The Year of the Flood

Margaret Atwood

The Year of the Flood
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The Year of the Flood

Margaret Atwood

Adam One is the leader of the God’s Gardeners, a religious group devoted to living under the command of the natural world. They wear beige cloth-sacks, cultivate mushrooms, harvest honey and curse each other by shouting: Pig-Eater! Their community is only tolerated by the CorpSeCorps, the ruling power, because they are not perceived as threatening. But, this is a world where gene-splicing is the norm; where lions and lambs have become Liobams and pigs have human DNA. The times, and species, are changing at a rapid rate, and with loyalites as thin as environmental stability, the future is a dangerous place. And, if the Waterless Flood does indeed arrive, as predicted by the Gardeners, will there even be a future to contemplate?

Ren is a trapeze dancer at Scales and Tails, and can work a plank just as well. After a rip in her biofilm she is placed in solitary confinement until they can guarantee she is without disease. Her story is one part of our gateway into this uniquely constructed world. The other is Toby, an ex-counter-girl at SecretBurger (‘Because we all love a Secret’), a natural cynic and source of extensive homeopathic knowledge; she knows her aminatas from her puffballs.

Their stories weave beneath the holy teachings and saintly-songs of Adam One to create a truly apocalyptic vision, a world that harnesses Atwood’s wit, dystopic imagination and sharp insight. The result is a collective blast of a novel and one that will remain with you until the Waterless Flood comes.


Margaret Atwood’s latest offering, The Year of the Flood follows on from 2003’s Oryx and Crake and sees Atwood continue to explore the threat mankind poses to the environment. Blending elements of fantasy and science fiction, The Year of the Flood can be read on two levels: firstly, as a gripping page-turner and secondly, as an ambitious meta-narrative which presents a frightening vision of what technological advancements and consumerism may play on the earth’s future wellbeing.

The novel spans 25 years and follows the trials of Ren and Toby, two young girls who seek refuge in the sect known as God’s Gardeners. The Gardeners are a religious-based movement who worship Mother Earth and rally against wider society’s mistreatment of animals and dependence on genetically modified creations. The Gardener’s idealistic lifestyle is left devastated once the ‘waterless flood’ strikes, which for most readers should serve as a timely reminder about the all-too-real implications of climate change.

Margaret Atwood has never been short of big ideas in her novels and The Year of the Flood is very much a thinking person’s blockbuster.

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