Picks and Pans Review: The Blind Assassin

updated 10/02/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/02/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Margaret Atwood

In the depths of the Depression, 18-year-old Iris Chase becomes the bartered bride of a ruthless, older Canadian industrialist, Richard Griffen. Her ailing father arranged the match expecting Griffen to keep the family button factory going and take care of Iris and younger sister Laura. Complex and rich in period detail, Atwood's (Alias Grace) 15th novel revisits a favorite theme—difficult choices foisted on women—as she chronicles the rise and fall of the Chase family. She also shifts back and forth to a novel-within-a-novel, a grisly piece of science fiction that may have hardcore Atwood fans wishing she'd get back to the Chase sisters. Then, just as readers may think they know where she's going with her sci-fi tale, Atwood comes up with one last surprising plot twist. (Doubleday, $26)

Bottom Line: Stylish family saga

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