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Cat's Eye (1988)

by Margaret Atwood

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,449145761 (3.93)1 / 574
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)
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English (138)  Dutch (3)  Swedish (2)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (145)
Showing 1-5 of 138 (next | show all)
Makes you wonder what things from your childhood you've forgotten.

It's difficult to talk about what this book is about, because just describing the events can never do justice to Atwood's vivid, disturbing writing. The world she creates is both everyday and exceptional, mundane and beyond the real world. ( )
  misslevel | Sep 22, 2021 |
I like this rating system by ashleytylerjohn of LibraryThing (https://www.librarything.com/profile/ashleytylerjohn) that I have also adopted:
(Note: 5 stars = rare and amazing, 4 = quite good book, 3 = a decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful.) ( )
  Neil_Luvs_Books | Jul 21, 2021 |
Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood was originally published in 1988 and is a story in which the main character, artist Elaine Risley looks back upon her childhood and growing up years with intensity and wit. As Elaine returns to Toronto to attend a retrospective of her work, her memories of growing up alongside her friend, Cordelia and her sharp observations about the city are vivid and evocative. We gradually become aware of her bitterness and pain as she delves into the complexity of this relationship, and how friendships can be layered, on one hand this is someone who understands you perfectly while on the other this is a person, who can dish out the emotional torment, and skewer you in your weak spots. There is a line in the book that goes, “ We have been shark to one another, but also lifeboat.” I think many women have had the experience of a relationship like this.

Cat’s Eye is a powerful character study that is doled out through glimpses of Elaine’s life through her vividly recounted memories. Atwood captures her subject perfectly, and the story has a feeling of becoming an introspective journey for both the author and the reader. This author has the skill and ability to deliver just the right amount of story, leaving much up to the reader to fill in, making her passages personal and meaningful to all.

Cat’s Eye is a book filled with imagery and reflections on women, their relationships and how they deal with life. For me this was an engaging and worthwhile read and while there are other Atwood books that I personally prefer, Cat’s Eye is memorable. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Jun 3, 2021 |
A story describing the angst and confusion of a small girl growing up in the world of childhood "mean girls" and the effects it has on her for the rest of her life.

An ominous feeling of dread and suspense filled the whole book as the story was told in small flashbacks by the protagonist. Not sure I really liked the main character by the end of the book, but definately a good read. ( )
  curious_squid | Apr 5, 2021 |
Margaret Atwood is one of my favourite authors and I have made an effort to buy many of her works over the years. I have had this book on my shelves since 2013 and for some reason have never picked it up. It was quite long and very rich and it took me almost a week to finish it, which is very long for me! While I did find the beginning to be long winded and slightly harder to get into, about half way it got very interesting and much easier to read in longer stretches.
I have added to quite a few challenges with this book and it was well overdue for a read!
  ChelleBearss | Mar 20, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 138 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (50 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Atwood, Margaretprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blaauw, Gerrit deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Farr, KimberlyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Franke, CharlotteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malcolm, CarolDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marcellino, FredCover artistsecondary 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.
Little girls are cute and small only to adults. To one another they are not cute. They are life-sized.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

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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.
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Average: (3.93)
0.5 1
1 16
1.5 6
2 87
2.5 23
3 378
3.5 94
4 692
4.5 90
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