Margaret Atwood puts the human heart to the ultimate test in an utterly brilliant new novel that is as visionary as The Handmaid's Tale and as richly imagined as The Blind Assassin.
Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of an economic and social collapse. Job loss has forced them to live in their car, leaving them vulnerable to roving gangs. They desperately need to turn their situation around - and fast.
The Positron Project in the town of Consilience seems to be the answer to their prayers. No one is unemployed, and everyone gets a comfortable, clean house to live in...for six months out of the year.
On alternating months, residents of Consilience must leave their homes and function as inmates in the Positron prison system. Once their month of service in the prison is completed, they can return to their 'civilian' homes.
At first, this doesn't seem like too much of a sacrifice to make in order to have a roof over one's head and food to eat. But when Charmaine becomes romantically involved with the man who lives in their house during the months when she and Stan are in the prison, a series of troubling events unfolds, putting Stan's life in danger.
With each passing day, Positron looks less like a prayer answered and more like a chilling prophecy fulfilled.
©2015 O.W. Toad Ltd (P)2015 Penguin Random House LLC
"The outstanding novelist of our age." (The Sunday Times)
"Atwood makes it look so easy, doing what she does best: tenderly dissecting the human heart . A marvellous writer." (The Daily Mail)
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"A saccharin, bitter, sexual satire"
Gay Elvis impersonators, a Marilyn Monroe lookalike in heat with a soft blue teddy bear and a talking head in a box
This book started as a four part publication of ebook segments, similar to the way The Green Mile was published, but it lacks the cohesion of The Green Mile or the soul.
Stan and Charmaine the main characters have fallen in hard times and are living in their car, in constant fear of roaming gangs, rape and murders, they take solace in an offer by a Positron project, that gives them the use of a house one month but the next they become prisoners while the prisoners become the inhabitants of the house, no outside communication is allowed, no outside contact, you come in you stay and you question nothing. You would think that this would be enough for A dystopia, but no, sexual politics, sexual desires, infidelity, bestiality, sexual robots of all kinds, and love potion operations that imprint a person to the first thing they see with two eye, and tons of other shenanigans take over the story and turn it into a not very humorous satire, that feels more like sitcom than a novel. To make matters worse none of the characters are likable, so I could not feel for them.
This is a Canadian author writing a satire of americana pastiches that are superfluous cliches, that do not add but diminish the story with buffoonery, we have a town in the near future that only play music and movies from the fifties, that is american fifties, Elvis Presley impersonators, Marilyn Monroe impersonators as a kind of entertainers come escorts, or hospital fantasies for the elderly, also robot versions that can be rented to have sex. I know it is supposed to be funny, but I just found it irritating.
The plot is easy to follow but you never know what are the motivations, for those manipulating until the end, but by then it is just feels banal.
The prose is agile and expert like I would expect from Margaret Atwood but the humor never really took me over, and I could not see the point of this saccharin bitter story.
The narration was excellent and using two actors when you have two distinct characters telling the story works very well.
"Under par Attwood"
Not sure, it starts so badly.
Not their fault.
Am an ardent fan of Margaret Atwood and her recent Oryx & Crake trilogy - so this latest book came as rather a disappointment.
"If Barbie & Ken could speak..."
...they'd sound like the narrators of this book. Gets irritating very quickly. Set in a dystopian America (which Atwood conjured up so well in A Handmaid's Tale) the story disintegrates into farce, with shallow, unlikeable central characters. I hung grimly on until the end, but this isn't Atwood at her best.
"Loved this book"
I couldn't put this book down, the more I got into it, the more I found interesting. Good read from start to finish
"I loved it"
Margaret Atwood is a great writer and the story was performed brilliantly. It starts off quite sinisterly but by the time it had reached the 'Elvis' bit the tone had changed completely. I listen to these books on my phone as I'm walking. I had to take out the head phones and hold the phone to my ear so that people around me would think I was talking on the phone, because I was laughing our loud.
I would recommend this book to a friend
"Fantasy or futuristic?"
A typical Margaret Atwood, at once futuristic but also highly plausible.
That last few sentences which question how much our life is influenced by our beliefs.
Divided the story well into 2 points of view
The final words
As usual Margaret Atwood tells a compelling story with a message to society
"Engaging from the moment you start"
Excellent. enjoyable and thought provoking. Small chapters worked well with the 2 protagonists, easy to read.
"Brilliant and disturbing in equal measure!"
A thought provoking listen with an original take on the narrative voice. The acting from the readers was engaging and powerful.
The story itself was good although it was a little slow n hard to follow at first.
I found the character voice of Charmaine rather simpering and annoying at times but the male voice of Stan was much easier to listen to.
Overall the storyline was interesting and punchy with a bit of fantasy thrown in for good measure. A good, if implausible, story.
"What is this all about??"
I have read a few of Margaret Attwood's books in the past and never noticed a chaotic story line in any of them... But this is hard to listen to, to follow or to gauge where the story is taking you. You need to go with the flow to get through this!
Characters do not present with realistic with blurred emotions and contradictions in their own values and localities. Sorry but it's a tough one!!
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