NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!


Thursday, November 5, 2009


by Margaret Atwood

"After a plague decimates almost all of humanity, Ren, a trapeze dancer trapped in a swanky sex club Scales and Tails, and Toby, a religious zealot holed in an extravagant spa, each believe they're the only survivors and debate leaving their strongholds. Meanwhile, Adam One, leader of God's Gardeners, navigates his band of followers through the forever changed world." (From the CD container.)

There are aspects of this book that remind me a lot of The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Something, in this case it looks like a plague of some kind, wipes out most of the human population. When the belief is that most of the rest of the world is gone, the behaviour of people toward one another depends on which philosophy a person ultimately buys into: "We can all last a lot longer if we help each other" or "there's no one here to tell me I can't do whatever I want." Both amount to "only the strong survive", but have very different manners of expression. But whereas McCarthy vividly captures the overall bleak horror of a tragedy-altered earth, Atwood accentuates it with absurdity and individual personality. Both books offer disturbing pictures of the future if we continue on our self-absorbed, greed-fueled paths, but Atwood's leaves the reader with more hope. Until you think about it just a little bit longer.

I didn't realize until too late that this book is a sequel, so I will most likely revisit my thoughts regarding The Year of the Flood after I've read Oryx and Crake.

Related Post:

Oryx and Crake


Tasha said...

I am a McCarthy fan, so I might have to check this book out.

Jo-Jo said...

Great review Lezlie! Thanks for letting us know this is a sequel, because I really did not know this. I've been hoping to read Atwood soon so maybe I will start with Oryx and Crake.

Lezlie said...

Charley ~ McCarthy, as you know, is a horse of a different color and Atwood's writing is nothing like his. It was watching how the survivors interacted that reminded me of The Road. I'll be curious to see if you see the same thing if you read it!

Jo-Jo ~ I've been told that reading Oryx and Crake first is not necessary, but if I had known earlier I would have read them in order also. I'll be looking forward to your thoughts on them!


BooksPlease said...

I didn't know it was a sequel to Oryx and Crake either. I read that one some years ago and I'm looking forward to The Year of the Flood.

Lezlie said...

Books Please ~ I was able to follow most of what was going on, but I'm wondering if some things would have made more sense or had a different meaning to me with that background. I hope you like it when you get to it!


Andi said...

Cool! I actually think of The Road whenever I see this mentioned, so it's interesting that you mentioned it. I haven't read Atwood in a great while, but this might be the next one I tackle.

Lezlie said...

Andi ~ It was a weird connection when my brain made it, but once it did I couldn't let it go. I hope you're feeling better!


bermudaonion said...

I've had this book for a little while but haven't read it because my son told me I need to read Oryx and Crake first.

Lezlie said...

Bermuda Onion ~ The stories happen in tandem, so the jury appears to be out on which should be read first. One reviewer who had read them both twice said it doesn't matter at all, because your view of the "other" book will be enhanced regardless of which you choose first.


Anonymous said...

quite right, it isn't a sequel per se but it still exists in the same universe

I haven't read it yet..I missed her interview at Edinburgh which I was quite annoyed about.

Oryx and Crake was great (heh) and it looks like Year of the Flood is too...even though Atwood denies its science fiction which is silly

Lezlie said...

Damned Conjuror ~ I don't think they're the first words that come to mind when attempting to categorize it, but I don't think one could reasonably deny its science fiction elements. I wonder if she just shies away from the label simply because she doesn't want it pigeon-holed in a manner that might discourage people who have never read her work.


Terri B. said...

Sounds like something to add to my post-apocalyptic pile of reading. I "enjoyed" The Road.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I have not read Oryx and Crake, so that is why I passed on this book. However, someone mentioned that it was not necessary to read it first??

I loved your honest review, but I am still not sure this book is one that I would enjoy.

Teddy Rose said...

Thanks for your thoughts on this book. It is waiting in my stacks to read. I recently saw Margaret Atwood live. This book is not a sequel to Oryx and Crake. Both books take place in roughly the same time. There is one character in Oryx and Crake that is carried over to The Year of the Flood but not to continue his story. There are also some reference that are made that were in Oryx and Crake.

Even though it's not a sequel, I really think that you would enjoy Oryx and Crake. I sure did!

Meghan said...

I had someone else who had only read Year of the Flood say she didn't really understand some of it and hadn't realize there was another that shed light on it. I guess as long as you know that there is another, it prevents that frustration!

I hope you enjoy Oryx and Crake!

Lezlie said...

Terri ~ Isn't it funny how difficult it is to put into words how we felt about The Road? "Good" and "enjoyed" seem wrong or inadequate for some reason. It is one of my all time favorite books, but saying I "loved" it feels weird because of how devastated I felt by it when it was over.

Diane ~ No, it's not necessary to read Oryx and Crake first. I think both books need to be read to get the full picture. I can't speak to that yet, but I'll make sure to address it when I get to Oryx and Crake.

Teddy Rose ~ Sequel is definitely not the right word. I'm curious to see how the two stories fit together. I have O&C waiting for me at the library.

Meghan ~ Knowing there was another book *did* help me past any confusion. Once I read O&C I'll have to see if I still have questions, or if the two books together complete the picture.


joanna said...

I only just bought Oryx and Crake so who knows when I'll get to the sequel? :-) Unfortunately, the only thing I heard about the new book was negative - and this from a friend who is a huge Atwood fan and has read all her books. I'm curious now!

Lezlie said...

Joanna ~ I think the only Atwood I've read is The Handmaid's Tale. I enjoyed Flood, but if I had to choose between the two I would say I liked Handmaid's Tale more.


Ana S. said...

It's too bad you accidentally read them out of order, but it sounds like Year of the Flood was memorable regardless!

Lezlie said...

Nymeth ~ It was. It actually will be kind of fun to see how I feel about O&C with the background I have from this one.


Unknown said...

Lezlie -
I am so glad that I know now that this is a sequel. I hate reading stuff thats out of order.
Thanks :)

Lezlie said...

Shellie ~ Glad to help! I know there are a lot of us who prefer to read in order, so I thought it was an important thing to include.


Anna said...

I have this one, but I had no idea until a few weeks ago that it was a sequel of sorts. I think I'll read Oryx and Crake first. I expect the book to be disturbing, having read The Handmaid's Tale. Have you read that one? I highly recommend it.

Diary of an Eccentric

Lezlie said...

Anna ~ The Handmaid's Tale is one of the very few books I have read twice! :-) Even my husband thought it was really great.


Darlene said...

I have both of these books on my shelf and fully intend to delve into both in the New Year.

Lezlie said...

Hi, Dar! It's good to see you! I think you'll like these. I'll be on the lookout for your reviews. I have the audiobook of Oryx and Crake here now, but I have another one I have to finish up first.