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The Year of the Flood
Cover of The Year of the Flood
The Year of the Flood
MaddAddam Trilogy, Book 2
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From the Booker Prize--winning author of Oryx and Crake, the first book in the MaddAddam Trilogy, and The Handmaid's Tale. Internationally acclaimed as ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR by, amongst...
From the Booker Prize--winning author of Oryx and Crake, the first book in the MaddAddam Trilogy, and The Handmaid's Tale. Internationally acclaimed as ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR by, amongst...
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Description-

  • From the Booker Prize--winning author of Oryx and Crake, the first book in the MaddAddam Trilogy, and The Handmaid's Tale. Internationally acclaimed as ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR by, amongst others, the Globe and Mail, the New York Times, the New Yorker, and the Village Voice

    In a world driven by shadowy, corrupt corporations and the uncontrolled development of new, gene-spliced life forms, a man-made pandemic occurs, obliterating human life. Two people find they have unexpectedly survived: Ren, a young dancer locked inside the high-end sex club Scales and Tails (the cleanest dirty girls in town), and Toby, solitary and determined, who has barricaded herself inside a luxurious spa, watching and waiting. The women have to decide on their next move -- they can't stay hidden forever. But is anyone else out there?



    From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

Awards-

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    T H E G A R D E NWho is it tends the Garden,
    The Garden oh so green?

    'Twas once the finest Garden
    That ever has been seen.

    And in it God's dear Creatures
    Did swim and fly and play;

    But then came greedy Spoilers,
    And killed them all away.

    And all the Trees that flourished
    And gave us wholesome fruit,

    By waves of sand are buried,
    Both leaf and branch and root.

    And all the shining Water
    Is turned to slime and mire,

    And all the feathered Birds so bright
    Have ceased their joyful choir.

    Oh Garden, oh my Garden,
    I'll mourn forevermore

    Until the Gardeners arise,
    And you to Life restore.

    From The God's Gardeners Oral Hymnbook


    1

    TOBY

    YEAR TWENTY- FIVE, THE YEAR OF THE FLOOD

    In the early morning Toby climbs up to the rooftop to watch the sunrise. She uses a mop handle for balance: the elevator stopped working some time ago and the back stairs are slick with damp, so if she slips and topples there won't be anyone to pick her up.

    As the first heat hits, mist rises from among the swath of trees between her and the derelict city. The air smells faintly of burning, a smell of caramel and tar and rancid barbecues, and the ashy but greasy smell of a garbage-dump fire after it's been raining. The abandoned towers in the distance are like the coral of an ancient reef -- bleached and colourless, devoid of life.

    There still is life, however. Birds chirp; sparrows, they must be. Their small voices are clear and sharp, nails on glass: there's no longer any sound of traffic to drown them out. Do they notice that quietness, the absence of motors? If so, are they happier? Toby has no idea. Unlike some of the other Gardeners -- the more wild-eyed or possibly overdosed ones -- she has never been under the illusion that she can converse with birds.

    The sun brightens in the east, reddening the blue-grey haze that marks the distant ocean. The vultures roosting on hydro poles fan out their wings to dry them, opening themselves like black umbrellas. One and then another lifts off on the thermals and spirals upwards. If they plummet suddenly, it means they've spotted carrion.

    Vultures are our friends
    , the Gardeners used to teach. They purify the earth. They are God's necessary dark Angels of bodily dissolution. Imagine how terrible it would be if there were no death!

    Do I still believe this? Toby wonders.

    Everything is different up close.

    The rooftop has some planters, their ornamentals running wild; it has a few fake-wood benches. It used to have a sun canopy for cocktail hour, but that's been blown away. Toby sits on one of the benches to survey the grounds. She lifts her binoculars, scanning from left to right. The driveway, with its lumirose borders, untidy now as frayed hair-brushes, their purple glow fading in the strengthening light. The western entrance, done in pink adobe-style solarskin, the snarl of tangled cars outside the gate.

    The flower beds, choked with sow thistle and burdock, enormous aqua kudzu moths fluttering above them. The fountains, their scallop-shell basins filled with stagnant rainwater. The parking lot with a pink golf cart and two pink AnooYoo Spa minivans, each with its winking-eye logo. There's a fourth minivan farther along the drive, crashed into a tree: there used to be an arm hanging out of the window, but it's gone now.

