Posted by: Ele Quigan | September 4, 2010

‘The Year of the Flood’ Magaret Atwood

A new Magaret Atwoods this year – an unexpected treasure! I’ve loved her books for years. ‘ The Year of the Flood’ follows in time frame my other favourite book of hers, the nightmareish dystopian future novel ‘Oryx & Crake’.

I didn’t actually realise this at first, until I started noticing familiar creatures being listed (Rakunks and Pigoons) and towards the end you start hearing about the infamous ‘Snowman’ (main character within O&C) and backstories to Oryx & Crake.

The premise of the story covers two characters backgrounds, in the familiar territory of flipping between the past and the present – both of them part of the environmentalist cult ‘The Gardeners’. I thought the concept of the Gardeners was probably the most interesting part of the novel, from the idea that such a cult could be used as a bolt hole for people running from something (the law, their life, their own sense of self) forever feeling guilty feeling that they never quite fit in as they never fully believe. To those who wholeheartedly live and breathe the entire premise, only to be driven to action as the cult was far too peaceful in ethos.

Somehow this dystopian future of corporations running the world rather than governments has always sat well with me. Given the way that the worlds’ media is slowly being swallowed into News Corp, large business such as Kraft purchasing so many companies underneath them… It doesn’t feel like it’s in the far future, more like something we may even see the start of in my own lifetime.

I really enjoyed reading this from the perspective of two women as well, a change from the Male Oryx & Crake (and also The Lacuna)

While Magaret Atwood doesn’t like to think of her books as science fiction, they are often placed in that genre, sitting with the classic ‘1984’ and ‘A Brand New World’. I guess what makes them slightly unusual maybe is the open endings, it never feels like the story was completely tied together (both Year of the Flood and Oryx & Crake finish in the same place) leaving me wondering (like a bad movie) is she leaving room for a sequel…

Overall, I very much enjoyed it, I’m still thinking about it days later, always sign that I’ve been drawn into the story in an interesting way. I want to read Oryx & Crake again now and start seaming the two stories together.

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