The Blind Assassin

Margaret Atwood novel adapted across six half hour episodes by Michael O’Brien in, I think, 2005, for CBC Radio. It falls into pretty familiar/genric “Lit genre” grooves (elderly woman reflects back on her life, the secrets and iniquities that plagued her and her family, her religiously conservative small town childhood, her loveless marriage, and her troubled relationship with her sister who died — possibly by suicide — decades earlier.)

Frankly, it struck me as kind of tedious — sorry, but true.

Whether that’s a problem with the source novel (which I haven’t read) or the adaptation, I don’t know. As I say, it’s pretty familiar stuff for this kind of “Can Lit” exercise, and uses a story-within-a-story-within-a-story format that, personally, I found uninvolving (inbetween dramatizing past events, we keep cutting away to excerpts from a novel written by one of the characters — the eponymous “Blind Assassin” — a novel in which a character is telling another character a fantasy/SF story). It’s all supposed to be symbolic and meaningful, but was just too many layers down for me to care (since the novel/radio drama is itself a fiction — so it’s a fictional story about a fictional story about a fictional story…) Add to that competent but rather drily professional performances (from a decent cast including Patricia Hamilton, Amy Rutherford, Fiona Reid, Robert Bockstael, and Tom McCamus), and it was just hard to care, emotionally. A story about not very interesting people leading dreary, unpleasant lives.