2 May 2014

Yesterday, maybe tomorrow: A Review of MaddAddam, Margaret Atwood

The preschooler living in my house has two references for time, tomorrow and yesterday. Both signify all time in the past and future, including what we the 'grown-ups" in the house would use those terms to denote. We are in a constant time vortex at home, watching space fold as we talk about events or things to come. And so with this in mind, yesterday I finished the third of Atwood's rather dramatically intense, at times funny, mostly not, MaddAddam series. 

As you know, I rather like Margaret Atwood, to the point that by liking her I feel as if I have earned my patriotic Girl Guide badge for being as Canadian as Canadian possible.  Can Lit at university was far more entertaining than any other type of English 300 level course I had to take to round out my English degree. Did I just hear my father, 2000 kms away yell, "What English degree?" Granted I do not actually hold such a discipline, somehow my trek through the halls of wisdom resulted in my leaving with two separates bachelor degrees: geography and anthropology.  I took  the financially irresponsible, let's try it all approach, and leave eventually with degrees never designed to find secure employment. Okay, I use them occasionally, I am extremely knowledgeable in aquifers, moraines and oceanic currents with a surprising in-depth relationship with religious symbols.

Every time I pick up one of Margaret's books (can I call her Margaret, seems so imposing of me) I marvel how she comes up with all the crazy stuff she writes. Stuff is crazy in the MaddAddam series, and by crazy I refer to violently disturbingly descriptive scenes of the world imploding upon itself with the eventual rebuilding from the ruins that was humanity. Such drama peaks in The Year of the Flood that to this day and probably for the rest of my natural life will sit darkly in a corner of my brain to resurface at the most inopportune times forcing me to find some type of religious artifact to grab onto while reciting the Litany Against Fear

Ah, the dystopian novel, looking to haunt your dreams? Look no further than these gems of broken civilizations, global decimation with the healing touch of grass-roots redemption. For someone who refuses to watch Game of Thrones, it does not escape me the irony of my personal fandom of this sub-genre. Recent Sundays at our house, my husband sits on the edge of our bed struggling to describe that night's GOT episode using my requested G-rated guidelines. some nights he doesn't even attempt and quickly moves the subject to kittens with glittery names like Dazzle Princess and Love Love Love. 

Maybe it is my grounding in anthropological perspective, but there is nothing more fascinating then the adaptation of the Noah story, horrors and all. Should you read this series, is it Atwood at her best? Yes and no. The real question is, why haven't you read any Atwood and why are you still reading this post when you could be reading The Blind Assassin, Alias Grace (personal fave!), The Handmaid's Tale, or Oryx and Crake?


  1. I really want to read those books. In fact, Atwood is one of those authors forever on my TBR list, but never gets there. I will fix that.

    I feel you with GOT, though. My wife watches that, and I get the R-rated summaries. Messed up stuff in that show, man. But you're reading post-apocalyptic stuff, not fantasy, world of difference.

    Oo, maybe that's a thought...post-apocalyptic fiction is fantasy for sci-fi fans. They usually live in a world gone back to nature in some form, have weird monsters, and struggle for power. An idea is forming...

  2. Nigel, you have hit on a genius thought, time for you to explore! Read atwood for goodness sakes!

  3. I read Oryx and Crake quite some time ago...it took me a lot of getting used to the writing style, but when I got settled in I find it a really juicy story line!

    (and there's an adjective from a marine scientist who knows a bit about oceanic currents too! ;)


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