My funny email title of the day: ratio undressed.
It's all drippy and cold out, and the heat hasn't yet been turned on. Brrrr.
I must say I've really been enjoying my Margaret Atwood lately. I remember reading "The Handmaid's Tale" in about 10th grade and being blown away (also very embarrassed, as I had to give a class presentation and at that point it was hard for me to even say the word "sex" in front of people, much less talk about it), but after that we had kind of an uneasy relationship. In the novel (Cat's Eye) and the short stories (Bluebeard's Egg) I read always felt like she was saying something really important, but I wasn't getting it. It made me feel kind of left out, if that makes any sense. But earlier this summer I reread "The Blind Assassin", a great interwoven novel that blends an old woman's present and past together with a science fiction love story written by her younger sister and published postumously after said sister's early suicide. There is such a tender treatment of aging (the first time I read this book was perhaps the first time I actively understood a little bit about what growing old might be like; it scared the shit out of me), and the science fiction story, which initially seemed like an utterly bizarre thing to include, actually ends up being very illuminating and touching.
Then, over the last few days, I read "Alias Grace", a novel about a real happening and its aftermath. Grace Marks was convicted at the age of sixteen of participating in the murders of her master and his housekeeper and spent about thirty years in prison. Atwood takes the extremely uncertain facts of the case and adds in fictitious details to create a complex narrative, presenting Grace as an enigmatic figure who is not even certain herself of her guilt or innocence. There are other details--a young doctor, his unorthodox landlady, the uncertain historical narritatives that Atwood quotes--that make the story much more interesting than it otherwise would have been and left me feeling unsettled and questioning when I finished.
Next up: Murakami. I've only read one of his books ("The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles"), which was utterly entrancing and wonderful until the ending, which was such a letdown for me. But I think I'm going to borrow "A Wild Sheep Chase" (mostly because I like the name) from Anna's roommate and see if it's more entirely satisfying.