued, and to keep the flow of the saga even and smooth.
Challenges: 1% Well Read; Naming Conventions
Book-a-Week # 63
Date Read: 12/14/2008
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