The Year of the Flood


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Adam One, the kindly leader of the God's Gardeners - a religion devoted to the melding of science and religion, the preservation of all species, the tending of the Earth, and the cultivation of bees and organic crops on flat rooftops - has long predicted the Waterless Flood. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women have avoided it: the young trapeze-dancer, Ren, locked into the high-end sex club, Scales and Tails; and former SecretBurgers meat-slinger turned Gardener, Toby, barricaded into the ...

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Aug 2, 2010

Up there with her best

In 'The Year of the Flood," Margaret Atwood revisits the world she built in Oryx and Crake. This time, however, we see the action through the point of view of two women with passing ties to the ridiculed 'God's Gardeners' group from the first novel. Ren and Toby, having survived the "waterless flood" by being barricaded within a sex-club and a spa, respectively, are two strong individuals who find themselves physically isolated and completely in the dark as to who else has survived. With no idea whether their friends and loved ones are alive, they must decide what course to take; stay hidden, alone, and safe, or venture out to see what can be salvaged of the world.
Far from being a novel of desperation, this narrative shift results in a much different tone from Oryx and Crake, with more hope, more tenderness, and more optimistic protagonists. There are still incredibly disturbing elements, but the novel stubbornly clings to the idea that even in the darkest hour after a catastrophe, some element of human kindness and ingenuity will remain intact.
I really enjoyed 'The Year of the Flood,' as I do most of Atwood's works; her narrative voice is rich and intelligent, and her characters are always well developed and believable.

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