Saturday, December 19, 2009

64. THE YEAR OF THE FLOOD - Margaret Atwood

About a third of the way into this book, I thought, "Have I read this?" and flipped it over. "Praise for Oryx and Crake" the back copy exclaimed. I almost stopped reading.

I read Oryx and Crake before I began this blog, but if I had to rate it, I would have given it a 2.25 out of 5.0 Stupidity DNAs.

Atwood, whom I have adored in the past, makes me believe we may be having relationship problems now.

At the end of Oryx/Crake (spoilers), Jimmy the Snowman is left in a tree, the DNA-manipulated perfect species of blue-penis-waving men and big busted women singing happily along the ocean.

The Flood tells how Jimmy got there, though through the eyes of God's Gardeners, a nature-cult that would make PETA look like a Burger King. Living off of organic food grown in their roof gardens, they listen to Adam One and sing a lot of hymns. Personally, the hymns were annoying additions, but a couple held humorous references (like Saint Dian Fossey - who died while studying the silver-backed gorillas). Adam One tells the Gardeners of the Waterless Flood that will cleanse the earth.

However, it is Toby and Ren who are the leaders in this book. Toby had once eaten meat and worked at "A Noo Yoo" spa, while Ren was a stripper/sex servant at a local security-approved brothel. At once point, Toby is Ren's teacher, but it is the very weak connections to Crake and Jimmy that link this book to Atwood's "prequel."

Does the waterless flood occur? Yes, you know this if you read the first book. By the way Atwood ended this novel, we are not finished with her fiendish obsession with the future yet. Expect a sequel in a few years, and people will buy it because it is Margaret Atwood. Not this girl. Some of my favorite authors have fallen in love with their characters to the point where the plot or narrative becomes unbelievable and annoying. While Atwood wants to show the world a unique perspective on where we may exist with DNA testing, gene splicing, and government rule (in this case, being privatized), I wonder if she considers the waste of trees being used to distribute her messages.

1.75 out of 5.0 Gorilla Farts.


Stefania said...

I haven't read anything by Margaret Atwood, but I want to in the future. Maybe I won't start from Oryx/Crake or this one you reviewed here. Plus, it's science fiction, isn'it? I usually don't like sci-fi, unless it's some masterpiece of utopia/distopia like 1984. What are the books by Atwood you said you adored?

Kristin Dodge said...

"The Handmaid's Tale" is a must-read for any woman, with a strange dystopian slant. I liked "The Blind Assassin," though others disagreed. I think I liked "The Edible Woman," but I may be mistaking it with "Surfacing." Her more recent work is sci-fi/dystopian, but she seems to "steal" from herself from book to book. Ultimately, that's why I stopped reading John Irving - reading the same description (throwing snails off the dock into the ocean... in three separate novels!).

Maggie May said...

i loved the Handmaiden's Tale and have only read one other of her's which was soso. this is a hysterical review@!

Maggie May said...

oh it was Surfacing! i still have the copy. i liked it.

msprimadonna67 said...

The Handmaid's Tale is one of my all-time favorite books, so I was ecstatic when her book Oryx and Crake came out. More dystopia from Atwood? Bring it on! But no, this one was not even in the same league, and I was sorely disappointed. I was not even remotely tempted to take up its sequel, because I simply didn't care about those characters the first time around. Now, if she'd do a follow-up to Handmaid' that's another story!

Kristin Dodge said...

Yep, it was "Surfacing" - thanks for reminding me to recheck, Maggie May!

A sequel to Handmaid's Tale... that's a fascinating thought!

Stefania said...

Thanks for the suggestions! I think I'll start from "The Handmaid's Tale". :-)