The Blind Assassin

“Sometimes — increasingly, as time went by — there were bruises, purple, then blue, then yellow.  It was remarkable how easily I bruised, said Richard, smiling.  A mere touch would do it.  He had never known a woman to bruise so easily.  It came from being so young and delicate.

He favoured thighs, where it wouldn’t show.  Anything overt might get in the way of his ambitions.

I sometimes felt as if these marks on my body were a kind of code, which blossomed, then faded, like invisible ink held to a candle.  But if they were a code, who held the key to it?

I was sand, I was snow — written on, rewritten, smoothed over.”

from The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood pg. 371


The Blind Assassin

“What fabrications they are, mothers. Scarecrows, wax dolls for us to stick pins into, crude diagrams. We deny them an existence of their own, we make them up to suit ourselves — our own hungers, our own wishes, our own deficiencies. Now tha I’ve been one myself, I know”

from The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood pg. 94

The Blind Assassin

“Not enough rain, say the farmers. The cicadas pierce the air with their searing one-note calls; dust eddies across the roads; from the weedy patches at the verges, grasshoppers whir. The leaves of the maple hang from their branches like limp gloves; on the sidewalk my shadow crackles.”

from The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood pg. 83

The Blind Assassin

“Next is was time for the graduates to receive their diplomas. Up they trooped, solemn and radiant, in many sizes, all beautiful as only the young can be beautiful.  Even the ugly ones were beautiful, even the surly ones, the fat ones, even the spotty ones. None of them understand this — how beautiful they are.”

from The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood pg. 38

The Blind Assassin

“Mother might be resting, or doing good deeds elsewhere, but Reenie was always there.  She’d scoop us up and sit us on the white enamel kitchen table, alongside the pie dough she was rolling out or the chicken she was cutting up or the fish she was gutting, and give us a lump of brown sugar to get us to close our mouths. Tell me where it hurts, she’d say.  Stop howling. Just calm down and show me where.

But some people can’t tell where it hurts. They can’t calm down. They can’t ever stop howling.”

from The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood pg. 2

The Blind Assassin

“A hot wind was blowing around my head, the strands of my hair lifting and swirling in it, like ink spilled in water.”

from The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood pg. 1