The Blind Assassin

Margaret Atwood, Author, Michael O'Brien, Read by , dramatized by Michael O'Brien, read by a full cast. BTC Audio Books $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-86492-401-8

Atwood's Booker Prize–winning novel, with its 1930s setting and stories within stories, is well suited to audio dramatization. O'Brien has simplified and streamlined the structure so that it jumps around in time less and makes clearer parallels between past, present and the whimsical internal novel. Some dialogue has been added, while many meditative and descriptive sections are absent, but the new words blend gracefully with Atwood's own, and her elegant style remains intact despite the omissions. Abundant sound effects make the production much richer than many audiobooks; it sometimes seems like a movie without the visuals, with chirping birds, clinking silverware and the murmur of crowds filling in the background. Music that alternates between a lovely, slightly melancholy theme and an ominous one, helps highlight the shifts from the protagonist Iris's personal history to her retelling of the novel. The skills of the cast almost make such extras unnecessary: the three women who play Iris at different ages capture her brilliant but frustrated spirit perfectly, while the actresses for her troubled younger sister, Laura, find just the right blend of dreaminess and defiance. Though in some respects this adaptation is less intricate than the rather complicated original, the condensation serves it well, making the story more tightly wound and intense in a way that should attract listeners who may be put off by Atwood's writing. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 10/03/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
Genre: Audio
Hardcover - 567 pages - 978-3-442-76036-7
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-2369-4
Analog Audio Cassette - 11 pages - 978-0-553-52756-8
Hardcover - 544 pages - 978-0-385-47572-3
Prebound-Glued - 544 pages - 978-0-613-36939-8
Paperback - 648 pages - 978-0-7710-0864-1
Compact Disc - 978-0-660-19041-9
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-0-7953-2646-2
Paperback - 544 pages
Hardcover - 521 pages - 978-0-7710-0863-4
Ebook - 544 pages - 978-0-385-50292-4
Paperback - 633 pages - 978-84-96546-31-8
Paperback - 641 pages - 978-1-86049-880-0
Hardcover - 832 pages - 978-0-375-43085-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 672 pages - 978-0-7704-2882-2
Hardcover - 978-0-00-715474-6
Paperback - 656 pages - 978-0-7710-0891-7
Open Ebook - 427 pages - 978-0-307-42817-2
Acrobat Ebook Reader - 978-0-7953-2830-5
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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