I finished! However I haven’t decided on a format for reviewing novels so as unsatisfactory as it may be I will just have to wing it!
One word description: Repressed
Dust jacket quote: An absorbing, multifaceted adventure through the 20th century, which interrogates gender roles and societies accountability.
The book was gripping in parts but not as captivating as the other works I have read by Atwood. The characters seemed to take a long time to take shape and breathe, which may have contributed to the confusion I suffered at the beginning of this book.
The last 200 pages however were read all at once in a desire to reach the conclusion and know. I could almost see the twist at the end but the skill of the writing whipped me into a frenzy to find out for certain.
After finishing I almost immediately went onto discussion boards because I still had this desire for definitive answers which Atwood did not want to supply. While the discussion boards mimicked my feelings of confusion but also love for the complexity, style and span of the novel they did not help with the biggest burning question about Laura’s death. Why did she kill herself? For a number of reasons is all I can conclude but I don’t fully understand the final meeting between the two sisters that trigger’s Laura’s final action. The only forum help I found was the suggestion that Laura’s mannerisms and mind set could be indications of autism. This somewhat explains Laura’s attitude and perception of situations.
But still what was the final motivation for her suicide? Did she love Alex? I don’t really see how, they did not really know each other or see one another. I guess she had been enduring rape in order to protect him but that was loyalty surely not love? If you accept she cared for him deeply then the next question is what hurt her… The fact that he was dead and she hadn’t succeeded in saving him or that her sister was having an affair with him?
Also Richard’s death, the result of his heartbreak in believing that Laura had been seeing another man or the scandal threatening to expose him? Again I find it bizarre that he would care for Laura even love Laura but perhaps this fault is not my own… The character is purposefully written as a ‘cardboard cut out’ and is also impossible to empathise with.