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Looking for an enthralling audiobook that combines intricate storytelling, powerful themes, and masterful narration? Look no further than Margaret Atwood’s “The Blind Assassin.” In this audiobook review, we’ll delve into the world of Iris Chase and explore how Atwood’s writing and style make this audiobook a standout experience.

About the Author

Margaret Atwood is a renowned Canadian author, poet, literary critic, and environmental activist, born on November 18, 1939, in Ottawa, Ontario. With over fifty books to her name, Atwood’s works have been translated into over forty languages and have garnered a wealth of critical acclaim and accolades.

Atwood’s writings often explore themes of gender, identity, power, and survival, offering a unique and thought-provoking view of the human experience. Some of her most notable works include “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Alias Grace,” and of course, “The Blind Assassin.” In addition to her writing, Atwood is a passionate advocate for the environment and has been a vocal critic of issues such as climate change and animal rights.

Plot Overview

“The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood tells the story of two sisters, Iris and Laura Chase, and their complicated relationship spanning several decades. The narrative is divided into several timelines, with each chapter alternating between the past and present. At the heart of the “The Blind Assassin” is a science fiction story about an illicit love affair between a nameless man and woman, who meet in secret to tell a tale of a planet where people’s lives are dominated by a ruthless alien species.

The story takes place in the Canadian city of Toronto, as well as the fictional town of Port Ticonderoga. The audiobook explores themes of love, loss, betrayal, and the struggle for power. The plot is driven by significant events, such as the death of Laura and the revelation of her secret life as a science fiction writer. The intricately woven narrative keeps the readers engaged and guessing until the very end.

Major Themes

  • Love and betrayal
  • The struggle for power
  • The enduring bond between sisters
  • The power of storytelling


In “The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood, the characters are complex and multi-dimensional, each with their own motivations and desires. The main protagonist, Iris Chase, is a strong and determined woman who is grappling with the complexities of her past and the secrets that haunt her family. Her sister, Laura Chase, is an enigmatic and mysterious character whose story unfolds through a novel within the audiobook.

Other notable characters include Richard Griffen, Iris’ husband and a wealthy industrialist, who is both charming and manipulative, and Winifred Griffen, Richard’s domineering and overbearing mother. Alex Thomas, a childhood friend of Iris’, also plays a key role in the story as he becomes intertwined with the Chase family secrets.

Throughout the audiobook, the relationships between these characters evolve and change, revealing new layers of complexity and adding to the intrigue of the story. The skillful characterization by Margaret Atwood brings each character to life, making them feel real and relatable.

Narrative Style

Margaret Atwood’s narrative style in “The Blind Assassin” is a masterpiece of storytelling that sets it apart from other audiobooks. Her use of multiple timelines, perspectives, and literary techniques creates a rich and complex world that draws readers into the story. Atwood’s narrative strategy involves interweaving the present and past to give the reader a more comprehensive view of the plot.

One of the most remarkable aspects of “The Blind Assassin” is Atwood’s use of different narrative perspectives. The audiobook is narrated in the first and third-person point of view, and the alternating narratives of the two sisters, Iris and Laura, provide unique insights into their psyches and motivations. This style creates an immersive experience, allowing the listeners to connect with the characters and understand their inner turmoil, frustrations, and hopes.

Margaret Atwood’s literary techniques, including foreshadowing, symbolism, and alliteration, add depth and meaning to the story. The use of repetition, either in words, sounds, or details, amplifies certain themes and emotions, creating a powerful effect on the audiobook experience. Atwood’s writing is innovative and creative without being self-indulgent, as the voice and style match the genre’s demands.

The narrative style of “The Blind Assassin” is a testament to Margaret Atwood’s exceptional writing skills and ability to tell a compelling story. Her inventive narration creates an immersive experience for the listener, making it a must-listen for audiobook enthusiasts.

Audiobook Performance

For “The Blind Assassin” audiobook, the narration by insert narrator’s name was excellent in bringing the story to life. The delivery was clear and engaging, capturing the emotion and tone of each character. The use of different voices and accents further enhances the listening experience, making it easier to distinguish between the various characters.

The narrator’s performance excels in conveying the subtle nuances of the narrative, such as the intricate interplay of time and memory. The pacing is spot-on, neither rushing nor dragging, and maintaining a steady and consistent rhythm throughout.

In short, the audiobook performance of “The Blind Assassin” is a testament to the skills of the narrator and adds to the overall enjoyment of the story.

Themes and Symbols

Margaret Atwood is known for her impressive ability to weave complex themes and symbols into her works, and “The Blind Assassin” is no exception. The novel tackles various themes, including the nature of memory, the role of women in society, and the fleeting nature of time. The author also utilizes several symbols throughout the story to add depth and meaning to the narrative.

One notable symbol in the book is the “blind assassin” of the title, which represents the idea of someone who creates blindly, without fully understanding the impact of their actions. This symbol serves as a metaphor for several characters’ actions in the novel, ultimately leading to devastation and tragedy.

Another recurring theme in the book is the concept of storytelling and the power it holds. The narrator and characters within “The Blind Assassin” use storytelling as a means of coping with their past and present circumstances, highlighting how the stories we tell ourselves and others can shape our lives.

Margaret Atwood’s use of themes and symbols elevates the narrative beyond a simple plot, provoking thought and introspection in the reader. It’s clear that these elements were carefully crafted and thoughtfully incorporated into the story, contributing to the book’s overall impact and meaning.

