Two women have avoided it: the young trapeze-dancer, Ren, locked into the high-end sex club; and former SecretBurgers meat-slinger turned Gardener, Toby, barricaded into a luxurious spa. Have others survived? And what are the odds for the human race?
By turn's dark, tender, violent, thoughtful, and uneasily hilarious, The Year of the Flood is Atwood at her most effective.
©2009 O.W. Toad. All rights reserved. Margaret Atwood has asserted her right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.; (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.
"Atwood's mischievous, suspenseful, and sagacious dystopian novel follows the trajectory of current environmental debacles to a shattering possible conclusion with passionate concern and arch humor." (Booklist)
"Another stimulating dystopia from this always-provocative author, whose complex, deeply involving characters inhabit a bizarre yet frighteningly believable future." (Kirkus Reviews)
I was both curious and dubious about this book after reading the reviews. I do like Margaret Atwood, and had read and loved Oryx and Crake. But the negative reviews meant I didn't buy it immediately.
Part of what changed my mind was the striking division in customer reviews: female readers loved it, male readers hated it. So I thought I'd find out for myself...
The production decision to arrange and perform the hymns was COMPLETELY wrong - bad idea, bad arrangements, bad performances! Fortunately, my audio-book reader meant I could listen to them at x2 speed, with the added bonus of making them sound like they were underwater!
Aside from that, I loved the book and the reading. Atwood has always been great at problematising the relationships between religion, science and society, and this could be the real triumph of the book.
As for the characters, I found them believable, engaging and sympathetic. Perhaps (this is just a suggestion!) some male readers can't relate to the experience of most of the earth's women as sexual commodities.
I wondered whether it made a difference as to whether one had read Oryx and Crake, as this book is something akin to a sequel. It also works to balance out the masculine perspective of the earlier work. I'd be interested to read a "positive" review from someone who hasn't read Oryx and Crake - if there's any out there?!
Be forewarned about the awful hymns! They would be readable as straightforward text, but are unbearable as "sincere" performed works. Fortunately, they only come at the ends of chapters, so you can just skip forward to the next chapter if your tech has that capability. Otherwise, grit your teeth and set your ears to "satire" - there actually aren't as many of them as there seems!
Yup, it's up there with Oryx and Crake. I followed Toby and Ren with bated breath, those truly dreadful hymns notwithstanding. Nice how the God's Gardeners religion is cringeworthy yet ultimately effective. Loved Toby's arc. Could have done with more nuanced baddies, but hey, this is still top-quality stuff.
This is a great matching of text and narrator. The characters are fully developed and complex, evolving and deepening through the novel. This is character driven, so those expecting standard SF fare will be disappointed.
Tobi's strength of purpose is compelling, but the subtle characterisation of Ren is also a pleasure.
Lorelei King is one of my favourite readers, her voice slips over the text, so that you are barely aware that you are being read to
There has been lots of discussion about the hymns. I think this is part of the subtle humour of the text. Having been raised on "Hymns Ancient and Modern" I can truly say that this captures the banality of religious music beautifully.
Totally agree about the terrible hymns, however, if they're taken as sending up banal modern religious music you can at least see the point of them. I started off thinking they were very clever but lost my tolerance towards the end. I also found my mind wandering off during the latter sermons but they didn't last too long. I had read Oryx and Crake and hadn't loved it. I downloaded The Year of the Flood because I heard a good review and then couldn't bring myself to listen to it as I was on holiday and didn't want anything too heavy. I was pleasantly surprised though. The female characters are engaging and I was completely hooked on the story. If you have read Oryx and Crake you will notice the clever overlapping of plotlines but it's not a prerequisite to enjoyment. I found the ending left me with more questions than answers - perhaps I need to listen to it again.
Been reading Margaret Atwood novels over the last 20 years, starting with the Edible Woman. This is the first time I've tried her on audiobook, which is a very different experience. Completely agree about the dreadful hymns. Maybe that's the joke and they're meant to be excoriatingly painful. I listen in the car on my way to work and I had to turn down the volume at traffic lights just in case anyone thought I was a fan of dubious religious folk music. That apart, the book is good and Atwood still has the ability to shock and engage.
