The Year of the Flood
The Year of the Flood, Margaret Atwood’s newest novel, takes place in the desolate future of her prior novel, Oryx and Crake. If you’ve read Oryx and Crake, you’ll remember some of these characters and you’ll of course remember the bleakness of the setting.
The novel focuses on Ren and Toby, two members of God’s Gardeners religious group. We see the characters in both flashbacks and in the present day – Ren as a 10 year old child and later as a “stripper” at Scales and Tails and Toby as Eve Six of the Gardeners and as a shut-in at the Anoo Yoo Spa.
Ren and Toby are both struggling to survive in a world that has encountered a “waterless flood.” There are a limited number of survivors, most of whom were in the future version of prison/reality TV, and unusual animal splices like liobambs (lion/lamb) and rakunks (skunk/raccoon) graze the earth.
The Year of the Flood is a creative masterpiece – sometimes I wonder how Atwood can sleep at night if this is the future she envisions. Atwood brings this scary future to your fingertips and we route for Ren and Toby’s survival and pray that the Gardeners will find each other once again. I recommend reading this novel in conjunction with Oryx and Crake – the links between the two would be fun to compare.