The Year Of The Flood by Margaret Atwood
I had to read this on the strength of the excellent Oryx & Crake, but it was crushingly disappointing. In this prequel, Atwood makes us wait 25 years for the event the title of the book promises. While doing so, she manages to make the apocalypse tedious. When the waterless flood finally does come, she steps back from the commitment that she demonstrated in Oryx & Crake. In Oryx & Crake it seemed like a long time had passed since the actual event, and so Atwood was saying something concrete when Jimmy seemed to be the only human around. But The Year Of The Flood surrounds Jimmy’s experience and gives it a context that lessens its impact.
If she hadn’t set our standards so high with Oryx & Crake, this read would have been worth it for the stunningly dreadful and destined future that Atwood creates.
Adam One, the kindly leader of the God’s Gardeners – a religion devoted to the melding of science, religion, and nature – has long predicted a disaster. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women remain: Ren, a young dancer locked away in a high-end sex club, and Toby, a former God’s Gardener, who barricades herself inside a luxurious spa. Have others survived? Ren’s bio-artist friend Amanda? Zeb, her eco-fighter stepfather? Her onetime lover, Jimmy? Or the murderous Painballers? Not to mention the CorpSeCorps, the shadowy policing force of the ruling powers. As Adam One and his beleaguered followers regroup, Ren and Toby emerge into an altered world, where nothing – including the animal life – is predictable.