Angela W. (Bronx, NY)
“The Year of the Flood” offers a parallel view of the future world depicted in “Oryx and Crake”, but from a decidedly female perspective. We meet the two main characters – Ren and Toby - each living in isolation after most of humanity has been wiped out from what they call the ‘Waterless Flood’. Switching between past and present to show how the world is and how it got that way, the back stories illustrate that the women are not perfect, but that they possess traits that many of the characters in “Oryx and Crake” lack: They are resilient and realistic and human.
JD (NY librarian)
Margaret Atwood describes a chilling future where science and corporations have run amok. I found her description of this world rich and her main characters well developed. It was both an intellectually stimulating book and an enjoyable read. I would have given it five stars except that I felt certain aspects of the plot were too contrived.
La Deana R. (Norman, OK)
The Year of the Flood
I started The Year of the Flood with high expectations, a little too high. While I will say it is certainly a very unique book I personally found it hard to like the characters. I did enjoy Ms Atwood's ability to create fictional "blended" animals and there were times I had to look words up just to verify that some things mentioned did not, in fact, exist is this world. The futuristic world was well described - though not one I would ever wish to occupy!
Ms. Atwood has a beautiful way with words and lots of little "gems" of wisdom within the book. (example: Hunger is a powerful reorganizer of the conscience. Another is "hunger is the best sauce". Possibly my favorite "What am I living for and what am I dying for are the same question". But for me it was a struggle for me to finish this book (looking at some of my popular suspense novels sitting on my shelf didn't help!) I would only recommend this book to very a select readership.
Zoe B. (Naperville, IL)
Margaret Atwood is so in tune with scientific and environmental issues she manages to write futuristic books that could be reality tomorrow. Expanding on her world created in "Oryx and Crake', she tells a parallel story of the people left in the outside world after the "waterless flood". Rather than conveying a sense of hopelessness and despair in this distopia, her characters are interesting, hopeful and even amusing at times. Atwood is an amazing author.
Carol H. (East Greenwich, RI)
"We're using up the earth. It's almost gone."
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel of an alternate reality set in the not so distant future. Its steadily building narrative reads like a chronicle as it slowly reveals the story of the Gardeners, a quasi-religious group that has decided that living "green" is the answer to a disintegrating society. What makes this novel come alive are the distinct personalities of the Gardeners and Atwoods detailed depiction of a society in the process of destroying itself from within.
Year of the Flood reads like the middle book of a trilogy (I haven't read Oryx and Crake which came before) but holds up on its own. I don't think it will appeal to everyone, too little overt action, but I gave it four stars for an absorbing story well told.
Ann C. (Roswell, GA)
The Year of the Flood
Margaret Atwood's new novel The Year of the Flood is a gripping, chilling, and uncomfortably believable account of a post-apocalyptic world where humankind has engineered its own demise as well as the destruction of the natural environment. It appears that only two humans survive, both female : Ren , a young sex club worker and trapeze artist, and Toby, a God's Gardner - a member of a religious group devoted to preserving the environment.
This book is set in the same dystopian future as Atwood's Oryx and Crake and there are several characters who appear in both books. The quest undertaken by Toby and Ren to see if others have survived the disaster reminded me of the harrowing journey in Cornac McCarthy's The Road. Gene-spliced life forms may seem futuristic to the current reader, but Atwood's use of scientific detail and vividly descriptive prose give the story an immediacy that makes it ultimately believable. And frightening. And, even humorous in some places. I will definitely recommend this book to my friends and to my book club
Joanne G. (Kennesaw, GA)
A Newbie's Review
I jumped at the chance to preview a book by an author of Margaret Atwood's stature. The Year of the Flood is my first Atwood reading and I'm new to the futuristic genre. It takes a while to get into the flow of the time periods, but narration by Toby and Ren is an effective style to develop the characters and the plot. By the end of the novel, I began to care more about them.
Atwood's scene descriptions are vividly picturesque and coupled with the The God's Gardeners Oral Hymnbook have great cinematic possibilities. I found the futuristic vocabulary more trite than humorous and didn't feel my mind had been expanded into future shock. My conclusion: Ms Atwood lives up to my expectations as a writer but I'd like a more intriguing plot.