Margaret Atwood Live Chat: The Highlights

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1book140_icon.JPG Margaret Atwood, author of The Blind Assassin, answered 1book140 followers' questions in a live chat Tuesday afternoon. She discussed what inspired her Booker prize-winning novel, why she's so fascinated by buttons, how she came up with the characters' names, why she chose the book's unusual narrative structure, and more. Here are some highlights from the hour-long chat:

Atwood began the conversation by posting two illustrations:

atwood_peach_post2.jpg

As promised, here is Peach Women of Aa'A...



atwood_lizard_post2.jpg

And here is a somewhat out of proportion Lizard Man of Xenor...



And then answered a series of reader questions:

@leahcstewart asked about the "original spark" for the book:

@leahcstewart #1b140_Q : Began book 3 times. 1.Iris already dead. 2, Iris alive but 2 others telling story. 3. Iris began speaking for selfless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply



@TheCinemaGirl asked if Atwood sees the novel as a mystery:

@TheCinemaGirl #1b140_Q I think all stories have an element of mystery-solving.. if you know All at the beginning you don't write/read on..less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply



@TheCinemaGirl #1b140_Q But I try to give clues, and not cheat. Who is interested in clothes? Author of "TBA" certainly describes them..less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply



@saburi209 asked what inspired the novel's unusual narrative structure:

@saburi209 #1b140_Q: Narrative structure: box within box within box w'in box. Guess I love layers. Was slightly hell to work out at first!less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply



@ellyconnolly asked Atwood if she had a favorite character:

@ellyconnolly: #1b140_q I always get fond of everyone while I'm writing. I'm w Keats: S'pr had as much joy creating an Iago as an Imogen..less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply



@1book140 asked how Atwood comes up with the names in her books:

@1book140_Q: I do use tepephone books to make sure the person doesn't actually exist in that place! Gravestones re: period patterns in namesless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply



@1book140_Q re: names: e.g, Iris and Laura were born during a spate of flower & plant names, though their names have other uses as well.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply



@KymmInBarcelona asked about the long description of the button factory in Part VIII, inspiring a long response from Atwood:

@KymmInBarcelona #1b140_q Buttons.. Have been fascinated with them since 1 childhood: they were toys 2 Amazing King Lear button line.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply



@KymmInBarcelona #1b140_Q Also a button factory is the kind of factory those small towns had in that era. Also a necessity for uniforms..less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply



@KymmInBarcelona #1b140_Q ... because the zipper had not been invented by time of WW1.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply



@bundleofbooks asked if the book will ever be turned into a movie:

@bundleofbooks #1b140_Q #1b140_q #1book140: Was under option.. hard to get all the plot in! Iris lives so long!less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply



See all the tweets in the live chat at #1b140_q.

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Eleanor Barkhorn is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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