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Cat's Eye Paperback – January 20, 1998
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"Stunning...Atwood conceives Elaine with a poet's transforming fire; and delivers her to us that way, a flame inside an icicle." —Los Angeles Times
"Nightmarish, evocative, heartbreaking." —The New York Times Book Review
"The best book in a long time on female friendships... Cat's Eye is remarkable, funny, and serious, brimming with uncanny wisdom." —Cosmopolitan
From the Inside Flap
- Publisher : Anchor (January 20, 1998)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 480 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0385491026
- ISBN-13 : 978-0385491020
- Lexile measure : 850L
- Item Weight : 12.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.19 x 0.96 x 7.99 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #68,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Unlike some successful authors, Atwood never repeats her ideas from one book to the next but each novel is a new journey in which you're always fully immersed in the lives of the characters. Cat's Eye is no different in this respect and I was completely absorbed from start to end.
I particularly liked the depiction of the child's world as one in which you observe but can't quite intervene; how this moves into the teenage years when a quiet but cruel form of revenge is exacted in a precise and self-conscious way; the relationship with the narrator's brother is drawn through perfectly concise details, with just enough information provided but never too much.
This reflects another impressive feature of the novel in that there's nothing redundant in this story. Everything has a reason to be there and Atwood's skill at this level is immense. She's a brilliant writer and Cat's Eye is simply further proof of this. To say I stand in awe of her abilities and the impact her work makes on my life is a vast understatement. She is, quite simply, brilliant.
The child Elaine is small for her age, inquisitive, and bullied. A The same classmates who befriended the new girl are the ones who make her feel worthless mentally, physically, and socially.
She is actually very bright and creativeskipped a grade, found her artistic side, and acquired her own family. She met her tormentors again in adult life. This time the encounters were different.
Big question: Does the bullied one become a bully?
I both hated and loved this book. Loved it for her beautiful, intricate, evocative use of language ... and hated it because it made me so uncomfortable.
The first quarter of the book focuses on the protagonist’s (Elaine’s) unusual family and therefore her unpreparedness for the “real world” of childhood amongst strangers. She is a true innocent with no natural defenses against the casual cruelty of others. In this, she reminded me so much of myself that this portion of the book was excruciating for me to get through. In fact, I nearly put the book down at this point, with a shudder and sense of relief to let it go.
I did continue reading, however, because Elaine eventually survives childhood and continues through her life, growing a tougher skin but making both good and bad choices along the way, always as a result of her painful childhood and the people who inhabited it.
The final quarter of the book focuses on Elaine’s experience as a moderately successful painter, and was my favorite part. I thoroughly enjoyed Atwood’s descriptions of the artwork (and wish they actually existed) and their relationships to the characters and events in her life. She describes the various vogues and “artspeak” through the years, with a sharp wit that also really struck home.
For those wishing tidy answers, you won’t find them here. However, there is a satisfying ending, and I’m glad to add this book to one of my favorites ... but one which I probably won’t want to revisit any time soon.
Top reviews from other countries
I read this for our book club read and if it wasn't for the book club and the fact I had just forked out £6.99 (kindle), I would have stopped reading.
The initial topic was important and thought provoking, as well as relatable for anyone who has been through childhood bullying. This went into detail in maybe two or three of the chapters, out of 75!
It was also put to us as a psychological thriller. It does not fall under this genre.
There is no story line. There are many questions and no answers. She is just as depressed at the beginning as at the end.
But now, I'm also that depressed too!
Hugely dissapointing read.