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
Not an easy listen for me. This futuristic tale that unravels very slowly through the dialogue of a couple main characters is hard to follow. It jumps from present to past and there are only a couple characters you get to know as they try to survive in the post-apocolytic world. It's basic survival in a world gone biologically wrong - but alas the Gardeners are prevailing (or granola's as they are called today). Bleak, lonely, desolate - no real character development and the only love expressed is by the woman, the men are all loveless. Adam One's sermonizing and following hymns become pedantic, what was the point? Where would she have us go from there?? It seemed very incomplete, underdeveloped. Not her best work.
If you are an atheist you will not enjoy this audiobook very much. I expected religious undertones but it's mostly religious. Also there is singing in it, which detracts from the book. It's a shame, really, because it could have been much better. I would have given it 3 stars if not for the singing parts. I become part of the story and when there is music or sining in the narration it pulls me out.
This book is a sequel to Oryx and Crake, and needs to be read as such - don't read it first. Atwood expands the world of that first book, giving us a glimpse of events just beyond the horizon of the original plot. The book is heavy on character, light on plotting, yet knowing the first book helps create suspense for the coming "flood." The interstitial songs recorded to live music started out being disruptive, but after time they add a lot of depth. The book lingers a bit too long, perhaps, on tangential topics, but on the whole creates a really vivid world. Read this book if you like dystopian settings, apocalyptic stories, and issues about what man's role in his world should really be.
I have read most of Atwood's books and always look forward to the next. While this was not my favorite of hers, I still recommend it highly. She always creates a fascinating world with believable and interesting characters.
Oryx and Crake ranks with Handmaid's Tale as one of the finest contemporary novels I've read. Year of the Flood is just a little below that, due to its heavy handed moral indignation. Don't misunderstand...I think that Atwood has a right to be indignant. And perhaps we need an unambiguous and strong message about now. However, as a novel the pedantic tone weakens the beauty of the telling.
I would have preferred a book that didn't share so much with Oryx and Crake. Why not build a parallel story with independent characters living through the same events? The links made the story seem a little too easy.
The music was an interesting touch in this audiobook. It did give the Adam 1 sections the feeling of a religious service. However, the music was inconsistent. While some of the songs were well-done, at least half are musical cliches. Also, the high production value was at odds with what God's Gardeners would have done. A simple guitar or piano arrangement with the congregation joining in would have been less at odds with Adam 1's words.
All that said, we all need to read the Year of the Flood and Oryx and Crake. We need to consider our future and the consequences of our lifestyles. Along with non-fiction like The Omnivores Dilemma and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, plus films like An Inconvenient Truth, these books create a picture of a future that is frightening and inhumane. God's Gardeners are making ethical choices as individuals. They are not relying on government and industry to make decisions for them. With all it's dogma the movement Atwood describes may give us a clue as to how the little people can impact the direction of our future. And it certainly defines a different kind of progress. One where human nature is the focus, rather than the comforts we create around us.
Year of the Flood is a wonderful crafted, multi-faceted story. I loved all the characters and the interweaving. Also the slight reference to Oryx and Crake (another novel). The book shows the deep thoughts and considerations that Margaret Atwood gives to her novels. Her timeliness is right on the money.
Having never read Atwood before, at first I thought this book was weird, slow, hated the music, and forced myself to keep listening because the subject intrigued me. I started to really get into it a third of the way through, even appreciating the sickenly sweet preachy music because it actually made sense with the Gardeners. Thought the ending was anticlimatic, but I'm looking forward to listening to her other books including the prequel to this one. I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys pondering the future of our world and is interested in the what-ifs.
I'm surprised that some reviewers didn't like the connection with Oryx and Crate and/or the music. I thought the flip of perspective fascinating and not at all heavy-handed. The music added a level of immediacy and realism to the religious world of the Gardeners that works. I found this a very satisfying companion piece to Oryx and Crate.
though i loved 'oryx and crake' i was a little hesitant about listening to 'the year of the flood' -- rather than reading it -- because of all the negative comments about the singing. now, a week after finishing this book, i find myself remembering the songs. i think they drew me deeper into the strange world of the god's gardeners. and the lyrics, by margaret atwood, of course, were clever and funny. i had to force myself not to finish 'the year of the flood' too quickly. i enjoyed it as much as i had 'oryx and crake.'
Report Inappropriate Content