Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Year of the Flood

My latest Book recommendation is The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood.

This was the second book of Ms. Atwood's that I read cover to cover. Previously, I read The Handmaid's Tale (a previous review covers this) and after speaking with one of my M.F.A professors I picked up this novel at one of my favorite Bay Area used bookstores.

Set after her novel Oryx and Crake the novel is set in a post-apocalyptic universe. Now, I typically do not recommend reading novels out of order but I will say that if you have not read the first novel in the series it is perfectly okay. Here we are introduced to two seemingly unrelated characters Ren and Toby. Ren is a young woman caught up in the world of a high end sex club. Toby is an older woman who lives on her own in an abandoned luxury spa where she survives on her wits and the mostly edible treatments that were devised in the spa.

You eventually learn that Toby is and still considers herself part of an organization known as God's Gardeners. An group that is devoted to the preservation of all plant and animal life and the melding of science and religion. And Ren was once one of the children that was cared for by God's Gardeners. After getting involved with a bad crowd Ren left the organization, led by the mysterious Adam One, and found herself caught up as a trapeze dancer in the club Scales and Tails. When disaster strikes Ren locks herself in one of the rooms that the clubs keeps for quarantine purposes.

While gene spliced animals, strange blue people, and dangerous men roam the world these two women struggle to survive. Eventually they will each realize that they cannot hide forever and eventually will have to brave the new world created by the flood.

This novel is an excellent example of a post apocalyptic setting. With devices both dark and uneasily humorous Ms. Atwood gives us a world that is simultaneously terrifying and fascinating. If you are a fan of On the Road or Blindness then this is a novel that you don't want to miss.