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
I bought and enjoyed oryx and crake, and am generally a fan of Atwood, and dystopic/post-apocalyptic fiction is by far my favorite genre, but i was seriously disappointed with The Year of The Flood. It was slow as hell, and even a top quality narration could not rescue it for me--although it is why i was able to listen through to the end. Only buy this one if you are a truly die-hard Atwood fan and will read anything she has written regardless of quality or if you were so utterly enthralled by everything about Oryx and Crake that any trip back to that world would be worthwhile for you. There is less of a story here than there is a meandering struggle alongside a handful of characters--and what little story there was is unresolved at the end.
Very well-written and engaging narrative; I enjoyed the characters and the storyline. I would encourage readers/listeners to check out Oryx and Crake, Atwood's previous outing with these characters, first; Atwood has said that this is not the sequel to that novel, but rather takes place along a parallel timeline. This is true, but I still think it's best to read Oryx and Crake first.
This novel really made me think about the state of our current social and environmental problems. Atwood is a bit scary in her prescience, actually.
As a side note, I loved the publisher's choice to include performances of the hymns in the text version. They were spot-on.
Say something about yourself!
Two sequels have done the on/off on/off on/off dance on my device this week, neither one was able to hold my interest, and this is one of them (the other is Queen of Bedlam). I tried and tried, re-read the great reviews, remembered my fondness for Atwood. What am I doing wrong?! Listening to this was like watching i c e b e r g ... r a c e s with bad music. At the halfway point, I began mentally deteriorating. Not that it isn't inventive, and as usual for Atwood, beautifully written, but I found myself uncharacteristically yelling at my ipod..."Okay!! I get it! Move on already...and for the love of God don't sing." This worried my family, so I had to quit.
I'm being completely unfair, Atwood is a brilliant writer I admire very much. I was almost giddy looking forward to reading this sequel. (I reserve the right to come back and write a glowing review when I pass the finish point.) But, up to the heavier side of halfway, I felt the story added nothing to Oryx and Crake, and felt like Atwood was belaboring her point. I'm not ragging on TYOTF -- or discouraging any of you from picking up this sequel to Oryx & Crake--quite the opposite. I hope to read many more reviews before I decide to either try again, or bail out completely.
Say something about yourself!
One of the few times I would say the audio book is better than the printed page. It's true . . . the "cheesy" music fits the parodical lyrics perfectly. I wanted to read it again immediately, but was afraid I would never leave M.A.'s world. As well-done as Handmaid's Tale or her other masterpieces - and the parody/irony/humor is so dry you'll need moisturizer when you are forced to stop listening and participate in real life.
This book was a wonderful surprise! I had read Oryx and Krake multiple times and was left wanting me after the ending. This book is not a sequel, but rather covers the same period of time but from the point of views of different characters in a totally different situation. I didn't know that when I picked it up, and when I realized that is what it was, I was thrilled. It is not necessary to have read O&K to enjoy this one, nor is it necessary to read one before the other. I don't think I have ever ran into this kind of story-telling, and it was a very satisfying experience. Like O&K, there are some racy (raunchy) parts and language I could have done without, but the dystopian story captured my imagination.
Atwood's strengths are her mesmerizing use of language, metaphor, and imagery. She is one of the greatest word people of our generation. Usually, her characters have amazing and interesting psychological depth that you can immerse yourself into. Her stories, while engaging, are secondary to her style. "Oryx and Crake", and "Handmaid's Tale", are examples of her best work. "Year of the Flood," is not. The plot wrapped up many of the loose ends in O&C, but Atwood's poetic artistry was missing from her writing style. O&C was literature; YotF was a plot, and not a great one at that. There was some poetry in the songs, but the campfire/folk music style was more annoying than enriching. If you are an Atwood fan, you should probably read it, so that you can say that you did. If you haven't read her, try one of her other books before judging her.
I listened to this book and Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite authors. I also administer an Atwood Group on Shelfari. However, it took me over 30 chapters (into the second part) before I could make heads or tails. As someone else said, it is worth it eventually. I could probably go back and read it again and it would be more meaningful and less confusing. In the audio version, there is singing throughout (about every 10 chapters. I discovered that it comes at the end of a chapter, so you can move ahead and skip it. I kind of got used to it in the end and didn't even bother turning it off. I really do think if I listened to it again that it would hold up because the characters are all worth listening to. I would use Levenger's advice in the Little Guide to a Well Read Life and read along on my iPhone Kindle application.
I loved Oryx and Crake. This book is to O&C like Ender's Shadow is to Ender's Game.
It's the same story from another point of view.
Instead of telling the story from within the corporation compounds, it is told from the point of view of the plebe lands and concentrates around the God's Gardeners group.
I found it easier to identify with Jimmy in O&C, as I am a word person in a tetchy world, a bit worried about where this world is going. The extreme nature of the God's Gardeners green cult is harder to identify with.
I love nostalgia and meeting the characters from O&C again was allot of fun. I did think Atwood laid the references to O&C a little too thick. We meet just about every character we knew, event's from Oryx and Crake are alluded to in very high detail. For example if in O&C Jimmy tells how a girl caught him reading her diary, then in The Year of the Flood you meet this girl and she describes the event down to how many times she underlined different words in the message she wrote him.
I may be too sensitive to this because I made sure to reread O&C before starting the Year of the Flood. But this is the main reason I'm deducting one star from my rating for this book.
I really enjoyed The Year of the Flood, it was allot of fun to revisit the O&C world. The only thing wrong with it is that like many sequels it doesn't match the brilliance of the original.
Atwood's dystopian post apocalyptic efforts like The Handmaid's Tale and Onyx and Crake are quite wonderful and memorable. This one falls short of those masterpieces.
The rather somber feel remains but this story seems aimless and ill conceived or formed.
I won't quit on Atwood yet but I can't really encourage anyone to start with this one as a good intro to her work.
Let's start with the singing... It is controversial, and and I am squarely on the fence. By the time I got to the end of the book, I started warming it up to it. But I am not convinced that it really add that much to the book.
The story itself was very engaging and occasionally funny. It makes me think about the kind of things we are doing to the environment. But like the characters in the book, there is a tension between us humans and our fellow creatures. May be the 'right thing to do' is to apologize and thank the animals before we eat them.
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