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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
If The Handmaid’s Tale is a brilliant-but-bitter pill to swallow, Cat’s Eye is practically a tonic. Margaret Atwood’s entrancing novel about the exquisite absurdity of being female focuses on Elaine Risley, a fortysomething painter preparing for a dreaded midlife retrospective. Flashbacks tell the story of Elaine’s younger years, starting with her as an eight-year-old child being raised in social isolation by her bohemian parents. When the family moves to Toronto, Elaine gets her first exposure to the odd habits and devastating cruelty of other little girls. Like a preadolescent anthropologist, she’s astounded by each new discovery—sweater sets, penises, pageboys, chintz—in ways that are heartbreaking and often completely hilarious.
Atwood writes in an autobiographical vein about a middle-aged Canadian painter who is thrust into an extended reconsideration of her past, including one particularly strange friendship, while attending a retrospective of her work in Toronto. PW praised Atwood's incisiveness, saying that she ``takes the measure of a coercive, conformist society.''
Customer ReviewsSee All
Echoes my own relationships
...with other women.
This was the first Atwood book I read and I was instantly hooked on her writing.
This book echoes the complicated dynamics of womens’ relationships, starting in childhood and the psychological traumas that girls often inflict on each other in childhood and how those relationships shape the inner lives of grown women.