Every time I find a book by Margaret Atwood I buy it, rent it, or borrow it. This time I was lucky enough to find TWO of her novels at the local library. I read the dust covers and was thrilled to learn they were both sequels to Oryx and Crake, which I read last summer. The two books were The Year of the Flood and MaddAddam, I read The Year of the Flood first, because it was next in the trilogy. I have just begun MaddAddam, so that review will come soon.
I highly recommend reading Oryx and Crake first.
The Year of the Flood is a dystopian fiction novel, 431 pages short, written in 2009.
The setting is distant future U.S. after a pandemic disease wipes out civilization. Our narrators are Ren and Toby, who both believe they are the sole survivors. As most of Atwood’s novels do, the story unfolds between short, concise chapters from both narrators, and confusing, seemingly random flashbacks to life before the outbreak. The world was ran by the CorpseCorp, basically powerful corporations that control everything. We are given great descriptions of ways science and technology have grown, not necessarily in a good way. There are animal gene splices, like the Liobam (lion and lamb). There are also labs called ANooYoo, where people seek immortality.
Atwood’s writing is, as always, poetic and nostalgic. The Year of the Flood reads as a cautionary tale in some parts, but also as a touching personal story. You as the reader feel personally invested in Toby’ and Ren’s struggle to survive, and you relate to them on a very human level. Atwood accomplished this through her complete control over the English language. Little quips are sprinkled throughout the book, and remind you, these characters are so much like you:
“You can fall in love with anybody–a fool, a criminal, a nothing. There are no good rules.”
There are plenty of gasp-worthy, laugh out loud, and tear inducing moments through out the novel, and I can truly say, not once was bored.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading. It is considered Science Fiction, but Atwood writes in such a way that you don’t feel it’s science fiction. It’s just a damn good book.
I will leave you with this,
“Time is not a thing which passes, it’s a sea on which you float.”
Ok truth is, I can’t figure out how to underline… Anyone wanna clue me in?