Picked this one up in the Ottawa airport so I’d have something to read on the plane. I know for sure I’ve read the first two books in the trilogy in the past (Oryx and Crake, and The Year of the Flood) but I couldn’t remember if I’d read this one yet. But it’s a pretty recent release, so I spent the cash and hoped it wouldn’t be a repeat.
I do love Margaret Atwood, and this book lived up to my expectations of her writing. I do also love a post-apocalyptic story, the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it followed by how-will-things-get-rearranged-afterward. Again, this book did not disappoint. Normally, I skip over the synopses of previous books when I’m reading a series; then again, normally I’m always reading the books in a series bang-bang-bang one after the other. (And you should see my blood pressure spike when I’m partway through and realise not all the books in the series are out yet; thanks a lot, George R. R. Martin. Yeah, I’m looking at you.) So I did read the synopses at the front and remembered how much I’d enjoyed the first couple of books.
The way Atwood uses fine detail, the way she can take the most ordinary little daily things and make them significant, always amazes me. In the middle of this huge and layered story, this complicated imaginary world, she can take a shoe, a barette, the way someone shaves, a twinge of jealousy, and make them as important as death and plague and intrigue. I’ve always loved this about her writing, and it makes it hard for me to put her books down. This book was no exception. “Just one more chapter” before bed, work, letting the dogs out.
This book is a keeper. It’ll go on my shelf with the first two and someday in the next few years I’ll get a craving for them and read them bang-bang-bang. It’s got love, bioterrorism, hybrid intelligent animals, genetically engineered humans, plagues and embezzlement and bees. I’m trying to remember if a kitchen sink was specifically mentioned. But the thing is, Atwood writes with such care and attention to detail. Every piece seems perfectly crafted, and fits together in the whole. Like a quilt where all those tiny pieces come together to make something more than the sum of its parts. I only wish it had been longer.