Saturday, December 19, 2009

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.


fairyhedgehog said...

I'll take this off my wish list now!

I loved some of Atwood's earlier books, Cat's Eye and Lady Oracle being two of my favourites. Oryx and Crake was not in the same league. It seems like she really isn't much use at science fiction.

moonrat said...

So many bells ringing for me here... I LOVED Blind Assassin, and was SO disappointed by Oryx and Crake, which felt cheap, thin, and exploitative, all at the same time. I didn't really like Handmaid's Tale, either, and wrote it off to my personal dislike for dystopian fictions (which it might actually be). But thanks for the review... it's confirmation that this Atwood project is not for me, as I have suspected.

Kristin Dodge said...

Agreed about Blind Assassin and Surfacing... I became hooked. Now, I think she is aiming for edgy and "timely" (save the planet). And I am even more convinced she will keep writing about these characters... thus losing thousands of die-hard readers.

Michelle said...

Hi, will you remove the image that is hotlinked to my site? You can right-click, save it and upload it via Blogger. Thanks!

JES said...

Michelle: I think one of the other admins must have removed it; I couldn't find any references to your site in this post. Sorry on behalf of The Book Book for the inconvenience!