Sunday, February 14, 2016
Book Review: The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
Author: Margaret Atwood
Enjoyment Rating: ***
Content Alert: sex, language
At a time in a dystopian near future, the Earth has fallen to ruin. Like many of their peers, Charmaine and Stan, who formerly had steady jobs (she had a college degree and worked in a nursing home), now live in their car, surviving on donuts, never knowing when their next shower will be. When they learn about Consilience, a utopian development, their desire for stability overrides any concern they might have about the place, even though part of the condition of living there is that they voluntarily surrender themselves to a prison every other month. Soon they find themselves involved in all sorts of entanglements (romantic and more nefarious), until they wonder if life on the inside is all it's cracked up to be.
Before I read The Heart Goes Last, I would have told you that I loved Atwood's realistic fiction (The Blind Assassin is one of my all-time favorite books), but was less a fan of her speculative fiction (yes, I appreciated The Handmaid's Tale, and I think it is one of the best book club/literature seminar books because it's so much fun to discuss, but it's not where I'd naturally gravitate). This book is dark, funny, and profoundly weird. It's also really memorable. While the experience reading it wasn't as enjoyable for me as some of Atwood's other novels, I'm still glad I read it, and would love the chance to talk with other people about Atwood's purposes for creating this story.