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The Year of the Floodby Margaret Atwood
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Margaret Atwood's haunting companion to Oryx and Crake will leave you hungry for another book in this "speculative fiction" universe. Written in the alternating voices of young and initially naive Ren and nostalgic but wounded Toby, the novel explores themes of ecology, disaster, relationships, and religion in a world that feels eerily familiar. Unlike Oryx and Crake, this story is told solely from the perspective of women. Atwood's fascinating prose marvelously explores social issues and human nature.
Synopses & Reviews
The long-awaited new novel from Margaret Atwood. The Year of the Flood is a dystopic masterpiece and a testament to her visionary power.
The times and species have been changing at a rapid rate, and the social compact is wearing as thin as environmental stability. Adam One, the kindly leader of the God's Gardeners — a religion devoted to the melding of science and religion, as well as the preservation of all plant and animal life — has long predicted a natural disaster that will alter Earth as we know it. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women have survived: Ren, a young trapeze dancer locked inside the high-end sex club Scales and Tails, and Toby, a God's Gardener barricaded inside a luxurious spa where many of the treatments are edible.
Have others survived? Ren's bioartist friend Amanda? Zeb, her eco-fighter stepfather? Her onetime lover, Jimmy? Or the murderous Painballers, survivors of the mutual-elimination Painball prison? Not to mention the shadowy, corrupt policing force of the ruling powers...
Meanwhile, gene-spliced life forms are proliferating: the lion/lamb blends, the Mo'hair sheep with human hair, the pigs with human brain tissue. As Adam One and his intrepid hemp-clad band make their way through this strange new world, Ren and Toby will have to decide on their next move. They can't stay locked away...
By turns dark, tender, violent, thoughtful, and uneasily hilarious, The Year of the Flood is Atwood at her most brilliant and inventive.
"Profoundly imagined.... This is a gutsy and expansive novel, rich with ideas and conceits." Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A gripping and visceral book that showcases the pure storytelling talents she displayed with such verve in her 2000 novel, The Blind Assassin." New York Times
"Atwood is funny and clever, such a good writer and real thinker.... As ever with Atwood, it is friendship between women that is noted and celebrated — friendship not without its jealousies but friendship that survives rivalry and disappointment, and has a generosity that at the end of the novel allows for hope.... We don't know how [human nature] will evolve, or if we will evolve at all. The Year of the Flood isn't prophecy, but it is eerily plausible." New York Time Book Review
"Canada's greatest living novelist undoubtedly knows how to tell a gripping story, as fans of The Blind Assassin and A Handmaid's Tale already know. But here there's a serious message too: Look at what we're doing right now to our world, to nature, to ourselves. If this goes on..." Washington Post
"One of the versatile Atwood's authorial calling cards, as far back as her early novel The Handmaid's Tale, has been that of ruthless investigator, never hesitating to cut to bone in describing real-as-life dystopias. In this work, however, she also appears to be having wild fun, gunning it like a daredevil race-car driver: The Year of the Flood serves as an old-fashioned alarm (moral, ecological), a zombie thriller and a series of swashbuckling pokes It modern institutions.... To Atwood's supreme credit, her story is enthralling.... Memorable characters, a tightly controlled pace and shockingly plausible scenes make it fly — to a mysterious, skin-prickling ending. If Atwood also inspires ways to prevent such a gruesomely likely future, we'll owe her far more than literary admiration." San Francisco Chronicle
"Atwood unflinchingly holds aloft the sanctity of life — for all species — and the human quest for love." Chicago Sun-Times
"The Year of the Flood is timely and gripping.... Atwood creates a totally believable futuristic world in which people, for the most part, are the beasts. Those who have retained their humanity are the outlaws. But no matter what the setting, Atwood just tells a good story, one filled with suspense and even levity." USA Today
"Atwood scores a 10 when it comes to creating, from the stragglers of the old one, a whole new world.... Toby, Ren, and their lost-soul friend Amanda, would be sympathetic characters in any setting. That Atwood conjures them into this madcap setting, where vultures open 'like black umbrellas,' misdeeds are punished by kidney removal, and bracelets are made of jellyfish, makes us love them even more." Philadelphia Inquirer
"The Year of the Flood consistently does what one expects of any work by Margaret Atwood: It entertains, spins out suspense and rewards a reader's basic impulse, all the while subtly and expertly maintaining its literary respectability." Minneapolis Star Tribune
"[The Year of the Flood] shows the Nobel Prize-worthy Atwood … at the pinnacle of her prodigious creative powers. Her weigh-in on the breakdown of the social covenant comes during a time of historic global change that her story eerily both mirrors and foretells." Elle Magazine
"There is gallows humor, and then there is Margaret Atwood. The masterful Canadian writer is emerging as literature's queen of the apocalypse. And the dark visions Atwood again summons in The Year of the Flood prove quite illuminating." Associated Press
"Atwood orchestrates her narratives into a heart-pounding, mysterious and surprisingly touching finale. She enchants us so convincingly that after her spell is over, the 'real' world seems temporarily transformed. The Year of the Flood is both a warning and a gift." NPR.org
"Atwood's mischievous, suspenseful, and sagacious dystopian novel follows the trajectory of current environmental debacles to a shattering possible conclusion with passionate concern and arch humor." Booklist, starred review
"Another stimulating dystopia from this always-provocative author, whose complex, deeply involving characters inhabit a bizarre yet frighteningly believable future." Kirkus Reviews
Set in the visionary future of Atwood’s acclaimed Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood is at once a moving tale of lasting friendship and a landmark work of speculative fiction. In this second book of the MaddAddam trilogy, the long-feared waterless flood has occurred, altering Earth as we know it and obliterating most human life. Among the survivors are Ren, a young trapeze dancer locked inside the high-end sex club Scales and Tails, and Toby, who is barricaded inside a luxurious spa. Amid shadowy, corrupt ruling powers and new, gene-spliced life forms, Ren and Toby will have to decide on their next move, but they can't stay locked away.
About the Author
Margaret Atwood is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. Her novels include The Handmaid's Tale, Cat's Eye, Alias Grace, Oryx and Crake, and The Blind Assassin, which won the Man Booker Prize. In 2008 she was awarded Spain's Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature.
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