Cat's Eye

Cat's Eye

Book - 1999 | Seal ed.
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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, an artist, and a 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 knot of her life.
Publisher: Toronto : Doubleday Canada, [1999], c1988.
Edition: Seal ed.
ISBN: 9780770428235
Characteristics: 578 p.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jun 17, 2019

I thought the ending might bring it all together, I really did, which is why I kept reading this monster tome — 462 pages with almost no dialogue. There were excellent elements: the cat’s eye marble she saves as a girl, the bullying, the painting, the knowledge that mothers can’t always help their daughters, the entomology, female friendships among middle-age women, Elaine’s brother’s theories about multiple time streams happening at the same time. But no. It’s just a table covered in puzzle pieces and someone lost the box with the picture, so it’s impossible to put together into a cohesive image.

If you want to get into Atwood, I’d recommend The MaddAddam trilogy, or at least the first book, Oryx & Crake.

Jun 01, 2016

A young girl grows up in post-WWII Toronto, bullied by girls who profess to be her friend. The experience follows her for the rest of her life. It's an insightful exploration of power and bullying with what I suspect are strong autobiographical elements in capturing setting and milieu. See my full review at :

May 21, 2014

Bullying is the topic of the moment, and in 2014 it is remarked upon in the newspapers regularly, Well, when Margaret Atwood wrote this book nobody talked much about bullying, and there was no anti-bullying curriculum for teachers, or bully-free zones in schools.
Atwood has, I think, captured the nuances of girls who bully, very well. I found the book uncomfortable to read.

Oct 01, 2011

I read this immediately after reading "Alias Grace." It's not as good as Alias Grace, but is quite an interesting book about the relationship between females. This book has been said to have been semi-autobiographical.

Goober1950 Aug 07, 2011

First of Atwoods books read by me. Am looking forward to the next

Sep 16, 2007

About a girl/woman who is never truly happy in life. This is not just her attitude, more the author's. In this book the world is never a clean and comfortable place.


Add a Summary
Sep 16, 2007

the main character grows up but the book stays mostly with her childhood and the "friends" she had their that continue to appear in her later life.


Add a Quote
Laura_X Feb 22, 2019

I've forgotten about these things all winter, but here they are again, and when I see them I remember them, I know them, I greet them as if they are home.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at MPL

To Top