The Lost Entwife
, August 26, 2013
(view all comments by The Lost Entwife)
A good novel dealing with a theme of dystopia should have elements of truth that make what the reader is experiencing in the pages something that is not that far out of reach. Forget about the exaggerations and complicated science that the common reader won't understand - instead, speak to something that they know. Incorporate hymns, familiar passages of religious text, and expand on the desires of people who are living in the real world, here and now.
Then twist it all into something so scary it shocks that same reader into thinking, "Oh my ... this COULD happen."
That's good dystopia. And Margaret Atwood captures all of that perfectly in The Year of the Flood, a follow-up companion novel to her brilliant Oryx and Crake. Switching gear from Snowman-Jimmy and the Crakers, Atwood moves to study the lives of God's Gardeners, a cultish group of people who are clinging to the organic, natural way of life.
I really struggled at times with this book because I felt as if the God's Gardeners should be people I should be afraid of - a cult that twists and perverts religion much like those portrayed in the news today. But yet, I could not disagree with their fundamental beliefs because I hated what was happening in the world around them and its similarities to our world today. And that inner struggle as I read is what made me love this book so much. I had to think about what it was I disliked, what made me uncomfortable, and what exactly I agreed with and then pinpoint where things went wrong in the book and where they went right.
And that, folks, is why Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite authors. I love reading a book that makes me work and, when I finish, leaves me mentally exhausted.
The conclusion to this trilogy is due out soon, so I re-read Oryx and Crake and read The Year of the Flood for the first time in preparation for the release of MaddAddam. You can bet I am looking forward to the conclusion and dreading it at the same time because what else could I look forward to with as much eager anticipation and dread!