Top critical review
Falls short of expectations
6 September 2015
Margaret atwood playfully mixes the genre here in this one special book. It revolves around the life of 2 sisters, experiencing their life as disinterested pawns in upper class society of Canada. On top it looks like a typical read of sisters going through motions of life, a cliched plot if there ever was one. But in hands of Atwood she mixes a parallel & a well done scifi story along the main plot, with a series of passionate lovers escapades intermixed it with giving it a noir feel & all these runs in parallel to an uninspiring main plot to give it a much needed twist & a dash of brilliance from the writer's perspective.
As per the book it starts off very well as we are introduced to the characters & taken on a journey through their childhood, their adventures all told in a manner of first person narrative with a flashback. As you slowly begin o hate Iris of her robot like detached submissive nature which makes Laura look like livewire in contrast.Plot doesn't slacken & flows smoothly keeping your interest occupied for half the book or so, Once the main characters go past their "coming of age" narrative, the plots starts crawling, the emotional investment demanded by first half of the book begins to fade away as we roll towards an inevitable & mostly predictable climax. One thing I would have likes is to know more about Alex, as the book is filled with just too many female characters for my liking(Iris, Laura, Renee, Aimee, Sabrina, Winifred) and Alex did seem like an interesting character but we sadly there is no payoff there. Also little is know on Aimee & Sabrina who seems to have had a tougher life & there are just 2 or 3 pages max to address it, which feels lacking, maybe the first person narrative is to blame for it.
Atwood's writing style is what keeps this book above par, ability to mix genres effortlessly, her witticisms, social commentary, Iris's monologues of love, life, old age, memories are all sharp & worth rereading again. This is what in my opinion elevates this from a 3 star to 4 star ratings if this is what you are looking for in a book. The book does feel bloated especially towards end but has a gentle start that will suck you in right away. So if you are picking this up make sure that once you are past the middle part ypu can skip stuffs & you wouldn't be missing much, except for Atwood's writing brilliance, plotwise it gets bare towards end with a gimmicky, soap opera feel to it.