The times and species have been changing at a rapid rate, and the social compact is wearing as thin as environmental stability. Adam One, the kindly leader of the God's Gardeners - a religion devoted to the melding of science and religion, as well as the preservation of all plant and animal life - has long predicted a natural disaster that will alter Earth as we know it. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women have survived: Ren, a young trapeze dancer locked inside the high-end sex club Scales and Tails, and Toby, a God's Gardener barricaded inside a luxurious spa where many of the treatments are edible.
Have others survived? Ren's bioartist friend Amanda? Zeb, her eco-fighter stepfather? Her onetime lover, Jimmy? Or the murderous Painballers, survivors of the mutual-elimination Painball prison? Not to mention the shadowy, corrupt policing force of the ruling powers . . .
Meanwhile, gene-spliced life forms are proliferating: the lion/lamb blends, the Mo'hair sheep with human hair, the pigs with human brain tissue. As Adam One and his intrepid hemp-clad band make their way through this strange new world, Ren and Toby will have to decide on their next move. They can't stay locked away . . .
By turns dark, tender, violent, thoughtful, and uneasily hilarious, The Year of the Flood is Atwood at her most brilliant and inventive.
©2009 Margaret Atwood; (P)2009 Random House
After reading and loving "Oryx And Crake", I was eagerly anticipating the release of "The Year Of The Flood". And happily, I was not disappointed. "The Year Of The Flood" is a companion book to "Oryx And Crake", meaning this story takes place during the same time as "Oryx And Crake". It's not a sequel. Through the stories of Ren and Toby, we learn more about what it was like to live in the pleeblands, outside of the Helthwyzer complex. We also learn about the Gardeners, a cult-like group that has unforeseen influence on the men instrumental to the catastrophe to come (Snowman and Crake).
Why did I rate this only four stars? Because I found the first few chapters very confusing. It took a while for me to figure out what was going on. If this happens to you, don't give up. The payoff is well worth the time and effort. I also found the first half of the book a bit slow. The characters were very interesting, though, and by the time I reached the halfway point, I could not put this audiobook down. I am not sure if Ms. Atwood is planning to write a sequel, but I would love to read it. I'd especially love to read more about Zeb and Adam One and their time at the Helthwyzer complex. Really enjoyed this one!
Yes,the music for the songs is pretty cheesy, but taken in context, I think the bland catchiness is just perfect for the hymnal of God's Gardeners,and the lyrics are often quite funny. I enjoyed this listen very much, as I found the narrators quite good, and I was intrigued by Atwood's dystopia and it's details. Another reviewer found the ending "unresolved," but I found the open-endedness thought-provoking as the author gives us plenty of clues as to what might happen (nothing particularly happy or pretty, in my opinion). I have read a lot of speculative fiction of the dystopic/post-apocalyptic variety and I appreciated Atwood's humor.
Agree with the first review by Valerie. The music was awful.
I do not agree with the other reviews though this was a great story. I had a hard time putting it down.
If there were not songs in the book I would give it a 5. But I do not listen to audio books to hear bad singers sing songs.
Other than that it is great.
I loved Oryx & Crake and am thrilled that the brilliant Margaret Atwood has chosen to continue the story.
The narrators were good, but the production suffers from the hairbrained idea that it would add to the story to actually record Atwood's song lyrics as actual songs.
In the same way that some actors go overboard in "performing" certain books (not this one thankfully). The producer here went WAY overboard by adding something that is ONLY possible in an audio book by adding music.
I don't listen to books from Audible to hear a performance, I listen because I don't have time to sit and read, so I prefer my books to be as unadulterated as possible.
I hope the producers of this book recognize that such over the top adulteration is a mistake and stop it in future.
This book provides insights into the story behind the story of Oryx and Crake and will leave the reader wanting more answers to what happens next. All I can say is I wish this book had come sooner.
Our desire to look and feel younger, eat whatever we want as much as we want, do what we want, but all at a cost to whom; ourselves ultimately. Margaret Atwood paints an image of our current society and what may be in store if we refuse to see the bigger picture. I found the behaviour of the pigoons was very disquieting.
Once Toby is reunited with Ren, knowing she is no longer alone she gains the strength needed to continue. Toby and Ren can set out together and find the others.
This was a fantastic listen and well worth it. Learning the characters stories and what brought them to where they are was gripping.
My only disappointment is that Oryx and Crake is not available on Audible so that I could enjoy it as well. I read it some years ago and would not like to listen to it. This book is better understood together with Oryx and Crake and not as a stand alone but just as enjoyable.
The characters were not memorable. I found this disappointing and depressing.
And please no more singing in audio books.
In Year of the Flood the majority of the book took place in the narrators past, which seemed incredibly trite. It spent too much time on the hijinks of teenage girls: going to the mall, which boys they like, talking behind each other's backs. Only about 10% of the book was set in present Oryx and Crake time. In Oryx and Crake time bounced back regularly between present and Jimmy's past to keep the pacing going well with the back story.
All three narrators mispronounced corps and in Corpsecorps. Which was incredibly annoying and kind of shocking that three professional narrators don't know how corps is pronounced.
The final chapter sort of followed up on the cliffhanger in Oryx and Crake.
No, I rarely re-listen to (or re-read) books.
Bernadette Dunne (narrator for the character Toby) had a terrible habit of ending her sentences with an upward inflection, making every statement into a half-question. This stopped about 2/3rds of the way in, or perhaps I finally became desensitized to it.
My only real complaint was with Bernadette Dunne's narration. I will be avoiding anything narrated by her in the future.
I enjoyed this listen and would listen to it again. Yes, the songs are cheesy. Yes, the book meanders and, besides for the end of the world as we know it, not much happens. However, there are a number of highly redeeming features about the book. The end-of-the-world theme (as with the time travel theme) is notoriously difficult to write about - as the scenarios for the most part are already covered - is it by asteroids, nuclear war, plague, or is it just endless and depressing a la "The Road". But instead of focussing on plot, which can be frustrating - with a non-end to the story - she uses it as a backdrop to explore deeper issues - what is it to be human? To be truly alive? What is our role as humans as guardians of the planet? What is our relationship to spirit one one side and to flesh on the other?
It would be easy to see Adam One and the Gardeners as an anachonism - idealistic and simplistic. However, once I saw clips from the documentary about Atwood's book tour, and especially the ministers reading the Adam One sermons in church, and the choirs singing the Gardener's songs, I saw past the irony to the truth that Atwood was getting at. This undertaking was quite serious for her - and though there is humor and irony in the story (i.e. the sexual habits of the Crakers, the Painballers, etc.), it's possible to see this as a deadly serious work, and to see Adam One truly talking as the mouthpiece of the author - presenting quite straightforwardly how she sees us, our relationship to the planet, and to the flesh and the spirit.
The performances were quite good, and I did enjoy the Adam One sermons - the music provided a nice backdrop to my walks to work through the city.
I enjoyed this as a companion piece to Oryx and Crake
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