Tuesday, April 13, 2010
The Year of the Flood
If you regularly read my blog then you know how much I loved Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (see my review). In fact, I listed it as one of my ten best of 2009. I was eager to read the second part of this Maddaddam trilogy, The Year of the Flood. I was expecting to love this book but surprise, surprise,...I didn't.
The book can very well stand on its own as it's not a sequel. It takes place at the same time as Oryx and Crake and actually runs parallel to the latter but this time focusing on a different cast of characters. Jimmy, Oryx and Crake are very minor players in this one and we soon realise that the stars of The Year of the Flood also had bit parts in Oryx and Crake. Although I completely forgot who they were. Both books are about a futuristic world where a global man-made virus leads to millions of deaths thus leaving very few people left in a devastated world.
The Year of the Flood tells the story of this global disaster in flashback form from the points of view of Toby and Ren, both members of the ecological and vegetarian cult, the Gardeners. In fact most of the book is set in the Gardeners world, where we learn about their customs and beliefs, their saint days, their hymns. I didn't find Toby and Ren to be particularly interesting characters and I found some of the habits of the Gardeners to be quite tiresome. Atwood also places several hymns in the book and while at first it was interesting it became tedious after a while. It also seemed a bit unbelievable that most of the people left on the planet knew each other at some point in their lives before the catastrophe. Everyone seems to be an ex-lover, ex-friend or ex-Gardener. This was too much of a coincidence even for a novel.
I'm so disappointed that I didn't like this book as much as the first though of course I will definitely look out for part three of the trilogy. I hope that it will all somehow tie together in the end or will it just be from the point of view of another cast of characters? I wonder. Don't get me wrong...Atwood is still a brilliant and amazing writer and her prose is completely engaging. This just isn't one of her best.