Cat’s Eye. Margaret Atwood. London: Virago Press, 2011. 498
“Why do we remember the past, and not the future?” Stephen W. Hawking wonders in A Brief History of Time. This quote perfectly describes the book and turns out to be the main question in this novel. Margaret Atwood tries to attempt her personal interpretation of time and is convinced that time simply never goes away.
Elaine Risley, the main character of the book, has returned to Toronto, where she spent her childhood for a retrospective showing of her paintings. From the time her plane lands in the city she starts watching her childhood friend Cordelia. As she walks around the city she relieves her entire life as she calls it. Elaine is flooded with childhood memories. It has never been easy for her to make friends as a child as her family before moving to Toronto has always been moving around. When she starts making friends with Cordelia and two other girls her life changes. They all seem to follow Cordelia as she is the oldest. The girls treat Elaine quite badly. Now Elaine pursues a career as an artist, a painter and has a family. But back in Toronto Elaine feels haunted by these girls. Her paintings are surreal and reflect the people and emotions from those years. She finally wants to see Cordelia again and move on with that part of her life.
With the book the author wants to illustrate the importance of childhood and how childhood influences our entire life. With this story she wants to show that although Elaine is a successful artist she still can’t forget her childhood memories and still seeks for Cordelia’s approval. The book is written in first person, so Elaine is the one telling the story. It is coloured by her emotions and feelings and memories of her life. The book is mostly written in flashbacks, as she reflects on forgotten events of her childhood that have shaped her personality and struggles to integrate lost aspects of herself. The main themes in the book...