The Year of the Flood


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The Year of the Flood

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Redigerat: maj 4, 2009, 7:54 am

I just finished reading an arc of Atwood's forthcoming novel. Apologies in advance if this, because it is posted months ahead of publication, is a bit of a tease. I have tried not to include any major spoilers.

The Year of the Flood, forthcoming September '09.

It is year twenty-five, the year the waterless flood, a global pandemic, has swept across the earth. God’s Gardeners, a religious group who have dedicated themselves to the preservation of Earth’s plant and animal life, have long predicted it and have honed their survival skills for decades. Two women have survived the flood: Ren, a young trapeze dancer at Scales & Tails, a high end sex club, is locked in a comfortable isolation room at the club, and Toby, the manager of a luxurious spa, is barricaded there, and subsisting on some small food stocks and the edible spa treatments. Both women have lengthy past ties to God’s Gardeners. What will survival entail in a world which has become a strange, savage, and decaying place practically overnight?

Atwood has created a inventive and riveting parallel story to that of Oryx, Crake and Jimmy, set in the same dystopian future in roughly the same time frame, except this story is set in the Pleeblands --- the rough urban areas outside of the secure corporate compounds we became familiar with in Oryx and Crake. The book is divided into thirteen chapters, each named after a holiday observed by God’s Gardeners (i.e. Saint Dian in Dian Fossey) and each with a short homily by the leader, Adam One, and an appropriate hymn for the occasion. In subchapters, the reader alternates between Ren and Tory’s survival in the present day, and the back story of their lives and that of God’s Gardeners. No two stories set in the same time and place can be entirely detached from one another, and so this parallel story is not always, truly parallel and this and her previous novel slip back and forth across each other, but the “how” of this is best left to your own discovery. Atwood has created a mesmerizing story, filled with social commentary and a sharp gallows humor, yet also compassionate, thought-provoking, and ultimately hopeful.

*While one probably doesn't have to have read Oryx & Crake before reading this new one, I think it certainly would enhance the reading of it.

maj 4, 2009, 7:59 am

Ahh, I didn't know her new book was going to be sci fi! That's great! Her sci fi novels are my favourites, and Oryx and Crake is one of the best books I've read. I'm really looking forward to this one.

maj 4, 2009, 7:02 pm

Year of the Flood sounds great. I was a bit disappointed with Moral Disorder. Bring on September.

maj 4, 2009, 7:39 pm

thank you so much for this review/preview..i have been an inveterate fan of Margaret Atwood since 1969...yes, i am old....she could write a grocery list and i would read it....;-p...that's why i joined this group..though i have not posted until now...and how did you luck into an ARC avaland ????

maj 15, 2009, 10:20 am

>4 jdthloue: well, I'm a former bookseller who still has friends... (and I still do nice things for the bookstore)

I've loaned the book to marise so perhaps she will post her comments here also.

aug 2, 2009, 7:06 pm

I read somewhere this weekend ( maybe The Globe and Mail) that this book will be the second of a trilogy.

aug 3, 2009, 9:26 am

>6 torontoc: Really, how exciting!

sep 15, 2009, 12:54 pm

Favorable review of The Year of the Flood by Michiko Kakutani in today's New York Times.

Redigerat: sep 15, 2009, 1:36 pm

Thanks! Would you like to add this to the published review section on the work page? I won't read the review yet, will wait until I've finished reading the book.

{I didn't notice you'd added the link to the review in your message above so have deleted it here}

Redigerat: sep 15, 2009, 7:14 pm

I walked into the college library today, and on the new book rack was a book entitled Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth by --guess who? Margaret Atwood. I picked it up in disbelief, and it is by our MA. Ashamedly, I did not check it out -- I'm buried at the moment in student papers and other books I "must" read, but a quick review of Google on "Margaret Atwood and debt" reveals a rather astonishing number of articles she has written on the subject, and being shortlisted for a Canadian business book award:

Has anyone read this one???

sep 15, 2009, 7:38 pm

Yes- it is very good. Atwood gave a number of lectures based on the chapters as part of the Massey Lectures on CBC Radio. It may be available as a pod cast -but you would have to check.

sep 16, 2009, 8:00 am


jlelliott beat me to it. Thanks, though - I hadn't thought of that.

sep 17, 2009, 9:27 pm

>10 janeajones: I have it, it's just buried in the TBR pile. I did read a bit of the beginning though.

Redigerat: dec 4, 2012, 2:07 am

Reviving this old thread ..... I needed an audiobook, so off to the library website, and what came up as available but Year of the Flood. So I've been listening to it today while going about my business and I'm LOVING it (I think I'm on chapter 11).

I have a question for those who read the book in traditional paper form (or even on an e-reader): How are the songs that Adam 1 introduces presented in print? eg: "Oh let us sing, "Let Me Not Be Proud." I'm rather blown away that in this audiobook version, a whole song is actually played and sung. I feel like I'm a church youth group meeting--guitar strumming, background singers, etc. Very evangelical.

I've preferred Atwood's non-dystopian books over Oryx and Crake and the Handmaids Tale, although I liked those too. But this is shaping up to be really fabulous.

dec 7, 2012, 11:02 pm

>14 Nickelini: Will check...(that is so cool that it is sung...but I'm glad I read the paper...)

dec 8, 2012, 1:00 pm

In another group, LT friend Nohrt4me shared a link to a cd of the songs. You can hear snippets.

Redigerat: feb 4, 2014, 1:48 pm

Det här meddelandet har tagits bort av dess författare.

Redigerat: apr 18, 2015, 4:06 am

Thought I'd see if this thread revives. I'm currently reading The Year of the Flood for the third time as the trilogy is one of my favorites.
Is anyone else struck by Glen's (Crake's) relationship with the God's Gardeners? I wonder whether their brand of apocalyptic teaching influenced Glen's (Crake's) later behaviour?

jul 27, 2015, 11:42 pm

>18 KarenFrank: what am I missing, several people have said they loved this book in this thread. What did you like about it?

This is my first Atwood book, and perhaps not a good one to start.

>14 Nickelini: I am listening to the audiobook, and the professionally produced songs are impressive. I too wonder about the print book and how the hymns are presented, just as text?

Is Atwood making fun of Christianity and religions?

jul 28, 2015, 10:33 am

I don't know about "making fun of." I think she's commenting on the role of religion and its uses.

sep 8, 2015, 6:27 am

>18 KarenFrank: I've been out of touch with this group for a long time due to life events. Did you know that HBO is producing a series of the trilogy? Atwood is a consulting producer on the project. Should be interesting, don't you think?

I'm looking forward to her new near-future, dystopian novel, The Heart Goes Last, due out later this month.

sep 8, 2015, 8:58 am

I heard it's going to be directed by Darren Aronofsky. Seems like a good choice of director for the material.

sep 9, 2015, 6:24 am

>22 bostonbibliophile: yes, I think so.