10 November 2009

Dyslit: The Year of the Flood

So yes yes yes- I've been gone about a million years. Apologies.

Aside from getting used to being back at work and not flitting around Wales clutching my first edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (yeah... that's right. FIRST EDITION), I have been slowly slowly savouring the new Margaret Atwood.

A few months ago I reviewed the amazing Oryx and Crake as part of our dyslit section. Cut to August this year and my discovery that Margaret has written a follow on of sorts - you can imagine my nerdy excitement. Same plague stricken earth with a wiped out population, this time with added religious cult!

The God's Gardeners are a spiritual following devoted to the melding of science and religion. They believe in the preservation of all animal life and have a complete aversion to any written records. Their leader, Adam One, is an enigmatic preacher... with something kind of shifty going on. Since I am only three quarters of the way through the book I'm not sure what exactly he is hiding but I am suspicious all the same. The story is told by two different women, Toby and Ren, both from the Gardeners. Toby survived the plague by locking herself in a day spa filled with edible 'organic treatments'. Ren, an exotic dancer, was in quarantine when the plague struck, having been bitten, luckily enough, by one of her over excited clients. At first the characters seem completely unconnected to the original cast of Oryx and Crake, then halfway through the appearance of a young man named Glen (later re-named Crake) almost made me fall off my chair in excitement. The way Margaret has connected this story to her earlier one, weaving tiny details into the background is nothing short of amazing. Even though I'm not finished yet, I don't think I am remiss in saying it is just as good as Oryx and Crake.

Oryx and Crake was the first Margaret Atwood book I read, and I remember thinking to myself over and over 'This is SO weird and amazing'. After almost reading her entire backlist, she still dazzles me with this new offering. And take a look at the author photo from the book jacket- how could you think this woman would produce anything short of brilliant madness?

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