[[ E-pub ]] ☞ Cat's Eye ↳ PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB free

This is the middle of my life, I think of it as a place, like the middle of a river, the middle of a bridge, halfway across, halfway over I m supposed to have accumulated things by now possessions, responsibilities, achievements, experience and wisdom I m supposed to be a person of substance The scary thing is that you stay a child inside that accumulation of life You take your childhood with you when you enter the grown up world, and as much as you try to pretend that you are free and light as a feather, you carry the heavy weight of having been a child wherever you go.This is the story of a grown up woman, an artist, who dares to go down memory lane and remember the abusive friendships, the feeling of dependence, of helplessness, of hatred and admiration merged into the odd feeling of wanting to belong even if belonging means being in acute pain It tells the everyday tale of a sensitive child under the spell of a bully It explores how selectively we can choose to forget in order to be able to live on, and how inconvenient it can be for us to suddenly remember what we chose not to know any 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 I loved this novel to bits when I first read it, and it scared me out of my comfort zone It was one of the most intensely revealing reflections on childhood and its impact on grown up life I have ever encountered, simply because the story is so common, and so universal, and so typical The idea of confronting a childhood bully with one s memories is terrifying, especially as one can never trust the mind to behave as a grown up when confronted with deeply hidden childhood fears and wishes A bullied child won t ever forget the feeling of powerlessness or the humiliation and the wish to change the pattern of perceived failure But the bully will have her own reality, unconnected to the all absorbing memories of the hurt child She will have her own version I am not the centre of her story, because she herself is that But I could give her something you can never have, except from another person what you look like from outside A reflection This is part of herself I could give back to her My guess is that most bullies are too one dimensional to accept a reflection of themselves that might not be favorable, and that it remains the role of the weaker and sensitive intelligent human being to understand the mechanisms behind evil group behaviour Whoever cares the most will lose But that is only part of the truth Looking back with hindsight, a new pattern is formed, and the negative memories become fruitful for personal development.They are the roots for a rich inner life, and the message I read between the lines in Cat s Eye is that your experience can t be changed or undone, but it can be turned into creative power, and it can feed your understanding of the world It can help you keep your inner child active beyond childhood, and drive your ambition You can sculpt a life out of the clay you are given, and turn it into your individual artwork If you dare to look into the cat s eye of your memories, that is.You carry your cat s eye marbles with you, shiny, cold, hard, difficult to trade and play with, but beautiful and magical at the same time, a visual and tactile proof of your existence Recommended to those who are brave enough to face the true life of children, often too hard to retrospectively bear for grown ups. [[ E-pub ]] ⇱ Cat's Eye ☘ 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, And Artist, And 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 Knots Of Her Life I look at the progression of 5 star ratings by friends mostly women and wonder if it is a womanly weakness to rate a book 5 stars which deconstructs the world from the female perspective Is this visceral urge something to be ashamed of, something you must suppress to show due deference to standards of literary appraisal But then why don t I feel conflicted enough while handing out my 5 stars to those modern masterpieces written mostly by dead, white men All those narrative voices that busy themselves with the righteous task of pondering the depths of colonialism and oppression and class conflict and what other sociopolitical fuckups have you while simultaneously omitting out one half of the human race s points of view books that throw in a woman character as the obligatory object of patronizing love or lust or as a lifeless plot device, turning her into a mere accessory meant to embellish the life of the male narrator whose word is the truth by default while the sanctity of all else is subject to skepticism The naked women are presented in the same manner as the plates of meat and dead lobsters, with the same attention to the play of candlelight on skin, the same lusciousness, the same sensuous and richly rendered detail, the same painterly delight in tactility They appear served up. Or is this a failing of civilization that a large majority of readers will simply glance at that blurb or the reviews which make it sound as if this were solely about the private world of girls, spot that glaringfeminismlabel and dismiss the possibility of reading this One would think that even a literary treatment of the private world of girls is a subject so outside the sphere of all humanly concern that it warrants the level of universal apathy it generates Women are hard to keep track of, most of them They slip into other names, and sink without a trace. This is not so much the story of an ageing female painter Elaine Risley a relic of the pre feminism mode of life told in snatches, as much as it is an account of the relationships which molded and shaped her character and the enduring trauma of childhood bullying which manifested itself in nearly all her life choices, flawed as they were Not so much a fictionalized outpouring of her discontent with her declining youth and whitening hair as much her rivetting blow by blow dissection