Tag Archives: canada

The Penelopiad

I can always count on Margaret Atwood to write something completely crazy and yet somehow profound.  The Penelopiad tells the story of the Odyssey, but from the point of view of Penelope and the twelve maids whom Telemachus killed for suspected disloyalty.

My favourite parts are when Penelope rants about Helen (as in “of Troy”) because she was actually a total bitch and completely full of herself.  It’s nice to see women being all catty even thousands of years ago.

Life of Pi

I read Life of Pi by Yann Martel because (a) my friend JP told me about it a few years ago and (b) ever since then I see it in book stores and I think God, what a great and intriguing cover! And (c) just the other day JP mentioned it to me again because I recently read Siddhartha. Honestly, I started reading without knowing what it would be about – I had never even read a synopsis! So I had no idea that Pi (whose full name is Piscine Molitor Patel) was an Indian boy whose father was a zookeeper. And I was even further surprised to read that Pi is the lone survivor of a massive shipwreck as his family was sailing to move to Canada, and he is subsequently stuck drifting in the Pacific Ocean with a Begal tiger as a shipmate.

It sounds quite ridiculous, but it’s also so serious and at many times so disheartening that you actually want to cry. Martel has this way of bringing you into the actual events so that you nearly feel as parched and desperate as Pi, but his religiosity is also so inspiring that you know you can’t lose hope.

For the record, JP said he hated Siddhartha and loved Life of Pi. While I didn’t hate Siddhartha, I absolutely fell in love with Pi.

I have nothing to say of my working life, only that a tie is a noose, and inverted though it is, it will hang a man nonetheless if he’s not careful.
(Locations 115-116)

I love Canada. I miss the heat of India, the food, the house lizards on the walls, the musicals on the silver screen, the cows wandering the streets, the crows cawing, even the talk of cricket matches, but I love Canada. It is a great country much too cold for good sense, inhabited by compassionate, intelligent people with bad hairdos.
(Locations 116-119)

The Blind Assassin

Now I have loved Margaret Atwood as a novelist and a poet for a very long time. We read The Handmaid’s Tale in high school and I couldn’t put the book down. And this stanza from her poem Variations on the word sleep have always called to me:

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.

Anyway, to get back to The Blind Assassin. I honestly found it really confusing. I figured out that it’s about a woman whose novelist sister dies in a car accident, while everyone assumes she committed suicide. The story switches back and forth in time and among several characters from separate generations. Each separate story arc was interesting enough but it was far too confusing for me to keep track. Sadly I couldn’t really love it because it was just so disjointed that I couldn’t get attached to anyone.