In the Break Room: Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin

Hello, hello readers! Happy Monday!

Today feels like a proper December day, cool and cozy. I want nothing more than to curl up with a book or a movie or a new video game. To be honest, I will probably do all three. With some baking thrown in because, why not? There were so many days like this when I was in Spain, slow, languid days by the fire. Cold days spent curled up in bed with a book and a lovely man. Reading as much as we could during the day because reading by candle light is harder than anyone gives the Middle Ages credit for.

By the time I arrived in Spain, I’d amassed a decent amount of books. Nonetheless, being the greedy little bookworm I am, I decided to start reading one from the lending shelves at the house. A book which I promptly stole and carried with me all the way home, reading bits and pieces when I had the time and the desire. The languor that infused my stay in Spain, stuck to its pages like honey. I read it slowly, without hurry, letting the honey drip over my fingers, my hands sticky with memories.

The book became its own world, beyond the world in its pages. It was “the stolen book”, even though it was freely given. In Spain, it traveled side by side with his book. Also big, less stolen because the house is his. They traveled side by side, the way we read them. Side by side in chairs, side by side in bed. Side by side in the car while we waited for a tow truck to come bail us out. Always carry a book with you, you never know when you might need it.

I marked my place in it with paper torn from a random notebook. A page, one of many, used to keep track of the words we found while playing Boggle. Filled with three letter words and scratches, it was one of his. We played Boggle in the in betweens – after sex, before bed, after fighting, having just woken up. When I picked up the book I reached for the first thing I could find to mark my spot, an Ace of Spades. That became problematic when we wanted to play later, the second thing I reached for turned out to be one of his Boggle papers.

The story, two sisters and their lives, becomes almost inconsequential. There’s a book within a book. There are things that happened which I didn’t expect. It was good, but it didn’t blow my mind. What I’ll remember when I look at the book will be everything else. Knowing as soon as I picked it up that I wouldn’t finish it in time, that I’d take it with me. His knowing smile, his little thief. Bringing his book along with mine, just in case. Saying I told you so. Feeling relieved it was thick as a brick during an 8 hour layover in London. Hating it for being thick as a brick when my back hurt the next morning. Reading it in Spain, in London, in Massachusetts, in New York.

We hardly ever think about it, but sometimes books matter to us because they’ve been imbued with the essence of a particular time, rather than the story they tell. Like a particular scent, some books call up memories, not of reading, but of the world around us as we read. How it changed, how it grew, how time flew by while we existed in two worlds. Worlds that have become one and we can revisit as we please.

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The Blind Assassin, Boggle, candles, beer. This is pretty much Spain in one picture.

Do you have a book like that, readers? One that’s tangled up in memories?

Have a good one!

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One thought on “In the Break Room: Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin

  1. Pingback: Destination: Christmas #14 | Destination: Reading

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