of the world and the people around her through the years And because I know Atwood stringently avoids any associations with the term feminist or any group identity which seeks to shoehorn her writing into some exclusive compartment, I ll merely say it also includes some of the most cutting, precise and unbiased observations about every issue of major importance Wars, terrorism, racism, religious bigotry, sexism, misogyny, art and art criticism, motherhood, the politics of relationshipsyou name it and Elaine has startling new wisdom to offer on that topic, however time worn The world is being run by people my age, men my age, with falling out hair and health worries, and it frightens me When the leaders were older than me I could believe in their wisdom, I could believe they had transcended rage and malice and the need to be loved Now I know better I look at the faces in newspapers, in magazines, and wonder what greeds, what furies drive them onThe complexity of relationships between women of nearly all ages is often a difficult thing to fully comprehend let alone commit to paper Generally, we find it easier to communicate with men While with other women you are forever grasping at straws, unable to determine which layer of superficiality you are dealing with and which of your layers of feigned cordiality or fabricated fellow feeling may win their favor But Atwood, the mistress of the craft that she is, has brought the private, secretive world of female bondings alive and demolished one of the greatest pop culture stereotypes ever that of the mean girl So believe the reviewers who have confessed to having a Cordelia like frenemy in their lives someone who understood them better than a lot of people while simultaneously doling out emotional torment in devious ways I m no exception Once you come across a Cordelia in your life no matter how much you may have loathed her at times it s hard to dull the edges of the memory of your involvement with her She looms larger than life at the back of your mind and fades into the distance of years Try as you might you cannot forget her And neither could Elaine There is the same shame, the sick feeling in my body, the same knowledge of my own wrongness, awkwardness, weakness the same wish to be loved the same loneliness the same fear But these are not my own emotions any They are Cordelia s as they always were. Katzenauge is one of the many novels of the well known Canadian author Margaret Atwood.It is the story of two women and their friendship a friendship that became hostility a story about childhood, about growing up.The style of writing is gripping, almost enthralling, so that the reader feels so close to reading so the impression arises that the narrative contains biographical features. One of Atwood s famous works of fiction, Cat s Eye is at once a meditation on the sorrows and comforts accompanying age as well as a coming of age story about a tumultuous and abusive bond between two young girls The novel juxtaposes past and present against each other, via twin narratives about the protagonist s childhood and adulthood The latter plot follows artist Elaine Risley as she returns to bustling Toronto, the city of her desolate youth, for a retrospective of her work, while the former focuses on her toxic childhood friendship with her classmate Cordelia, which ends in trauma In addition to portraying relationships between young girls with great nuance, the novel subtly captures how the lingering memory of early adversity informs the experience of everyday life during adulthood. What it s about We are survivors of each other We have been shark to one another, but also lifeboat That counts for something The power of abusive friendships and relationships is the theme of this book, though not all the relationships are tainted, so it s not depressing and at times it s quite amusing e.g discerning the mysteries of puberty There is also a fair bit about art and artists, with a dash of early feminism Plot structureElaine is an artist in her late fifties early sixties revisiting Toronto for the opening of a retrospective of her work This brings back vivid memories of her childhood, teens and twenties The sections set in the past are told chronologically, and interspersed by the contemporary story of a few days in Toronto Gradually all the threads tie up, particularly near the end when contrasting a curator s descriptions of Elaine s works with her own explanations, many of which arise from incidents described earlier in the book However, I can no longer control these paintings, or tell them what to mean Whatever energy they have came out of me I m what s left over Her early years were peripatetic but not unhappy the family travel with her entomologist father When she is seven, he takes a university post and they settle in the Toronto suburbs, but her family is rather eccentric, and she doesn t quite fit in, exacerbated by her being a tomboy and the fact she s never really had the opportunity to make friends before, so doesn t know the unspoken rules Perhaps inevitably, Elaine becomes the victim of bullying, and the first overt instance is very cruel, although it involves no physical pain or nasty words There is nothing to tell I have no black eyes, no bloody noses to report C does nothing physical The pull of bulliesI ve never really been bullied, but the thoughts and self analysis sound plausible Like so many victims, Elaine feels drawn to the bully she is my friend She likes me She wants to help me, they all do They are my friends I have never had any before and I m terrified of losing them I want to please Hatred would have been easier I would have known what to do Hatred is clear, metallic, one handed, unwavering unlike love She reasons, I will have to do better But better at what I think they bully s older sisters would be my allies if only they knew Knew what Even to myself I am mute She even gives things to her tormentors because in the moment just before giving, I am