The Year of the Flood is a novel by Margaret Atwood, released on September 22, 2009 in the United States, and September 7, 2009, in the United Kingdom. The novel has been mentioned in numerous newspaper review articles looking forward to notable fiction of 2009. The book focuses on a group called God’s Gardeners, a small community of survivors of the same environmental catastrophe depicted in Atwood’s earlier novel Oryx and Crake. The earlier novel contained several brief references to the group. It answers some of the questions of Oryx and Crake and reveals the identity of the three real human figures that appear at the end of the earlier book.
Here Atwood has brilliantly re-told her own tale, through other mouths and focusing on different details, showing us how the kids Jimmy and Glenn become the Snowman and Crake, and how an end or the End can happen in the name of a new beginning.
The Waterless Flood has long been predicted by God’s Gardeners, a back-to-nature cult founded by Adam One. Its members live simply and organically, sing terrible hymns, have no dress sense and peddle a bolted-together theology, difficult to think about if you think at all. With values diametrically opposed to those of the ruling CorpSEcorps, the Gardeners aren’t “the answer,” but at least they’ve asked enough questions to avoid a life of endless shopping and face-lifts.
The Gardeners sometimes do evangelical work in the mean streets, known as the pleeblands, or picket a fast-food joint like Secret Burgers because it’s wrong to eat anything with a face. At Secret¬ Burgers they rescue a young woman named Toby from the murderous clutches of her sex-crazed boss, Blanco the Bloat, and it’s Toby who is one of the central characters in the post-plague part of the story. As a Gardener, Toby rises to the position of Eve Six, in charge of bees, herbs and potions, but Blanco never stops pursuing her, and to save herself, and the group, she receives a new identity in the health spa AnooYoo. Recovering from plastic surgery, she avoids the deadly wipeout germ of the plague.
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