I’ve being trying to write an introduction to this review for about twenty minutes, so if you don’t mind ladies and gentlemen, I’m just going to pop the synopsis here and then come back to tell you all how AMAZING I thought this book was. Make yourself at home, grab a cup of tea tea and a biscuit or whatever beverage and snack pairing you prefer and prepare your brains for book review content.
I don’t know what I meant by the last part.
The waterless flood – a man-made plague – has ended the world. But two young women have survived: Ren, a young dancer trapped where she worked, in an upmarket sex club (the cleanest dirty girls in town); and Toby, who watches and waits from her rooftop garden. Is anyone else out there?
Firstly, I would like to talk about the structure of this novel. It’s written from two points of view (Ren and Toby) and I love how their lives are intertwined, so you see the external and internal perceptions of each character. Also, it’s mostly in chronological order, which means you see the two women grow and also the content in the book is constantly changing. It’s not just about the flood, there’s twenty years worth of content before that and the protagonist’s situation changes at the perfect pace. It doesn’t feel like something reeking with cheap spoilers so that you buy more into the franchise, no, the turn of events is realistic and you feel as if you move with the characters – emotionally. Now and again Atwood flashes forward to Year Twenty Five ‘The Year of the Flood’ which creates a sense of foreboding. Until, we actually reach Year Twenty Five towards the end of the novel, no more flash forwards, thrilling survival, but still laced with Atwood’s ability to create very real circumstances and accurate human emotions.
The characters are incredible. I honestly admire how Atwood juggles so many that skillfully. Because this book is about two women’s lives, there’s many friends, family, enemies etc and they’re all amazingly crafted. I honestly feel like I know a lot about the lives of all the characters, not just Ren and Toby. There’s a plethora of amazing characters in this book and they’re all honestly really interesting and I would love to read a book about each of them. I became really attached to the people encased in this novel, even the evil ones and shed plenty of tears throughout.
This novel is insanely creative. It’s this very realistic, raw portrayal of these two women, enveloped beneath this crazy almost apocalyptic setting encompassing these fascinating groups of society that have formed as the times and species changed at a rapid rate, and the social compact begins to wear as thin as the environmental stability*. Although, even though the book is fictional, you can tell it is very much a social commentary on society today.
It sounds like a really rubbish way of putting it, but this book has so many layers, like an onion or an ogre (Shrek reference ayy) but not like an ogre, like an onion, let’s keep things simple. Anyway, you can scrape this onion, or you can chop it up into 1mm wide pieces and use it in a big stew of dystopian horror. There are so many directions Atwood could have gone with this book, so much more to explore, it honestly does feel like a completely different world and I’ve only been shown the ‘tip of the ice berg’ or half the onion in this case.
But that’s not even a problem, because The Year of the Flood is part of a trilogy. I actually read the middle book (unaware it was part of a series) but I will most definitely be buying the first and last book. I’m so glad she wrote more about this world she’s created and the characters she’s honestly brought to life.
I hope you enjoyed this mediocre review. I find it really difficult to talk about books that I love, because as cliché as it sounds, words can often not actually describe how much I love them.
It’s just really good, take my word for it.
Thank you so much for reading,
* that part was stolen from goodreads, you can tell because it makes sense.