February 14, 2010

The Year of the Flood ~ Margaret Atwood

Posted in Books, Uncategorized at 9:46 pm by adrienne

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but this cover is literally covered with elements from the novel, and begs to be picked up and read. I loved it. This novel, set at some point in the future, is clearly a companion piece to Oryx and Crake, but if you haven’t read it, it’s not a problem. It’s got some of the same funny names for animals genetically spliced together (like rakunks), high-end spas called AnooYoo, and pleebs with their pleebrats. These terms can get slightly irritating at first, but just read through it and the words will become second nature and practically normal in Atwood’s dystopian creation. The Year of the Flood also has a religious sect called God’s Gardeners, a group of people who are preparing themselves for a Second Flood, the Waterless Flood. As the book opens, the Flood has occurred, and two women, Ren and Toby, have managed to survive in different places. The story unfolds through their eyes, mostly spent in remembering the years leading up to the Flood and how their two lives have intertwined as they each prepare to face living in a world where there are no more people. And if there are, what will life be like from now on?

Atwood doesn’t pull any punches in telling us that we are destroying the earth rather than being stewards of the land, and that a heavy price will be paid for our consumerism. The God’s Gardeners’ leader, Adam One, gives lessons on different saints’ days (St. Rachel Carson, St. Dian Fossey, to mention a few), praising their efforts to live harmoniously with the land and the animals. The first Flood wiped out most of humanity, and the second will do the same. It’s a book about relationships, too, and sometimes you get slapped in the face when something that touches your own life comes up. It can often make you tear up in spite of yourself. And then, I will find myself laughing at sentences about death and maggots, and wondering about myself. But that’s how Margaret Atwood works much of the time, in my opinion.   You get lost in her words, and then your life is suddenly engaged with the story. Great read:)

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