There has been much chatter in our 1book140 discussions about unreliable narrators the past few days. And for good reason: We have not one, but three of them in Atwood's novel. But the third part of The Blind Assassin belongs, indelibly, to Iris. After the shifting sands of Parts I and II, in which any first-time reader struggled to gain a footing, Part III offers welcome, solid ground. As she wanders quietly through the town of Port Ticonderoga, Iris chronicles the rise and fall of the Chase family. In doing so she reveals herself to be an entirely unique, though not entirely likeable, literary creation. "For whom am I writing this?" wonders the aged and infirm Iris. "For myself? I think not. I have no picture of myself reading it over at a later time, later time having become problematical." With her acute observations, acerbic wit, and unsentimental reminiscences, Iris came to dominate the conversation this week. Here's a sampler:
It's the most effective anti-poverty program in U.S. history. So why do some people hate it?