Posted by: Ele Quigan | November 4, 2013

MaddAddam – Magaret Atwood

Ahh the final book of a trilogy. For one that’s loved, it’s looked forward to with both hope and dread, that it’s good enough to tie up all strings, but also with that sense of sadness that the story is soon over.

More Dystopian fiction (I’m starting to feel that 90% of the fiction I read is dystopian? Or maybe I’m just looking at a dystopian future what with the NSA leaks, Adobe hacks, 3D printing madness and all manner of unusual technological advances that I’m not so sure about), that picks apart elements of the present in a way to frame a future.

A lot of people come to Magaret Atwood through ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ or ‘The Blind Assassin’, I genuinely think her most nuanced work is ‘Cat’s Eye’, an incredibly insightful book about how horrid little girls can be to each other, and how the scars of childhood stay (and while in some ways they change) as scars as an adult…

I read the first book nearly 10 years ago, shocked and interested at the premise of a world-wide virus, designed to kill off the population and start the world again. And introduced to the ever present Crakers, the gentle people – 100% designed, with features natural but un-natural who are hopeful yet hopeless as the world closes in on them.

I think there’s credence to the anti-globalisation themes – that slowly but surely products and smaller companies become bought/sold and superseded into bigger and bigger companies (Kraft anyone?) who are big enough to create demand and design needs for all of us. Health companies that include both the beauty side and the health supplement side and then also the medication side, suddenly the pill you’re taking as a vitamin is the one that includes something that also is slowly making you sick…

Sure it’s just a bit of dystopianism, tinfoil-hatism, maybe I’m getting too cynical about advertising and company product marketing, but for some reason it’s just not feeling as surreal as it should? This book seemed to be more involved across how the current survivors had managed to survive. Not get killed by the roaming Pigoons (the hybrid pig-like creature that they can suddenly communicate with in this 3rd book through a young Craker boy)

The book is enjoyable, sure slow bits and frustrating bits – I think I should have read the previous two to get a better handle on reading it through one sitting, I was constantly trying to remember the relevance of things like ‘Health Wyzer’ and who Adam 1 was supposed to be and why Painballers were so bad, and if they were some sort of hybrid animal I’d forgotten (they aren’t, but mo’hairs are – some kind of goat that grows human hair).

My interest was in how they would look forward as a community, work together, sorta similar to ‘The Stand’, but the focus was on a lot of backstory. The person who creates the chaos is brought in quite late, but still without a real reason to kick it all off. And I couldn’t for the life of me really remember who Adam 1 was (which is more important than I think I gave it credit for.)

3 books 3 slightly different story threads, & I still feel like I haven’t quite got the whole picture…


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