S A EDWARD
I've read Lots of moaning about the cheesy hymms but I'm guessing that kind of lack of tolerance is why Atwood finds so much subject matter within our species. I'm an atheist so hymms cheesy or not about imaginary gods are never going to be My thing but sometimes you just have to let yourself be imersed in what the author is trying to achieve, or dare I say even have some faith in her obvious genius in painting such an amazing pictures with her words.
This is a great follow up to Oryx & Crake but like most great books takes some mental effort to get into. Quite often find it takes a while to get used to the different voices used in the narration . Read this series years ago & now can't wait to listen to part 3....
I buy audio books because my eyesight is poor. What I want is someone to calmly read me a book. What I don't want are: special effects, incidental music, readers putting on silly voices.
But this production is the worst of the lot: no sooner have you settled down for a relaxed "read", than it bursts into song. Not any song, but an embarrassingly bad, kind of modern hymn. OK, skip forward and settle down again. There's another - and another!
It would have been nice if there was a warning in the description, then I wouldn't have bought it. The worst of it is, I can't even return it, as (like an idiot) I bought books 2 and 3 of the trilogy at the same time.
The second book of the trilogy concentrates on more than one character, and therefore the story feels a bit more scattered. I still, however, love how the tale is constructed, where bit by bit you see the puzzle coming together.
I don't necessarily liked the performance. Lorelai King is a wonderful narrator but the musical 'inserts' made me cringe.
Yes, the narration was excellent and the characterisation was very well done
Perhaps make it more engaging, I didn't feel any affinity for the characters and therefore didn't care that much about them
Yes although without the bloody singing
The singing was annoying and I delayed getting the book because of other reviewers opinions of it. I agree with them, I felt it unnecessary for the book.
I quite liked the premised of the post apocalypse world - how would people survive? What happens when the aspects of modern culture that we take for granted are suddenly not available? (power, communication, law and order). This is what I was kind of expecting for this book (and frankly it could be my fault for making assumptions......)but it really didn't deliver. It focused more on the happenings of the 'green' religlious cult. It was unabridged so it was always going to be long I guess - but well - too long for too little is my thought.
This is a personal thing, but I found the narrators voice tremendousoly patronising.
Finally, and mst irratating where the songs. Listening either in the car or out jogging and not wanting to loose my place I had to simply endure the hyms that had been made up to supplement the story. It seemed like about every ten minutes you'd hear the words....From the Adam Oral Hymnbook - let us sing. Then some folk dude with his guitar would berate us about the dying earth etc....
Not big not clever. Not entertainment.
"Strange and ponderous"
It's been a couple of years since I read Oryx and Crake and I think after listening to this one I need to go back and reread and see how they fit together. It's a strange book and it makes you think. The narrator does a fantastic job, and the inclusion of music (songs sung by the God's Gardeners cult) in the audio version was a nice touch.
"Margret Atwood at her best"
In my opinion this book " The Year of the Flood" returns Margret Atwood to the genius level she achive in " The Handmaidens Tale" in which she so closely foresaw some of the dangers of the Religious Right long before they became a reality. Here she pose so many Eco question and how they may be handled in an increasingly fratured sociaty. A sociaty we and the finacial crisse are fast building. Much food for thought.
On a pracial level, the destion to have the contents of the "Oral Hymnbook" done in song on the reading/recording adds an aditional level of enjoyment, Thanks to, whoever thought of that.
Great Book great recording.
The message for sustainability.
The correlation between today's societies obsession with looking young - botox, plastic surgery, fake body parts and those described in the story.
Her slow drawl is not what I prefer to listen to - I'd rather not, unless it is appropriate to the vernacular of the story.
"Poetic without pace"
This story was quite poetic and literary. I could appreciate the style of writing, with its many beautiful descriptive passages. I ENVY the writing style. The characters were tragically flawed in a brilliant way. But. It was just too painfully slow moving for me. I did not get through it all and dropped it three quarters of the way. By then, I just didn't care anymore if the world ended or not.
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