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Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood
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Cat's Eye (original 1988; edition 1989)

by Margaret Atwood

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6,400None600 (3.95)1 / 398
Member:chamekke
Title:Cat's Eye
Authors:Margaret Atwood
Info:Seal (1989), Edition: Seal ed, Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood (1988)

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English (96)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (99)
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
Atwood's prose and storytelling kept me going to the very end, although it was touch and go for me in the first half of the book because of the bullying. Sometimes, things just hit a little close to home.

Elaine's story starts when she is young and her family lives out of the family station wagon going from place to place doing research for her entomologist father in Canada during World War II. They eventually settle down in Toronto, where Elaine and her brother enter the school system.

Over the years, Elaine becomes best friends with a girl named Cordelia, who is the bane of Elaine's existence even after they go their separate ways.

Told in flashback/memoir style, Cat's Eye is a retrospective of Elaine's life told while she's invited to mount a retrospective of her paintings back in Toronto, which she visits from her new home in Vancouver.

While I did end up liking this book, it was pretty intense and I'm not convinced Cordelia ever got put into the box well enough. ( )
  AuntieClio | Apr 9, 2014 |
Elaine lived a nomadic life, as a child. Her father was a entomologist, moving from place to place, so her early childhood is a blur of forests, cheap motels, and living with only as many possessions as she can carry. When her father gets a stable job and they settle down, Elaine gets to go to school for the first time, but she struggles to fit in with the other girls and has to learn the hard way how to act in public around other people her age.

Cat's Eye follows Elane throughout her life and ruminates on the various time periods she experiences first hand. Now a famous painter, her observant nature allows her to analyze the events of the world and her life in a perceptive and illuminating way.

I really liked Cat's Eye. It lacked the punch of some of her other books that I've read, but it still has a lot to say. She focuses on feminism towards the end of the novel and it begins to feel a bit dated and a little hypocritical, but Atwood is a formidable voice when it comes to the subject and I have a tremendous amount of respect for her and what she has to say in her books. ( )
  Ape | Mar 10, 2014 |
I suppose I am a little biased as Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite authors but this book was amazing. The childhood story of ridicule and spite I was able to really identify with. Though Cordelia, Grace and Carol are Alison, Angela, Jennie and Sarah G. in my early 90's story it's all the same. Little girls are BRUTAL. They pick on the weakest. In reality it is only a reflection of their own imperfections and worries that bring out the worst in them. As an adult that's obvious but as a little girl that's as foreign a truth as understanding the falling of the Berlin Wall.

Atwood's ability to describe the life of a painter trying to escape her childhood is not only moving but also poignant in prose. This story does not disappoint in even a single paragraph. The imagery only gives more credence to an already realistic story.

I almost wonder if this book is semiautobiographical. Regardless it is worth reading again and again. ( )
  sarahzilkastarke | Nov 20, 2013 |
Cat's Eye was my sixth? seventh? by Atwood, and one of my lesser favorites. But all her books are good, so that's not saying much! I liked the audio production quite a lot. ( )
  erelsi183 | Nov 18, 2013 |
I read Cat's Eye when I was 15 and decided Margaret Atwood was strange because she's Canadian, not because she's Margaret Atwood. ( )
1 vote | amelish | Sep 12, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Margaret Atwoodprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blaauw, Gerrit deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:50:24 -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 7 descriptions

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