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Cat's Eye
by Margaret Atwood


Paperback - 480 pages (February 1998)
Anchor Books; ISBN: 0385491026


Cat's Eye is the story of Elaine Risley, a controversial painter who returns to Toronto, the city of her youth, for a retrospective of her art. Engulfed by vivid images of the past, she reminisces about a trio of girls who initiated her into the fierce politics of childhood and its secret world of friendship, longing, and betrayal. Elaine must come to terms with her own identity as a daughter, a lover, an artist, and a woman--but above all she must seek release from her haunting memories. Disturbing, hilarious, and compassionate, Cat's Eye is a breathtaking novel of a woman grappling with the tangled knot of her life.

 

articles and reviews
February 5, 1989
What Little Girls Are Made Of
By ALICE McDERMOTT

"Time is not a line but a dimension,'' the narrator, Elaine Risley, tells us at the beginning of this, Margaret Atwood's seventh and most affecting novel. ''You don't look back along time but down through it, like water. Sometimes this comes to the surface, sometimes that, sometimes nothing. Nothing goes away.''

Elaine is a Canadian painter of some renown who, at 50, has returned to her childhood city of Toronto for a retrospective of her work. The dull, provincial city of her youth has become world class in the intervening years, ''New York without the garbage and muggings,'' but in the week she is there her interest in the city's new galleries and restaurants and shops and, in many ways, in the retrospective itself, is only glancing. Her focus, and the novel's, is all on the past, on those images that surface unexpectedly, relentlessly, amid the glitz of the transformed city, images of the dead, of a lost time, and of Cordelia, her childhood friend and tormentor, her double. [read more]

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