26 November, 2011

The Year of the Flood

Title: The Year of the Flood
Author: Margaret Atwood
Genre: Fiction - Dystopian
Audience: Adult
Format: Own

From Goodreads: 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.

What I thought: Margaret Atwood is a dystopian dream! Her imaginings of the future world is scary and imaginable. In a world where many seem to care less and less about the environment around them, what they put into their bodies or the welfare of others, Atwood's Year of the Flood seems to be a possibility. I love Atwood's characters. Even her good guys are flawed, no one is perfect and all have their little imperfections. I always find it hard to swallow perfect characters.
I think one of the reasons Atwood manages dystopian so well is her ability to draw the here and now into her future world. Things are identifiable to reader. In this, many of the saints honoured by God's Gardeners are present in our world today or close past as ecological and environmental crusaders. People such as Dian Fossey (American zoologist), Euell Gibbons (American proponent of natural diets, Anil Agarwal(Indian journalist and environmentalist, Nganeko Minhinnick (New Zealand Maori rights activist),  Wen Bo (Chinese environmental activist) and Tim Flannery (Australian environmentalist and global warming activitst) are all given Sainthood status. (You can find a full list of The Year of the Flood saints here)
If I had one criticism of the book, it would be the ending. It just stopped. I don't expect all the ends to be tied up, but I did find the ending a bit abrupt and sudden.

Recommended for: those who like dystopian fiction - especially if they enjoyed Atwood's The Handmaids Tale.

Challenges:  100+ Challenge,  A-Z Challenge