Summary: The bridge

The narrator, Iris, recalls learning about the death of her sister, Laura, in 1945, shortly after the end of WWII. Laura dies in a car accident, and the circumstances imply that the accident may have been deliberate. Iris, however, publicly insists that the death was accidental. After learning of Laura’s death, Iris uncovers a pile of notebooks and thinks about Reenie, a woman who functioned as a substitute for her mother during her childhood.

Summary: The Toronto Star, 1945

A newspaper article from May 1945 reports on the facts surrounding the death of Laura Chase. Laura was 25 when she died. Her sister Iris, the narrator, is now identified at Mrs. Richard Griffen. The article implies that Laura’s death was accidental and calls for more stringent safety precautions.

Summary: The Blind Assassin: Perennials for the Rock Garden

The narrative moves into a story within a story, excerpting from a novel called The Blind Assassin, which was written by Laura Chase and published in 1947 (after her death.) The excerpt describes a woman hiding a photo of herself and an unnamed man. In the photo, she and the man are enjoying a picnic, and in one corner of the frame, the hand of another person is faintly visible. The woman looks at the photo frequently, implying that she has strong feelings for the man but also that their relationship is a secret one.

Summary: The hard-boiled egg

A man and a woman converse playfully, and he agrees to start telling her a science fiction story. The man sets the story on the planet Zycron. The planet is an arid plain, populated by five tribes; there is a pile of stones which is popularly believed to mark the site where a grand city once stood. The storytelling ends when the woman says that she has to leave before people start to notice her absence.

Summary: The Globe and Mail, 1947

A newspaper article describes the death of Richard Griffen, a wealthy and powerful man. The article reveals that Richard was married to Iris and that they had a ten-year-old daughter named Aimee. The article also refers to Laura’s novel having been published after her death and introduces the character of Winifred Prior, Richard’s sister. The article says that Richard died of a brain aneurysm aboard his sailboat.

Summary: The park bench

The man and the woman meet on a park bench while she is pretending to be out shopping. He continues the story, explaining that Zycron is populated by human inhabitants who would later colonize Earth. The lost city was once a beautiful and luxuriant place known as Sakiel-Norn. The city operated with a rigid class structure, divided between the aristocratic Snilfards and the plebian Ygnirods.