Margaret Atwood. Doubleday: 1989.
A dry and witty novel about a 50-ish artist looking back on her life. Atwood is at her best when describing the early childhood of Elaine: the innocence of the child clearly comes through. Abused by a childhood “best friend”, the adult Elaine keeps thinking she’ll run into her former tormenter Cordelia while she’s back in Toronto for an art show.
Good enough to be a “modern classic”: it is very good, and Atwood packs in the thematic subtext. Yet she pokes fun at all of this: Elaine’s artwork, when seen from her perspective is largely autobiographical. However, when the art critics dissect her artwork — lots of long words, high-falutin’ stuff — they do so much to Elaine’s amusement. Just goes to show that 90% of criticism comes from the critic, not the work.