Review: The Year of the Flood – Margaret Atwood

Being back home for Christmas usually means I have plenty of time to read.  So far I’ve read two and a half books.  The latest book was the continuation of Margaret Atwood’s MaddAdam Trilogy, The Year of the Flood.  While this book struggled as well with pace it was more interesting than the first book, Oryx and Crake.

In The Year of the Flood Atwood follows the same timeline.  The novel begins when one of the main characters is a child and jumps back and forth to when she’s an adult.  What we see is the same world but from a different perspective: the God’s Gardeners.  The Gardeners are a cult who tie Christian theology with the environmental movement.  Imagine a Saint Jane Goodall or the doctrine of Aldo Leopold.  The Gardeners believe in evolution, but they believe all animals have souls and God established them to be companions to Man.  For the most part, the Gardeners are dismissed as harmless, but as time moves forward others take up the Gardener’s views.  The cult is a refuge for those who are sickened by the corporations.  Under the leadership of Adam One, the Gardeners have been pacifists, but a schism takes place and the more radical activists leave.  These people are the ones who Crake dupes into helping him.
Another interesting aspect of this novel is how minor characters from the first book become major characters in this book and vice versa.  It offers insights that readers won’t often find and is something I think about often in fiction.
The Year of the Flood ends around the same place as Oryx and Crake, but carries the action out another two beats.  We know what happens when Jimmy/Snowman comes into the clearing now, but we’re still left wondering what will happen next.  My guess is the third book will follow all of the characters as they move through the present, instead of spending so much time in flashbacks.  If you are unsure after reading the first novel, check this one out.  It’s better and more intriguing.

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