loved even though she has no doubt about the love of her own family.Coping strategiesElaine develops various coping strategies She self harms in a minor way the pain gave me something definite to think about , adopts a talisman the eponymous cat s eye marble and the luck of a royal visit to the city and in some ways, victimhood builds strength and also empathy I can sniff out hidden misery in others now She also escapes through art, especially of foreign places and discovers that Fainting is like stepping sideways, out of your own body, out of your own time or into another time When you wake up it s later Time has gone on without you The most important question is only occasionally made explicit how should parents handle things When Elaine s mother realises something of what s going on, she tells her daughter to toughen up, in part because she doesn t know what else to suggest The church going mother of the main bully has a far alarming attitude, based on the fact that Elaine is a heathen.Eventually Elaine finds the inner strength to walk away, I can hear the hatred but also the need They need me for this and I no longer need them Nevertheless, although they sometimes go for years without contact, the connection continues, though balance of their relationship alters at different times Adult consequencesI don t know if all victims have the potential to become bullies, but Elaine occasionally has flashes of it in adulthood, It disturbs me to learn I have hurt someone unintentionally I want all my hurts to be intentional She is always relaxed around boys she has an older brother , boys are my secret allies Conversely, I enjoy pestering the girls in this minor, trivial way it shows I am not like them and in a bar with boys from the university art class, I expect nothing from them In truth I expect a lot I expect to be accepted As an adult, Elaine is moderately happy and successful, yet her past taints all her relationships to some extent She also fears passing on her anxieties to her own daughters, I felt I had to protect them from certain things about myself But they didn t seem to need that protection As a teenager, she didn t want to know too much family history, even about apparently trivial things, All this is known, but unimaginable I also wish I did not know it I want my father to be just my father, the way he has always been, not a separate person with an earlier, mythological life of his own Knowing too much about other people puts you in their power, they have a claim on you, you are forced to understand their reasons for doing things and then you are weakened Lines I liked Clothes lines are strung with a display of soiled intimacy, which they mothers have washed and rinsed, plunging their hands into the grey curdled water About knowing about her brother s secret girlfriend, Knowing this secret makes me feel important in a way But it s a negative importance I can know because I don t count What they call a shopping complex, as if shopping were a psychic disease In a department store, the air is saturated with the stink of perfumes at war All fathers except mine are invisible in day time day time is ruled by mothers But fathers come out at night Darkness brings home the fathers, with their real, unspeakable power There is to them than meets the eye On the difference between faith and knowledge Elaine thought she had a vision, but next morning was less certain, I m not sure now, that it really was the Virgin Mary I believe it but I no longer know it Art is what you can get away with said somebody or other, which makes it sound like shop lifting A hijacking of the visual My name has solidified around me, with time I think of it as tough but pliable now, like a well worn glove Somehow the war never ended after all, it just broke up into pieces and got scattered, it gets in everywhere, you can t shut it out On giving money to a beggar, It s obscene to have such power also to feel so powerless Craziness was considered funny, like all other things that were in reality frightening and profoundly shameful An antique shop has one time throwouts, recycled as money The angry sex of a disintegrating relationship We make love, if that is any longer the term for it It s not shaped like love, not coloured like it, but harsh, war coloured, metallic Things are being proved Or repudiated. Pity wanting PainReading Cat s Eye is like watching a film, only with smells, and taste, and touch in addition to cinematic sight and sound Its heroine, Elaine, has all these outward wits which Atwood captures magnificently But, although Elaine is an artist, she has almost nothing of the inward wits of communal sense, imagination, fantasy, estimation or memory.The story is three dimensional the North South dimension of her life with her parents who migrate every year from Toronto to the Laurentians on biological field trips the East West dimension of her independent life which stretches from Toronto to Vancouver and the temporal dimension of her own maturation.Periodically the three dimensions collapse into moments of insight and clarity that progress from childhood with age boys are noisy and messy but essentially uncomplicated girls are generally hateful even, especially, when they are friends young men are superficial and boring older men are duplicitous and domineering motherhood is a schlep marriage is a continuous losing battle feminist sisterhood isn t to be trusted art is largely pretense and scam and dates rather quickly.Elaine s life is a tale of haplessness, of lurching from one emotional trauma to the next There are no plans, no goals, no passions She falls into art as she falls into bed with unsuitable men The step by step development of her life is told is Proustian detail but without the introspective analysis Every action is compulsive with no apparent rationale.She knows this and learns from her traumatic experiences, but only those lessons that are relevant to the past, not to new situations Every insight is obsolete