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The Year of the Flood

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The Year of the Flood Cover

ISBN13: 9780307455475
ISBN10: 0307455475
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

1. How does the friendship between Amanda and Ren grow, despite their differences and the restrictions they face? They meet as children. Who was your greatest ally when you were that age? What do you think of Ren's treatment of Bernice?

2. What survival skills do the novel's female characters possess? Do they find security or vulnerability at Scales and Tales, the AnooYoo Spa, and within the community of Gardeners? What strength does Pilar find in nature, while Lucerne is drawn to artificial beauty?

3. How do Adam One's motivations compare to Zeb's? In their world, what advantages do men have? Are they really “advantages”?

4. Discuss Toby's parents and their fate. What does their story illustrate about the dangers of an unregulated and corrupt drug industry? What motivates Toby to become a healer?

5. How does Adam One's explanation of creation and the fall of humanity compare to more standard Judeo-Christian ideas? What does he offer his followers, beyond an understanding of the planet and the creatures that inhabit it?

6. Discuss the father figures in Ren's life: her stepfather, Zeb; her biological father, Frank; and eventually Mordis. What did they teach her about being a woman? How did they shape her expectations of Jimmy?

7. As a refugee from Texas, Amanda is an outsider, facing constant risk. Would you have harbored her? Why is Ren so impressed by her?

8. What is the result of a penal system like Painball? How does it influence the citizens' attitude toward crime?

9. Should Toby have honored Pilar's deathbed wish that she become an Eve? How did the lessons in beekeeping serve Toby in other ways as well?

10. Crake's BlyssPlus pill offers many false promises. What are they, and what was Crake really striving for (chapter 73)? If human beings are the greatest problem for the natural world, could they also provide solutions less drastic than Crake's? How?

11. In what ways do the novel's three voices—Toby's, Ren's, and Adam One's—complement one another? What unique perspective is offered in each narration?

12. Explore the lyrics from The God's Gardeners Oral Hymnbook. What do they say about the Gardener theology and the nature of their faith? Adam One does not always tell the truth to his congregation. Is well-meant lying ever acceptable?

13. Margaret Atwood's fiction often displays “gallows humor.” Can a thing be dire and funny at the same time? Must we laugh or die?

14. The Year of the Flood covers the same time period as Oryx and Crake, and contains a number of the same characters — (“Snowman,” a student at the Martha Graham Academy and “the last man on earth”) and Glenn (“Crake,” who studied at the Watson-Crick Institute), as well as Bernice, Jimmy's hostile college room-mate, Amanda, a live-in artist girlfriend, Ren (“Brenda,”) whom he remembers briefly in Oryx and Crake as a high-school fling, Jimmy's mother, who runs away to become an activist, and the God's Gardeners, whom he mentions as a fringe green cult. Re-read the final pages of both books. What do you predict for the remaining characters? Should the Gardeners execute the Painballers? Why? Why not? Would you?

15. What parallels did you see between The Year of the Flood and current headlines?

(For a complete list of available reading group guides, and to sign up for the Reading Group Center enewsletter, visit www.readinggroupcenter.com)

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 7 comments:

nesiebird, January 3, 2012 (view all comments by nesiebird)
Again, Atwood does not disappoint with her dystopic lens. A must-read for everyone.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
michael.sprague, January 2, 2012 (view all comments by michael.sprague)
Great book. Web site is difficult to use with a smartphone.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
catfish, January 16, 2011 (view all comments by catfish)
Along with Atwood's first book in the cycle,Oryx and Crake, this is one of the most terrifying and absorbing dystopian novels I have read in a long time. The vision of the future is not so far away from reality, even though the world has pretty much descended into chaos-- controlled by large scientific corporations and despotic CorpSeCorps men. Gene-spliced creatures are taking over the earth and humans live in a false utopia of artificilly "grown" Chicken Nubbins, HappyCuppa, and ANooYoo rejuvenating products. God's Gardeners, a quasi religious cult, exists in the shadows, trying to bring man back to nature, but just as insidious in its fanaticism. Totally absorbing. I can't wait for the third (and final?) book.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307455475
Subtitle:
Crake; The Year of the Flood; Maddaddam
Author:
Atwood, Margaret
Publisher:
Anchor
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Science fiction
Subject:
Dystopias
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;dystopia;science fiction;post-apocalyptic;apocalypse;genetic engineering;canadian;novel;speculative fiction;dystopian;religion;environmentalism;survival;future;plague;sf;canada;environment;canadian literature;literature;post-apocalypse;ecology;fan
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20140812
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
448
Dimensions:
8 x 5.15 x 0.91 in 0.74 lb

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The Year of the Flood Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$11.50 In Stock
Product details 448 pages Anchor Books - English 9780307455475 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

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.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Profoundly imagined.... This is a gutsy and expansive novel, rich with ideas and conceits." Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Review" by , "A gripping and visceral book that showcases the pure storytelling talents she displayed with such verve in her 2000 novel, The Blind Assassin."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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..."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "Atwood unflinchingly holds aloft the sanctity of life — for all species — and the human quest for love."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "[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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "Another stimulating dystopia from this always-provocative author, whose complex, deeply involving characters inhabit a bizarre yet frighteningly believable future."
"Synopsis" by , 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.
"Synopsis" by , Margaret Atwood, whose work has been published in thirty-five countries, is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. In addition to The Handmaid’s Tale, her novels include Cat’s Eye, short-listed for the Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; Oryx and Crake, short-listed for the 2003 Man Booker Prize; and The Year of the Flood. She is the recipient of the Los Angeles Times Innovator’s Award, and lives in Toronto with the writer Graeme Gibson.
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