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Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood
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Cat's Eye (original 1988; edition 2009)

by Margaret Atwood (Author)

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7,518124685 (3.93)1 / 516
Member:othersam
Title:Cat's Eye
Authors:Margaret Atwood (Author)
Info:Virago (1990), Edition: Reprint, 512 pages
Collections:Currently reading
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Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood (1988)

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English (119)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  German (1)  All languages (124)
Showing 1-5 of 119 (next | show all)
An amazing author and a beautiful book that I didn't like at all. The main character was very well written, so easy to identify and empathize with. However, she was too melancholy in a boring and self-absorbed way. There's an importance in that character but I wanted an escape and this reminded me too much of every other depressed person with Western problems.
  rosechimera | Mar 16, 2018 |
An amazing author and a beautiful book that I didn't like at all. The main character was very well written, so easy to identify and empathize with. However, she was too melancholy in a boring and self-absorbed way. There's an importance in that character but I wanted an escape and this reminded me too much of every other depressed person with Western problems.
  rosechimera | Mar 16, 2018 |
A challenging exploration of the life of a woman who ended up with a good life, but faced a lot of challenges to get there. The book covers themes including bullying - including self harm because of the bullying and parents who don't know how to deal with the signs of it, so mostly ignore it - abusive relationships, and even feminism.
  GretchenLynn | Jan 30, 2018 |
Something about the spirit or soul of Cat's Eye grated me, the way a constant sound at exactly the distance to make it hard to identify might. I'm admitting I don't quite know what it was that irritated. It's the life of a woman, a painter name Elaine Risley, from childhood into her present, a couple of weeks in her mid-late fifties (approximately) when she is back in Toronto, the city in which she lived through her childhood and young adulthood. She's there for a retrospective show of her work, she's a successful and well-regarded painter. As I got into it I felt there the dread of having stumbled into a "mean girls" scenario and the scared rabbit child. Elaine has forgotten parts of her childhood, and that too had some resonance with 'something nasty in the woodshed'. (We know before she does what actually happened.) I just couldn't go along with it, there was something that didn't ring true, ever, in the story. Out of respect for her, I kept on and it wasn't a waste of time; Atwood is far too good a writer not to keep you turning the pages. Still, I never quite believed or bought the story at more than a somewhat superficial level. If you are an Atwood fan, reading her oeuvre you should read it, otherwise, she has written far better stuff. And yes, I consider her significant enough a writer to be slowly reading all her books. Even a lesser one of hers is better than most of what is out there. ***1/2 ( )
1 vote sibyx | Nov 11, 2017 |
“You don't look back along time but down through it, like water. Sometimes this comes to the surface, sometimes that, sometimes nothing. Nothing goes away.”

This is a sort of coming of age novel that looks at self worth as a child, in this case a girl,tries to navigate the pitfalls of adolescence. Elaine is a renowned painter who has returned to her childhood city of Toronto at the age 0f 50 for a retrospective of her work. The city she returns to is very different from the city that she remembers of her youth but as she walks around the new art galleries, restaurants etc her focus is all on the past in particular on Cordelia, her childhood friend and chief tormentor.

Elaine's first eight years is one spent on the road, living in motels, cottages and tents with her parents and older brother. In many ways it's an idyllic childhood, one spent with very little structure other than following the seasons. However, when her parents decide to settle into a house in a postwar suburb of Toronto she is ill equipped for life there. This is particularly true of her relationships with other ''girls and their doings.'' It is a terrifying place and at the centre of this is Cordelia.

Elaine adores Cordelia but Cordelia, along with her two friends, begin a campaign of terror towards Elaine, mocking the way she walked, ate and laughed constantly pointing out her failings. Elaine endures it stating ''They are my friends, my girl friends, my best friends. I have never had any before and I'm terrified of losing them. I want to please.'' She finally frees herself from Cordelia's malign influence until as teen-agers, they briefly renew their friendship. However, over the intervening years Elaine has become the stronger one and she leaves Cordelia in her wake, going to art college, marrying, having a child herself but when her marriage begins to crumble she attempts suicide and flees Toronto with her daughter.

The final time Elaine sees Cordelia she is a resident of a ''discreet private loony bin,''.Yet Cordelia is never far away. Elaine sees her in every self-doubt every insecurity. Every action has a reaction even if that occurs many years in the future.

This is a novel of images some heartbreaking some strangely mundane. Atwood builds up the plot layer by layer, the seemingly ordinary transformed into nightmare, and shows that the effects of being bullied as a child never really leaves the victim no matter how conventional their later life may appear. This is well written but is not an easy read by any means but one which deserves to be read. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Oct 29, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 119 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Atwood, Margaretprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blaauw, Gerrit deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marcellino, FredCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Epigraph
When the Tukanas cut off her head, the old woman collected her own blood in her hands and blew it towards the sun. "My soul enters you, too!" she shouted. Since then anyone who kills receives in his body, without wanting or knowing it, the soul of his victim.
—Eduardo Galeano
Memory of Fire: Genesis
Why do we remember the past, and not the future?
—Stephen W. Hawking
A Brief History of Time
Dedication
This book is for S.
First words
Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space.
Quotations
An eye for an eye only leads to more blindness.
Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.
Little girls are cute and small only to adults. To one another they are not cute. They are life-sized.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Controversial painter Elaine Risley vividly reflects on her childhood and teenage years. Her strongest memories are of Cordelia, who was the leader of a trio of girls who were both very cruel and very kind to young Elaine, in ways that tint Elaine's perceptions of relationships and her world—not to mention her art—into the character's middle years. The novel unfolds in Canada of the mid-20th century, from World War II to the late 1980s, and includes a look at many of the cultural elements of that time period, including feminism and various modern art movements.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385491026, Paperback)

Cat's Eye is the story of Elaine Risley, a controversial painter who returns to Toronto, the city of her youth, for a retrospective of her art. Engulfed by vivid images of the past, she reminisces about a trio of girls who initiated her into the fierce politics of childhood and its secret world of friendship, longing, and betrayal. Elaine must come to terms with her own identity as a daughter, a lover, an artist, and a woman--but above all she must seek release from her haunting memories. Disturbing, hilarious, and compassionate, Cat's Eye is a breathtaking novel of a woman grappling with the tangled knot of her life.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:17 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

It is the story of Elaine Risley, a controversial painter who returns to the city of her youth for a retrospective of her art. Engulfed by vivid images of the past, she reminisces about a trio of girls who initiated her into the fierce politics of childhood and its secret world of friendship, longing, and betrayal. Elaine must come to terms with her own identity as a daughter, a lover, an artist, and a woman--but above all she must seek release from her haunting memories.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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