I’m a keen Margaret Atwood fan so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this week. Being slightly more organised that normal, I re-read Oryx and Crake (although I think The Year of the Flood can be read without having first read Oryx and Crake).
The way Atwood uses language is breath taking – it must be the poet in her. The name of the companies are fabulous, i.e HelthWyzer and the genetic splices (lion and lamb, raccoon and skunk).
It is much easier to feel sympathy for the characters in this novel. Let’s face it – Snowman and Crake were very unpleasant.
Adam One, the kindly leader of the God’s Gardeners – a religion devoted to the melding of science, religion, and nature – has long predicted a disaster. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women remain: Ren, a young dancer locked away in a high-end sex club, and Toby, a former God’s Gardener, who barricades herself inside a luxurious spa. Have others survived? Ren’s bio-artist friend Amanda? Zeb, her eco-fighter stepfather? Her onetime lover, Jimmy? Or the murderous Painballers? Not to mention the CorpSeCorps, the shadowy policing force of the ruling powers… As Adam One and his beleaguered followers regroup, Ren and Toby emerge into an altered world, where nothing – including the animal life – is predictable.
Atwood has created a (scarily) realistic world where commerce reigns supreme. I think it is very easy to see how we get from here (where we are now) to there. This novel is a bit more hopeful than Oryx and Crake or perhaps I should say less bleak. The survivors might just be able to stay alive and start a new civilization although I’m a bit worried about the torch bearers at the end.
In all honesty I do have to say that I liked her earlier works better.