Tuesday, 8 December 2015

The Heart Goes Last: A Novel by Margaret Atwood

The Heart Goes Last
A Novel
by Margaret Atwood

Hardcover, 320 pages
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

This almost seemed like two books to me. The dystopian project that Stan and Charmaine join - for better or for worse, and the frenetic farcical ejaculation thereof.

I have to admit I wished the book would slow down and enjoy the ride, or maybe I just wanted to get away from normal life and stay in the made up world.

What we know for sure, from any and all stories we have read - one cannot leave well enough alone. We have to try the door that we are not allowed to open, the box, the envelope, whatever. It is in our nature to break free and ultimately fuck up the quietude.

And as much as I protest that Margaret Atwood's novels hold the reader at an emotional arm's length, I felt a little closer this time. A little.

Interesting read.

From the Back Flap

Imagining a world where citizens take turns as prisoners and jailers, the prophetic Margaret Atwood delivers a hilarious yet harrowing tale about liberty, power, and the irrepressibility of the human appetite.
     Several years after the world's brutal economic collapse, Stan and Charmaine, a married couple struggling to stay afloat, hear about the Positron Project in the town of Consilience, an experiment in cooperative living that appears to be the answer to their problems - to living in their car, to the lousy jobs, to the vandalism and the gangs, to their piled-up debt. There's just one drawback: once inside Consilience, you don't get out. After weighing their limited options, Stan and Charmaine sign up, and soon they find themselves involved in the town's strategy for economic stability: a pervasive prison system, whereby each citizen lives a double life, as a prisoner one month, and a guard or town functionary the next. At first, Stan and Charmaine enjoy their newfound prosperity. But when Charmaine becomes romantically involved with the man who shares her civilian house, her actions set off an unexpected chain of events that leave Stan running for his life. Brilliant, dark, and provocative, The Heart Goes Last is a compelling futuristic vision that will drive readers to the edge of their seats.

About the Author

Margaret Atwood, whose work has been published in thirty-five countries, is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. In addition to The Handmaid’s Tale, her novels include Cat’s Eye, short-listed for the 1989 Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; Oryx and Crake, short-listed for the 2003 Man Booker Prize; The Year of the Flood; and her most recent, MaddAddam. She is the recipient of the Los Angeles Times Innovator’s Award, and lives in Toronto with the writer Graeme Gibson.