Title: The Year of the Flood: A Novel
Author: Margaret Atwood
Release Date: September 22, 2009
First things first: if this book even looks remotely appealing to you, read Oryx and Crake first. The Year of the Flood is less of a follow-up to the post-viral-apocalypse than a parallel of the first book. You could read it independently, but there are a few references that would be lost on you had you not read Oryx and Crake first, and let’s face it, O&C was a better book.
The Year of the Flood follows two characters who used to be members of “God’s Gardeners,” showing them in their present and telling the story of how they reached their current state. God’s Gardeners preached of a waterless flood that would wipe out everything and the best way to prepare for this is to step away from most modern achievements such as pigoons — pig and human hybrids used for harvesting replacement transplant organs — or chickienobs, essentially edible chicken parts that are grown in plant form. Returning to nature and eating what you grow among rooftops and buildings in a city that is rapidly deteriorating.
In Oryx and Crake we saw the dissatisfaction Crake had with society and the direction it was taking. In The Year of The Flood, through flashbacks we get to see what he was concerned about. Criminals are sent to what best imitates a Roman Colosseum — if you get dropped off there and survive a certain amount of time, you get to go free, but completely changed for the worse (if you can imagine how bad you had to be to be sent there, and then worse) — and urban sprawl on a level hardly imaginable. We even get a glimpse of Glenn/Crake in this novel as well as Snowman, but they are merely references back to Oryx and Crake and don’t necessarly add much or move the story forward.
In fact this whole book doesn’t really move the story foward until the very end. I did enjoy getting to see the world as it was seen from the eyes of the less privileged, but I don’t know if it needed an entire book unto itself. I felt that rather than a flood, it was a stagnant pool. I hate to say that because as always Atwood’s writing is superb, but I wanted more, I suppose, than what I already knew. The end of this novel does resolve the cliff hanger we were left on at the end of Oryx and Crake, but still left us wondering, “What next…?”
The book is beautifully written with interesting visuals and intriguing characters; however, you can read the whole thing and feel like you’re in a middle chapter. I do hope that the next book comes out soon, because this was just interesting enough to have me wanting more, but just “meh” enough for the reasons I discussed that if it doesn’t come out soon I’ll likely forget about it until I run into the sequel years from now in the book store.
Rating: 3 / 5 Stars