I admit that I don’t love everything that Margaret Atwood writes, but I really enjoyed Year of the Flood. This book is science fiction – Atwood doesn’t like to be piegon-holed into a certain genre – but science fiction is what this book is. Like many dystopic, science fiction books, this one is very bleak. Most of humanity has perished in the waterless flood (something that isn’t described with much detail, we only know it was devastating) and no national governments appear to be funtioning. The Corporations and their security force the CorpSeCorps are in full control and all science and technology are Corporation owned. Genetic manipulation runs rampant with even humans willingly taking part.
Despite the hopeless nature of the book, the real heart of the novel lies in the two main women characters, Ren and Toby, whose stories we follow throughout. Through their stories we feel love, loyalty, strength and hope despite the fact that they are portrayed as quite powerless to fix the state of the world. The strength of these characters, in my opinion, saves the novel from drowning in despair and the hatefulness of humanity.
The novel leaves us hanging at the end…who are the people coming with the torches? I guess I will have to read Maddadam, Atwood’s follow up to Year of the Flood, to find out. How exciting!