Socialist Worker

The Year of the Flood - Margaret Atwood

by Matthew Cookson
Issue No. 2212

The Year of the Flood

The Year of the Flood

Booker prize winner Margaret Atwood’s latest novel is a companion piece to her 2003 book Oryx and Crake.

The new book is set in the same future world where corporations control everything.

The corporations have built exclusive compounds for their employees, while everyone else is forced to live outside in the poverty-stricken “pleeblands”.

Their arrogant belief that they could control nature and society has brought humanity crashing down, with the vast majority killed.

The Year of the Flood focuses on two women who have by chance survived this “waterless flood” – Ren and Toby.

They were members of God’s Gardeners, a group that wants to merge science and religion that has rejected the materialism and violence of society.

They were preparing for a natural disaster that would wipe out much of the human race.

Through flashbacks, the novel reveals Ren and Toby’s struggle to survive before and after the “flood”.

Atwood develops many of the characters we first came across in Oryx and Crake.

It also resolves the cliffhanger ending of the first novel, taking the story forward by around ten minutes. But it ends on a mystery all of its own.

The Year of the Flood is another confirmation of Atwood’s skills as a storyteller.

While this novel can be read separately, you will get more out of it if you have also read Oryx and Crake.

Paperback out now, £7.99

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Tue 27 Jul 2010, 17:54 BST
Issue No. 2212
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