as soon as she arrives at it Her past persists in her feelings and her art, both inadequate for the world she inhabits now She realizes that her life is a ruin, with no obvious cause for its ruination.So Elaine lives in pain Pain is important but only certain kinds of it the pain of women but not the pain of men Telling about pain is called sharing Among her feminist friends at least She prefers men, even her ex husband, to this therapeutic band There s not much time left, for us to become what we intended, she says, as if she actually had an intention Perhaps this is the source of her pain Potential, she says, has a shelf life But Atwood isn t saying what the source of her apathetic trajectory might be She let s the reader make her own diagnosis. As a relative latecomer to the works of Margaret Atwood this was my fourth book in she continues to impress and engage immensely Cat s Eye has, like The Blind Assassin which it predates by around a decade memory and memories as its central narrative device Both novels have a central protagonist nearer to the end of their days than to the start looking back and confronting the memories from various periods in their earlier lives Ostensibly, that is as far as any similarity goes beyond that the books bear s very little resemblance in either nature or narrative to each other.The very first page, indeed the opening paragraph, sets the scene, the tone and the theme this is a novel all about time, it s all about dimension and circularity This first page is so particularly well written, so compelling even by Atwood s high standards it defiantly draws the reader in, reels them in like an unsuspecting, helpless yet consenting catch, submissive on the end of Atwood s line Thereon in we learn about the childhood, formative years and life of our main protagonist Elaine Risley latterly an artist, seemingly addressing her life through her work, making preparations for a retrospective of her paintings, whilst at the same time remembering and revisiting her past.The subsequent parts of the book concerning Risley s childhood are particularly strong, indeed outstanding these form the heart and the most powerful part of the novel Whilst this is clearly familiar territory for many writers, what Atwood gives us here is not the usual tired, clich d, staid, mildly diverting but rose tinted and empty nostalgia as you would expect from some, Atwood gives us far than that Yes this is by definition of course a form of nostalgia of the best kind it has to be and it does provide us with some of the funniest work by Atwood that I have read thus far, nevertheless and nostalgia nothwithstanding underlying all this there is always a brooding presence, a sense of foreboding, a feeling of impending doom There s an expectation of a fall, of a downward trajectory always just on the horizon, always around the next corner, always just behind that door It has been noted by others in the past that Cat s Eye is a Lord of the Flies for girls For this novel is ultimately all about the scars, the fears, the hurts and the pains of childhood that in many cases stay with us throughout our lives indeed in some cases define the rest of our lives.This is the world of the playground bully, playground rules, unwritten codes of conduct and a childhood world where making one wrong social move can have dire and unspeakable consequences This is so very well written and portrayed by Atwood conveying a deeply disturbing picture of the world of growing up, trying to fit in in a world of covert bullying, perfidious and all pervading.It could be argued that this element to the novel presents what is essentially a Freudian world view and analysis all about the traumas, the mental scars of childhood remaining with us, affecting and determining our lives, defining our futures Tell me about your childhood as it were But I think what Atwood provides is something sophisticated and complex than that, profound and less simplistic There is much here about the compulsion to recognise, to acknowledge and to confront the demons of our childhood It does feel very much throughout this novel that there is the need for this confrontation, for resolution and for closure as to whether Atwood gives us this I will leave you to decide Perhaps, as in life or at least some lives the parts of this novel concerning childhood do seem to determine and define the remainder of the novel Whilst the passages concerning teenage years and adulthood in Cat s Eye are on the whole extremely well written and engaging, as you d expect from Atwood for the most part they don t have the same emotional impact and power as those concerning childhood It should be noted that there are apparently some elements contained herein from, or influenced by Atwood s early life, however she has repeatedly stressed that the plot is an entirely fictitious one This is not even close to being semi autobiographical.This is a novel about the circularity of life and of time this much is clear from the opening page It is about the ending s and the beginning s the beginning s and the ending s the child within us is always there, the past is always ever present, always with us Time is not a line but a dimension nothing goes away Whilst possibly not quite in the same league as The Blind Assassin or indeed The Handmaid s Tale this is undoubtedly a very fine book, Atwood writes so very well and with such skill Cat s Eye is clearly another important part of the hugely impressive Margaret Atwood literary canon and is not to be missed. Margie It s a little tough going to talk about this book, because the description makes it sound so Ya Ya Sisterhood chick lit Girl girl friendships, coming of age, an assembly line presentation of messy sexual relationships, dadurdydurr It s sad that a simple outline of the plot could potentially close off 50% or of the population s interest in reading this book, because unlike her speculative fiction, this is less a plot driven novel reveling in world