Van has finished reading…Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood

1 May

I’ve been on both sides of the school-age bully scenario; I’m not sure which made me shiver more, Elaine’s churning isolation or Cordelia’s needy wrangling. Both are undoubtedly spot on. This book is an uncomfortable journey through a tremulous childhood, and the latter-day guilty responses chime like a fine brass bell. There’s a reason they call them formative years. The games we play and the things we do as we learn to be adults; we tend to think in terms of how they shape us into the person we’ve become, but we rarely look at the fact that it’s what we bring with us as much as what we overcome that blinkers the way we behave when we’re older.

Here there’s a keen ear for the off-hand voice, the defensive, the closed-down, protective, damage limitation mentality. Each act, each choice is a venture into a possible world of pain, and in the closing line of the chapter Unified Field Theory the word choice for the denouement is supreme: a childish phrase for a child-like act of will.

As ever, Margaret Atwood’s ear for a concise phrase is something akin to a  frosty pleasure. ‘Scraped naked’ – imbibe the awkwardness

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