TITLE: THE YEAR OF THE FLOOD
AUTHOR: MARGARET ATWOOD
Details: connected to "Oryx and Crake"
This is a futuristic story describing the years leading up to and weeks following the "Waterless Flood" which all but destroyed humanity, as experienced by two women, Toby and Ren.
Following the Waterless Flood, a very fast and deadly pandemic, Toby, a God's Gardener, finds herself alone inside a luxurious spa while Ren, a young trapeze dancer, is locked away in a high-end sexclub. As far as the two women are concerned they may each well be the only human being left alive, and during the weeks following the disaster they each reflect back on their lives.
Through the memories of the two women we learn about the state of the world they live in, where violence and greed are the ruling forces and no one is safe from the corporations that now control the world. Animal cloning is common place and as century old species quickly disappear from the earth, their places are taken be creatures created by man.
Both Ren and Toby end up with a group called "God's Gardeners", a religious sect dedicated to preserving as much of nature as they can through denying modern foods and technologies all the time preparing for the "Waterless Flood" which they know is coming and they hope to survive through seclusion and their natural way of living.
Both women leave the Gardeners some time before the Flood and find themselves alone when disaster strikes. When the two women meet up again they set out from the relative safety of the spa, looking for others who may have survived, into a world that is now forever changed.
This was a scary story because it's all to easy to see how a disaster like this could occur if we keep on experimenting with people, diseases and animals as we do. On the other hand, the stories the two women tell are told in such a detached voice that I found it hard to really connect with either of them or to truly feel the horror of the story. I also felt the story didn't really end; it could still go in a lot of directions after the final full stop on the last page.
However, this book is connected to another Atwood book called "Oryx and Crane" which I haven't read, and it is possible that the ending of this story would be clearer if I had read that book, or that another book on this same subject is still to come.
I say one thing for this book though; it gives you lots to think about and does make you wonder whether a lot of what we consider progress isn't in fact leading us to our ultimate destruction?