The Year of the Flood

If you read my reviews regularly, you know that I didn’t love the first book, Oryx and Crake, in the MaddAddam trilogy by Margaret Atwood. But I kept going and just last night finished the second book, The Year of the Flood.

Unbelievably, the second book made me like the first one way more and I am excited to read the third book. In many books I read there is a lot of back story and you read along and keep up and then the moment happens. You know the one, right? That moment where everything you’ve been reading clicks together and you realize what a great story it is. I never had that moment in Oryx and Crake, and I think that’s because that book is part of the long read of back story to get to the moment. The clicking moment came for me in The Year of the Flood about a third of the way in and from then on I loved this story.

Atwood is telling the story of the world post massive pandemic, in which most humanity has died. The survivors are trying their best, and Atwood flashes between their current situations and their lives before the pandemic when the the two main characters lived with a counter culture movement that longed for the way the world was in an earlier time. The head of the counter culture movement talks about the moment in which the flood will come, often using imagery from the story of Noah and the Arc. Adam One, the leader, and his ideas are based loosely on Christianity, but also on environmental movements of today and the past, their saints are wide ranging and I find it fascinating.

I absolutely loved this mixing of things, the way in which we learned the philosophy of the Gardeners and how that time served both of the main characters after everything changes. It’s a great story. And makes me think a lot about where the world is heading, how we handle climate change, and if something like the world Atwood portrays could ever be reality.

Do we deserve this Love by which God maintains our Cosmos? Do we deserve it as a Species? We have taken the World given to us and carelessly destroyed its fabric and its Creatures. Other religions have taught that this World is to be rolled up like a scroll and burnt to nothingness, and that a new Heaven and a new Earth will then appear. But why would God give us another Earth when we have mistreated this one so badly? (p 424)

No, my Friends. It is not this Earth that is to be demolished: it is the Human Species. Perhaps God will create another, more compassionate race to take our place. (p 424)