    The wide lawns have grown up, tall weeds. There are low irregular mounds beneath the milkweed and fleabane and sorrel, with here and there a swatch of fabric, a glint of bone. That's where the people fell, the...

About the Author-

  • Margaret Atwood is the author of more than forty volumes of poetry, children's literature, fiction, and non-fiction, but is best known for her novels, which include The Edible Woman (1969), The Handmaid's Tale (1985), The Robber Bride (1994), Alias Grace (1996), and The Blind Assassin, which won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000. A book of short stories called Stone Mattress: Nine Tales was published in 2014. Her novel, MaddAddam (2013), is the final volume in a three-book series that began with the Man-Booker prize-nominated Oryx and Crake (2003) and continued with The Year of the Flood (2009). The Tent (mini-fictions) and Moral Disorder (short fiction) both appeared in 2006. A volume of poetry, The Door, was published in 2007. In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination, a collection of non-fiction essays appeared in 2011. Her non-fiction book, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth was adapted for the screen in 2012. Ms. Atwood's work has been published in more than forty languages, including Farsi, Japanese, Turkish, Finnish, Korean, Icelandic and Estonian.
    Margaret Atwood lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.
    www.margaretatwood.ca



Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 20, 2009
    Signature

    Reviewed by
    Marcel Theroux
    In her 2002 speculative novel, Oryx and Crake
    , Margaret Atwood depicted a dystopic planet tumbling toward apocalypse. The world she envisaged was in the throes of catastrophic climate change, its wealthy inhabitants dwelling in sterile secure compounds, its poor ones in the dangerous “pleeblands” of decaying inner cities. Mass extinctions had taken place, while genetic experiments had populated the planet with strange new breeds of animal: liobams, Mo'Hairs, rakunks. At the end of the book, we left its central character, Jimmy, in the aftermath of a devastating man-made plague, as he wondered whether to befriend or attack a ragged band of strangers. The novel seemed complete, closing on a moment of suspense, as though Atwood was content simply to hint at the direction life would now take. In her profoundly imagined new book, The Year of the Flood
    , she revisits that same world and its catastrophe.
    Like Oryx and Crake
    , Year of the Flood
    begins just after the catastrophe and then tracks back in time over the corrupt and degenerate world that preceded it. But while the first novel focused on the privileged elite in the compounds and the morally bankrupt corporations, The Year of the Flood
    depicts more of the world of the pleebs, an edgy no-man's land inhabited by criminals, sex workers, dropouts and the few individuals who are trying to resist the grip of the corporations.
    The novel centers on the lives of Ren and Toby, female members of a fundamentalist sect of Christian environmentalists, the God's Gardeners. Led by the charismatic Adam One, whose sermons and eco-hymns punctuate the narrative, the God's Gardeners are preparing for life after the prophesied Waterless Flood. Atwood plays some of their religion for laughs: their hymns have a comically bouncing, churchy rhythm, and we learn that both Ren and Toby have been drawn toward the sect for nonreligious reasons. Yet the gentleness and benignity of the Gardeners is a source of hope as well as humor. As absurd as some of their beliefs appear, Atwood seems to be suggesting that they're a better option than the naked materialism of the corporations.
    This is a gutsy and expansive novel, rich with ideas and conceits, but overall it's more optimistic than Oryx and Crake
    . Its characters have a compassion and energy lacking in Jimmy, the wounded and floating lothario at the previous novel's center.
    Each novel can be enjoyed independently of the other, but what's perhaps most impressive is the degree of connection between them. Together, they form halves of a single epic. Characters intersect. Plots overlap. Even the tiniest details tessellate into an intricate whole. In the final pages, we catch up with Jimmy once more, as he waits to encounter the strangers. This time around, Atwood commits herself to a dramatic and hopeful denouement that's in keeping with this novel's spirit of redemption.
    Marcel Theroux's most recent novel,
    Far North, was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in June.

  • The New York Times

    "A gripping and visceral book that showcases Atwood's pure storytelling talents."

  • The Washington Post "A heart-pounding thriller."
  • The New York Times Book Review "Atwood is funny and clever. [She] knows how to show us ourselves, but the mirror she holds up to life does more than reflect. . . . The Year of the Flood isn't prophecy, but it is eerily possible."
  • The Gazette "A gripping read, revealing Atwood in her most masterful storytelling mode. . . . The book is a cracked mirror of the times we live in."

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    Knopf Canada
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