Controversial painter Elaine Risley returns from Vancouver for a retrospective of her work. Here, in Toronto, the city of her youth, she confronts the submerged layers of her past – her unconventional family, her eccentric and brilliant brother, the self-righteous Mrs. Smeath, and the two men Elaine later came to love in diverse and sometimes disastrous ways. But it is the enigmatic Cordelia, once her tormentor, then her best friend, whose elusive yet powerful presence in her life Elaine finally comes to understand. The realm of childhood and growing up, with its secrecies, cruelties, betrayals, and terrors, has never been so brilliantly evoked. By turns disquieting, humorous, compassionate, haunting and mordant, Cat’s Eye is vintage Atwood.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Margaret Atwood charts the psychological process of memory as compulsion and memory as a healing act through the character of Elaine Risley, an artist who returns to her home town of Toronto for a retrospective of her work. Elaine's visit triggers thoughts of her childhood with all the urgency of a bad rash. Dominating her reflections are her childhood "friends", three girls who wreak havoc on Elaine's self-esteem. Having spent her early childhood on the road with an entomologist father, a less than traditional mother and a brother more concerned with snot and snakes than the intricate behaviour codes of girls, the young Elaine is vulnerable to the indirect aggression of Cordelia, the ringleader of the group who seeks to improve her. Through Elaine's experiences, Margaret Atwood turns a keen and ironic eye on the training of females in North American culture: "All I have to do is sit on the floor and cut frying pans out of the Eaton's Catalogue with embroidery scissors, and say I've done it badly." The self-effacement of these girl-children barely masks a need for power that erupts all too often in cruel forms of play. This is a story in which the lines between victims and oppressors blur, in which forgiveness becomes an act of gaining power. Through humour, pain and insight, she makes us see, with surprise and recognition, details from childhood we may well have forgotten. -- Chris Kellett, From 500 Great Books by WomenRezension:
Not since Graham Greene or William Golding has a novelist captured so forcefully the relationship between school bully and victim...Atwood's power games are played, exquisitely, by little girls ( LISTENER)
Irrestistible...This book is about life for all of us. She is one of our finest novelists. Read it ( THE TIMES)
Atwood's taut and exquisite use of language makes all her books irresistable... ( THE WEEK)
Margaret Atwood charts the psychological process of memory as compulsion and memory as a healing act through the character of Elaine Risley, an artist who returns to her home town of Toronto for a retrospective of her work. Elaine's visit triggers though ( - Chris Kellett, From 500 Great Books by Women, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW)
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