First of all, yay! I have figured out how to have italics in a title!
Now, the book. Escaping from the Prison-House of Language and Digging for Meanings in Texts among Texts: Metafiction and Intertextuality in Margaret Atwood’s Novels Lady Oracle and The Blind Assassin by Andrea Strolz does what it says in the title: it looks at metafiction and intertextuality in these two novels. If the jargon scares you, do not worry: Strolz takes you step by step into the theory of metafiction and intertextuality. The first two chapters introduce the reader to these theories, the third and fourth chapters look at metafiction and intertextuality in Atwood’s work in general and the last two chapter focus on how they work in each novel.
It is an interesting book, which, for those familiar with these theories, will refresh the concepts and show how they apply to Atwood’s work. However, I did not find Strolz’s thesis revolutionary. For me, it was like revising some notes. Strolz has some good insights, but I think the structure of her book does not enhance her ideas. It is too fragmented, like a series of bullet points.
Will I use this book again? Yes, as some kind of catalogue of ideas and references, particularly regarding intertexts in Atwood’s work. Strolz has done her research: she has compiled nice summaries about each idea and her references are informative.
Who would I recommend this book to? People who enjoy Atwood but are not particularly familiar with the concepts of intertextuality and metafiction. Strolz’s theoretical explanations are clear and she then shows you how they work in the two novels. I think it would make a perfect textbook for undergraduate students.