I only recently discovered Margaret Atwood and wonder now where I have been all my reading life!
I am in awe of how obvious each phrase, sentence and paragraph of her narrative has been honed into her novels. There is no single word that is not deliberately chosen and located. I have discovered, via the internet, that there are college-level courses and dissertations on her work that explore the multiple levels of meaning of her stories. But even at a casual reading level the prose is masterful. Consider the following for vivid imagery and imaginative similes:
“The trace of blown cloud in the brilliant sky, like ice cream smudged on chrome.”
“When there was a moon the flower gardens would be silvery grey, as if all the colours had been sucked out of them.”
“The leaves of the maple hang from their branches like limp gloves; on the sidewalk my shadow crackles.”
I read The Blind Assassin — a story within a story” like nested Russian dolls as one reviewer commented — and then Cat’s Eye — at least at one level about discovering who we really are through our friends — and am now on a mission to read her other works.
One quotation in particular struck home though I would have to say I am further than halfway across the bridge:
“this is the middle of my life, I think of it as a place, like the middle of the river, the middle of a bridge, halfway across, halfway over…I’m supposed to be a person of substance.”