Year Published: 1988
"Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space."
I read this book yesterday. It was a last minute decision--I need to finish a book for the 1% Well Read challenge, so it had to be something I had on hand that I could read quickly. I chose wisely--Atwood always weaves a captivating story. This story has to do with girls, and what damages they can do to one another. It also has to do with the past, and how fluid it is--the past can always verge into the present.
Elaine is a painter, and she has returned to Toronto, the city of her youth, for an art showing. While there, her past surfaces as she recalls an old friend/enemy, Cordelia, whom she boths longs to and fears to see. She is forced to confront the hurts both to and from Cordelia, as well as her former failed marriage and the loss of her brother.
Time as a fluid entity is a running theme in this model, as is the Virgin Mary (Our Lady of Perpetual Help/Hell), and how repressed memories surface (in this case, through the artist's paintings). But the main idea is that of girls and how they treat each other. Cordelia is both a villain and a tragic figure, and the symbol of both misery and triumph (and subsequent guilt) for Elaine. I'm sure many women could recount similar situations--girls just don't know how to be with one another, and their cattiness competes with their instinct to nurture and support one another.
All in all, another really good book by Atwood.
Book-a-week #: 13
Challenge/s: TBR (Alt), 1% Well Read, What's in a Name
Date Read: 2/28/09