building, and of a parade of just absolutely extraordinary craft While I may tell you that this novel is like a metaphor pride parade, it doesn t read like something flimsy stuffed with stylistic filler Coming from an artist just over the hill, cold and regretful yet still working through her own specific contributions to the wrecking of her life, the turgid yet sardonic Elaine rings true And yeah, it s a book about girl girl relationships, coming of age, and an assembly line presentation of messy sexual relationships A damn good one.Having said that I guess I can see how the book may hit emotional targets if you know what it s like to be a girl growing up in the shitstorm that is girl culture, but it can be such a savage, exacting world that I don t see how it couldn t hold the interest of just about anyone fascinated by human dynamics and the way childhood experiences and societal expectations can straight fuck you up For me, there were a number of special little memory triggers, but the same pile of words could be thrown in someone else s lap and make a whole different but equally interesting kind of mess The story covers an artist s life from her childhood in the 40 s to the day of a retrospective of her work in the 1980 s, particularly focusing on her longest, closest, and most complicated female relationship And that stuff, man I think a lot of us ladies grew up with or perhaps even were a Cordelia, a maddening sort both loveable and detestable, the most horrible yet weirdly loyal person you may ever know Mine was this pretty, six feet in middle school Cordelia type who did all kinds of messed up betrayal type stuff to my little feelings over the years stealing my things, sleeping with every boy I even sort of liked as soon as she could manage it, subtle manipulation to make me feel insecure she got me, but no one else did or could, pathological lies, sabotaging all my other female friendships out of jealousy, the works , but literally boot kicked the chest of someone for just looking at me funny, cracked a head open with metal object for unkind words, showed up at just the right time to jump in front of me as a group of three older girls who didn t like the look of grungy hey, remember the early 90 s wee me were about to make full use of their size numbers advantage until she frightened them away with her homicidal, cub defending threats, took the fall when we would get in trouble, etc My platonic, ian boyfriend girl A lot like Cordelia with her insidiousness, really, and the shift in power over the years that occurs between Elaine and Cordelia created similar echoes of that girl and I s relationship as I grew into myself and away from what I eventually realized had always been a pretty toxic friendship I may be horribly malformed and suspicious and still struggle when it comes to female relationships largely because of my years with her, but at least I never got the shit beat out of me for being poor and weird, right But people aren t caricatures, and the situation and motives were complicated than just that In Cordelia, Atwood has brought to life that sort of brutal blood sister mentality, then sliced it open and poked around a bit It s surprising what shitty ways people will treat one another because they are emotionally damaged and needy in ways they don t understand You never know how insecurity will manifest itself Sometimes a person subconsciously manipulates and demeans you because they really just don t want you to reject them, to outgrow them and go away They want you pinned under paw, not to torment or smush you, but to keep you close and codependent That is Cordelia I don t think I m being overly generous as far as my situation goes, either when I finally formally ended that long standing friendship, I was astonished by how crushed the girl was, and how sure she was that she had never done anything wrong, and had been the best kind of friend imaginable It was the only time I saw her looking truly weak, and much like Elaine, it didn t make me feel powerful or good about myself Just surprised and sad and really, really glad she didn t beat me up for it.That s just some of how I related to the book I don t really know how else to talk about it, except to say that it s beautifully written and absorbing like a tampon , and if you read it, I swear your dick won t fall off It s seriously accomplished for a faux memoir you know, a mem wah , riddled with stunning visuals and turns of phrase and illuminating analyses of human on human social and sexual warfare Even the best of people are kiiinda batshit and broken in places Here you will find a whole bunch of reasons why.Also, Elaine s areligious, environmental apocalypse theorist, entomologist dad is the coolest I want to live by campfire and collect bugs in the wilderness with him until the oceans drown the continents Please. When I finished Cat s Eye the other night I had goosebumps and they didn t go away immediately I paced around my living room for a while, rubbing my arms I didn t quite know what I was feeling and I still don t I don t think I ve ever read such a deep dive into a character before, where we get to see how a character s childhood and upbringing affects the trajectory of her entire life In some ways this book is about how women relate to themselves and one another in a sexist society, but it also pretends it s not about that Elaine, the main character, has some blind spots that make her all the interesting to consider I thought the writing was phenomenal, poetic wtithout being fussy, with so many layers, and yet even on the surface it was a fantastic, entertaining story.As I ve mentioned on Goodreads a few times, I first read this back when I was 18 or 19, and that fact makes me laugh now I was in no way sophisticated enough to appreciate what a towering work this is All this time I thought this was one of Margaret Atwood s lesser novels But that s changed Move over, Robber Bride and Oryx and Crake Cat s Eye is my new favorite.