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Cat's Eye (1988)

by Margaret Atwood

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,232143737 (3.94)1 / 557
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 (131)  Dutch (3)  Swedish (2)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (138)
Showing 1-5 of 131 (next | show all)
Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space. If you can bend space you can bend time also, and if you knew enough and could move faster than light you could travel backward in time and exist in two places at once.
It was my brother Stephen who told me that, when he wore his raveling maroon sweater to study in and spent a lot of time standing on his head so that the blood would run down into his brain and nourish it. I didn't understand what he meant, but maybe he didn't explain it very well. He was already moving away from the imprecision of words.
  taurus27 | Jan 3, 2021 |
A rich and introspective Kunstlerroman, this novel unpacks the illusory nature of memory and time. It's a slow build, but I enjoyed it immensely. I think Atwood fans would probably enjoynthis, as well as artists. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
Margaret Atwood is my favorite author of all time. I was in grade 10 when I first read The Handmaid’s Tale, and was blown away by the writing and that a book could cause me to question the world around me for days. While I have read and been introduced to a lot of other amazing authors since I was a tenth grader, I haven’t read any author that makes me question my worldview quite like Atwood. Despite my love for Margaret Atwood, I have not come close to reading even a quarter of her entire book collection yet.


Cat’s Eye has been sitting on my bookshelf now for well over two years and it wasn’t until recently that I felt like it was the right time to pick it up. Even though the book has essentially been sitting around to collect dust, I think I’m happy that I waited so long to read it, as the themes center on growing up and identity.


The book works as a dual timeline, moving between protagonist Elaine’s life as a middle aged artist and her untraditional childhood. I liked how the book explored Toronto and northern Ontario through the perspective of younger and older Elaine. The writing and creation of the plot is so on point that even though the time period changes at times between paragraphs, I was never confused as a reader. Additionally, I loved how quickly time seems to move in the novel. I remember reading a scene where Elaine had her first child and thinking “I swear Elaine was only a child a couple minutes ago!” Atwood really captured how fast time passes and identity changes as we move and meet new people.


The scope of the novel is spectacular, and I loved Elaine’s voice through the first person. She was such an interesting character ‘to grow up with’ in the sense we learn about her from her childhood to her adulthood. Her life is so interesting, and I love reading about characters that fascinate me.


This review really could be my longest yet, but I’d much rather you read the novel than my analysis of it.


Rating: 10/10 I loved every moment I spent reading this novel. Atwood is such an amazing author whose work continues to amaze me no matter how many of her books I’ve already read. ( )
  Reading.rock | Oct 17, 2020 |
Overall I enjoyed it. I liked reading about the process of creating art. The character used art to express the pain of childhood, the loss of friends and family. Near the end of the book, in Chapter 72, Elaine views her early artwork and reflects interestingly on how she viewed adults (Mrs. Smeath) and how she reacted to events from her past. The connects to the very first page of the book. I loved that part of the book. The ending was a bit sad. ( )
  Chrissylou62 | Aug 1, 2020 |
Was kind of a slog, because I often found it hard to care about the characters. But it was v v well written, in terms of the imagery and the evocative literary metaphors and mood. ( )
  IridescenceDeep | Jun 28, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 131 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Atwood, Margaretprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blaauw, Gerrit deTranslatorsecondary 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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