Atwood was utterly unable to break from cliche in this novel, despite the imaginative veneer. We get the ambitious scientist and the moralist who says we shouldn't mess with nature. We get the math guy who reduces art to biology. We get the victim who forgives. The philosophies, the conversations, and the ideas are all things we've seen before. The characters are simple, cardboard cutouts, who don't seem to struggle internally.
That said, the narration of this audiobook is horrendous, the worst I've ever witnessed among the many books on this site. The narrator sounded drugged, did not have different voices for different characters, would not emulate shouting or whispering, and did not seem to have 'empathy' -- he couldn't get into the characters. It was almost like having a computerized text-to-speech rather than a human reader.
once I got hooked I couldn't get this book out of my head. Listened to The Year of the Flood right afterwards and then came back to listen to this again- so well done. I can't recommend both books enough.
If only all Audios were this good. Fine, serious writing, gripping and fast-moving plot, inventive settings, delightful turns of phrase, plenty of surprises, and a powerful message with a challenging conclusion. A classic dystopian vision of arresting originality, compelling characterization and great depth (with just the occasional anachronism - aspirin? hard-copy CVs? but these are quibbles). The narration is spot-on too.
The author's command and use of language is remarkable, and the world created in this book is fascinating. The reader has a deep, soothing voice, and eloquently expresses the pauses along with the passages. The premise of the novel (truly a cautionary tale) is well presented and developed.
The problem (in my opinion) is the characters. As a whole they lack depth. They never developed into true humans with morals, empathy, and insight-- even though they are in the middle of a truly apocalyptic event.
The story presented many opportunities for deep character development-- but they remained one-dimensional, trapped forever in an adolescent narcissistic funk.
I am a huge (and therefore biased) fan of Margaret Atwood, and I find her speculative fiction her most interesting and challenging work. This did not disappoint. As noted by a previous reviewer, it is not for sci-fi novices - the plot is not simply laid out and does not follow all the rules they teach us in writing class. I found the story rich, interesting, wildly thought provoking, and very frightening in its plausibility. The characters are interesting (if some a bit creepy) and the intricacy of their relationships compelling. It is very much a sci-fi thriller, but without space ships - a good apocalyptic science-and-intellect-run-amok story. As noted before, the abrupt ending was a bit disappointing but not surprising. I really want to know what happens next, but in the style of Margaret Atwood, each reader has to answer that question for him or herself.
compelling, like an audible train wreck, you have to keep listening even though you know the end is near. It had the same effect on my coworkers. We devoured it, unable to speak or talk to others while listening to this selection. excellent.
I love Si-Fi / Fantasy and this was a good one. I have to disagree with the review(s) that say the character development was poor, I thought it was outstanding! Your in the head of each of the three main characters, the story is well thought out, vividly established and down-right disturbing!
It is the kind of story that you really hate to turn off and wait to the next day to see what happens.
The story line jumps in time a lot, but it works.
Buy it, you will love it. It was one of the best fiction Audio Books that I have listened to.
This book takes a raw look at the future, and it's not pretty. The story is a long narrative as told from the viewpoint of Snowman, a man trapped in a bleak fight for survival. I found the beginning of the book to be quite slow. The second half picked up nicely and put the pieces together well enough, though. The story and the author's view of future life on planet earth are disturbing because as with any good fictional work they are woven with so many threads of truth. Despite this, I did not find this to be a particularly good book. Now, I do not have to have my stories wrapped up and tied with a pretty bow, however the ending to this book takes that premise way too far. I found the book's conclusion very unsatisfying. Campbell Scott does a very good job of narrating and setting the tone for the story, but he can't raise this novel up from the mediocre.
Which is why there are so many reviewers disappointed by the end. There is no end. You need to use your brain and think. Excellent read! I was dreading the end from the beginning!