Friday, December 11, 2009

The Year of the Flood

I recently finished Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood: A Novel. I liked it. It's her follow up to Oryx and Crake, her earlier novel of the genesis and effects of a human-created pandemic. I guess you could call it a sequel, but it's not quite that. It's more of a companion novel. It covers the same time period, many of the same events, with some of the same characters, but deals with it all from several different perspectives. For one thing, the main characters in this one are female, whereas Oryx and Crake had more male voices.

What I remember liking about Oryx and Crake (although "like" is probably a strange word for it) is that it dealt with a recognizable present, a reasonable near-future, and a catastrophe of a sort that seems... uncomfortably plausible. It just all felt possible. That would suck, except that Atwood manages to infuse all the horror with humor as well.

This new book does the same, although perhaps with more emphasis on the day to day survival challenges facing her female characters. In some ways, that's starker than the time spent with the guys in the earlier book.

I did find it a little convenient that so many of the people the main characters know before "the flood" happen to be around through it and beyond. It allows closure and resolution to some relationships, but it also makes the world seem awfully small, like it revolves around this particular handful of people just bit too much...

But I digress. I'm not here to review. I'm here to recommend. The bottom line is that Atwood brings her usual fine writing into play here. The fact that she does it in firmly sf territory is wonderful.

I wonder if she would turn up for the Hugos or Nebulas if she was nominated?

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2 Comments:

Blogger paranoyd said...

But she doesn't write Science Fiction, so why should she show up for a science fiction award?

/snark

I've heard good things about Oryx and Crake (I think we have it here in the house), and it's on my (ever lengthening) reading list. Along with another book you may have heard of, something about some Other Places, or Lands ...

1:01 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

I respect your snark. Part of me still hopes she'd surprise us, though...

1:09 PM  

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