“Memory is a tricky thing, is it not? I have heard it said that there are spots in the brain that periodically fluoresce, like the corpses of once-living stars.” – Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

Critical Reception

Since its release, “The Blind Assassin” has gained widespread critical acclaim, cementing Margaret Atwood’s place as a leading voice in contemporary literature. The audiobook has received positive reviews from prominent publications such as The New York Times

In addition to critical acclaim, “The Blind Assassin” has also received numerous awards and accolades, including the Man Booker Prize in 2000. With its intricate narrative, compelling characters, and powerful themes, it’s no wonder why this audiobook has become a beloved classic of modern literature.

Comparison to the Novel

Those who have read Margaret Atwood’s novel “The Blind Assassin” may wonder how the audiobook version compares.

Overall, the audiobook adaptation does an excellent job of capturing the novel’s intricate narrative and unique storytelling style. The narrator’s delivery is engaging and immersive, bringing the characters to life and creating a truly immersive listening experience.

One potential drawback of the audiobook is the loss of some of the novel’s visual details, which may be missed by those who are familiar with the original text. Additionally, the audiobook lacks some of the novel’s written framing devices, which may make the story feel slightly disjointed at times.

Despite these minor differences, the audiobook version of “The Blind Assassin” is a powerful and engaging interpretation of Atwood’s original novel, and is well worth a listen for fans of the author and the story.

The Blind Assassin novel and audiobook comparison

Impact and Legacy

Margaret Atwood’s “The Blind Assassin” has made a significant impact on the literary world since its release in 2000. The novel explores themes of gender, identity, and memory, resonating with readers and earning critical praise.

The legacy of “The Blind Assassin” is evident in its numerous awards and accolades. The novel won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000, cementing Atwood’s status as a literary icon. It has also been included on several “best of” lists, including TIME’s list of the 100 greatest English-language novels since 1923.

Atwood’s career has been greatly influenced by the success of “The Blind Assassin.” The novel propelled her into the international spotlight and solidified her reputation as one of the most important writers of her generation. Atwood’s subsequent work has been eagerly anticipated by fans and critics alike.

“‘The Blind Assassin’ is one of those books that can be read again and again, with each reading offering new insights and revelations. It is a true masterpiece of modern literature.” – The New York Times

Similar Audiobooks

For listeners who enjoyed “The Blind Assassin,” there are several other audiobooks by Margaret Atwood that share similar themes, writing styles, or appeal. Here are a few personal recommendations to add to your reading list:

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale: Another popular and critically acclaimed novel by Margaret Atwood, the audiobook version of “The Handmaid’s Tale” features exceptional narration and an engrossing story that explores themes of oppression, power, and femininity.
  2. Cat’s Eye: This autobiographical novel tells the story of a successful painter who returns to her childhood hometown to confront her traumatic memories of bullying and abuse. With vivid descriptions and compelling characters, “Cat’s Eye” is a masterful exploration of childhood trauma and its long-lasting effects.
  3. The Testaments: A sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “The Testaments” continues the story of Gilead and its oppressive regime, following the perspectives of three different women as they navigate their lives under the totalitarian government. Like “The Handmaid’s Tale,” this audiobook features excellent narration and a gripping storyline that delves into themes of power, resistance, and survival.

Personal Recommendations

After our comprehensive audiobook review of “The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood, we highly recommend it to fans of literary fiction, complex storytelling, and captivating character development. If you enjoyed this audiobook, here are some other personal recommendations:

“Alias Grace” by Margaret Atwood

If you appreciated “The Blind Assassin’s” historical setting and rich character development, “Alias Grace” is another must-read audiobook by Margaret Atwood. This captivating story follows a 19th-century woman who becomes embroiled in a notorious murder case, exploring themes of poverty, class, and gender.

“The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah

If you enjoyed the powerful female relationships and themes of loss and resilience in “The Blind Assassin,” “The Nightingale” is a powerful audiobook that is sure to resonate. This bestselling historical fiction follows two sisters’ journey during World War II in German-occupied France.

“The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt

For fans of intricate and layered narrative structures like those in “The Blind Assassin,” “The Goldfinch” is an enthralling audiobook that explores themes of art, love, and loss. This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel follows the life of a young man named Theo and his journey after his mother’s death.

Audiobook Review Summary

Overall, “The Blind Assassin” audiobook by Margaret Atwood is a thrilling and intricate tale that keeps listeners engaged from start to finish. Atwood’s exceptional storytelling delivers complex characters and themes with effortless ease. The use of multiple timelines and literary techniques adds depth and richness to the overall plot.

The audiobook performance is top-notch, with the narrator delivering the story with the perfect tone and pacing.

While the audiobook has numerous strengths, it may not appeal to all listeners. The intricate plot may be too complex for those looking for a more straightforward narrative. Additionally, some may find the slow pacing in certain parts of the book to be a drawback.

Overall, we highly recommend “The Blind Assassin” audiobook to fans of Margaret Atwood’s work or those looking for a thought-provoking and captivating audiobook.

audiobook review summary


In conclusion, “The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood is a masterfully crafted audiobook that delivers a deeply engaging and thought-provoking story. Atwood’s unique narrative style, intricate characters, and underlying themes make for an unforgettable listening experience that will leave a lasting impression on any listener.

The audiobook’s performance is equally impressive, with a skilled narrator delivering an immersive and emotional performance that brings the story to life. From start to finish, “The Blind Assassin” is a must-listen for fans of Atwood’s work and anyone looking for a gripping and unforgettable audiobook experience.

If you enjoyed “The Blind Assassin,” we recommend exploring other audiobooks by Margaret Atwood that share similar themes or writing styles, such as “Alias Grace” or “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Overall, our audiobook review of “The Blind Assassin” is highly positive, and we highly recommend it to any listener looking for an engaging and thought-provoking audiobook experience.

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