“It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.”
I read Oryx & Crake, the first book of Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy, a few years ago when I was in college. I borrowed the book from my campus library, and I devoured Atwood’s compelling story in days. Fast forward to summer 2014. I finally decide to pick up The Year of the Flood. I think it took me so long to read Atwood’s second installment because Oryx & Crake was such a dark, thought provoking book for me. The world that Atwood paints is realistic and directly relatable to a majority of the ills, issues, and attitudes of our modern society. It’s not a positive depiction of the future, and the story definitely mortified me because of how likely I could see Atwood’s world becoming a reality. While it mortified me, Oryx & Crake also captivated me, and these feelings were no different when I read The Year of the Flood.
Flood takes place around the same time as Oryx, but follows two different characters named Toby and Ren. The book alternates between the points of view of these two women. Their stories separate and intertwine with each other, as well as with characters seen in Oryx. Ren’s story is told in first person, while Toby’s story is told in third person, which I found to be an enjoyable way of differentiating their two stories and developing my ideas about their characterization. Toby is a logical, emotionally sturdy character, and I felt that Atwood’s use of third person contributed to her characterization as such. We get a glimpse into her thoughts, but we still feel like we are being held at arm’s length, which is what Toby does to many people. I found Ren to be naïve, ever optimistic, and (dare I say) shallow and self-centered. The use of first person helped fuel these opinions, since we the readers get to see Ren’s every thought and opinion first hand.
I don’t want to go into depth about the plot of the book, since I feel that I can’t do it justice. But I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed Flood. When I began reading this book, I didn’t remember many details of Oryx. However, with a little help from Wikipedia I was able to fill in the blanks as I progressed through Flood. I love how the two stories are related and intertwined, creating a comprehensive world in which we the readers become immersed. Even though I already knew, generally, what was ultimately going to happen, I remained interested in the story the whole way through. It was so interesting to read a different point of view and experience within the MaddAddam world, and I feel that my understanding of and emotional investment in Atwood’s world and characters has fully developed. I’m all in and I can’t wait to read MaddAddam in the near future.
PS Here is an interview with Margaret Atwood where she discusses the HBO series adaptation of the MaddAddam trilogy! http://www.vulture.com/2014/08/margaret-atwood-maddaddam-paperback-chat.html
Wow! I can’t believe my last book review was all the way back in April! This is just disgraceful. Well, I’m back! With more original content, more consistency, and better organization. Woo hoo!
My reading has been spotty this summer- I only read three books! A lot of changes have been going on, and I just haven’t felt much like reading. However, I am slowly but surely getting back into the swing of things and creating a regular schedule for myself.
I am excited to restart this book blog journey with all of my old followers (thanks for the support!), and new buddies that I’m hoping to meet along the way.
“They’re out there.”