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From the Archives: Book 7: "The Year of the Flood" by Margaret Atwood

Book 7: "The Year of the Flood" by Margaret Atwood
Verdict: Read
     If you like books that make you think about the society you live in by giving you an alternate version, a.k.a dystopias, this is a must-read. Margaret Atwood, well known for her novel "The Handmaid's Tale", is a master at making the reader reevaluate the society they live in, by taking a look into what could happen in the future.
"The Year of the Flood" is a companion/sequel to "Oryx and Crake". Now, that being said, I loved this book and understood it; I have not read "Oryx and Crake" so I can't attest to how much I missed or didn't for this reason. But when I picked up the book and started reading, I had no idea it was a sequel, so I kept reading. There you have it.

     "The Year of the Flood" is set in the future of the United States, presumably, though no specific dates are given. The years in the novel are based on the life of the Gardeners, an environmental cult. In this future, the government system has collapsed and been replaced by corporations who have also hired private guns as the police force. The environment is quickly dying; species and natural plant life are going extinct at a rapid pace, forcing any meat protein to be processed for fast food restaurants, etc. Consumption is also at an all-time high, with almost no product being reused. This means that anywhere not "high class" is basically a dump yard.

     There are two main characters that the narrative switches between. Toby and Ren. So much happens to them that I cannot write here, but believe me when I tell you that their stories are so heart-wrenching and human that you fall in love with them over the course of the novel, I had trouble letting them go.

    Okay, so here's the negative. As opposed to "The Handmaid's Tale" this novel is not as subtle about its message, or rather messages. Atwood tries to tackle a little too much in the novel, though it does make one think. Because it was trying to cover so many problems of our society, the narrative can get slightly preachy. If you're wondering what topics it covers here's the list: consumption, capitalism, environmentalism, vegetarianism/vegan-ism, gender roles, materialism, religion, and the processing of foods; a lot to cover in one novel.

     Be that as it may, this novel is really good. It's well written and it makes you think. Atwood is a master at leaving the right topics vague so that the reader is forced to question. By being forced to question, the reader is forced to think about what Atwood has written, thereby achieving the main goal of any dystopia.

Read it. Enjoy.

~Side Note~
This book is Dystopic, a literary term. If you are unfamiliar with this term, the novel is in the same vein of work as "1984" by George Orwell, "A Clockwork Orange" by Anthony Burgess, and (of course) "A Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood


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