Cat’s Eye is the story of a painter, Elaine, who is returning to the city of her childhood and adolescence for a retrospective of her work. The return sparks vivid reminiscences of a past that includes three girls who in turns bullied and befriended Elaine when she was a confused, lonely, and socially inept 8-year-old. Cordelia was the ringleader of the bunch. The story is told in past and present as Elaine relives what happened and what is currently occurring and comes to the realization that the events of her past have left a lasting impact on her as a woman, a mother, a wife, and an artist.
The main theme this book explores is relationships, Elaine’s relationship with her family, with her brother Stephen, with the three girls and with Cordelia in particular, with God, with her artistic mentor, with both of her husbands, and finally with her daughters. Elaine is one of the “others”, an outsider. Her early childhood and her unconventional parents left her uncertain when navigating stereotypical female roles and social cues. Even into her 50’s, as she looks back on her life, Elaine still is haunted by the events of her childhood.
An excellent read, my favorite Margaret Atwood book so far.