This comment by a male porn artist in
connects with Atwood’s own comments on the social function of the novel, made in an interview five years later:
I do see the novel as a vehicle for looking at society — an interface between language and what we choose to call reality, although even that is a very malleable substance. (
, p. 246)
Atwood’s formulation is more sophisticated than her visual artist’s, taking in both the space of fictional representation and the social myths and fantasies through which people construct their images of reality — all of which might serve as a warning against reading
as straight realistic fiction. On the contrary,
is another version of Atwoodian Gothic, full of sinister games like Murder in the Dark; here it is the detective game of Cluedo, where every player can be a possible murder suspect or murder victim and their positions keep changing. Again Atwood ‘does it with mirrors’ -in this case mirror sunglasses, for this is Gothic in the tropics — and the narrative, which moves between Toronto and the Caribbean, is populated by characters who keep splitting into their doubles or shadow selves in a series of endless substitutions and replications.