The Heart Goes Last – Margaret Atwood /// Fiction – Sci-Fi
YAY, YAY, YAY, A new Margaret Atwood novel! So this is another dystopian depiction, but much lighter in tone, as in half of the novel was Vegas kitsch, life-size sex dolls and Elvis and Marilyn Monroe impersonators. And really, what more can anyone want. The correct answer is nothing.
After an economic collapse, married couple Stan and Charmaine are living in their car surviving on tips from Charmaine’s bartending job. Like most people in this near future they are hungry and desperate for any answer to their problems.
Here is where the Positron Project comes into play. Working at the bar one night, Charmaine sees a commercial for Consilience, a place offering homes and stable jobs. Obviously, her and Stan jump at this opportunity. They take the next bus out and prepare to be vetted by the staff before they can sign their lifelong entrance contracts. When they enter they understand how the Positron Project survives. Every month the residents live and work in the town modeled after 1950s suburbia. On alternate months they head on over to live and work within the Positron prison facility.
Already signed up, they realize that agreement isn’t all that bad. The prison is alright and it’s still better than living on the street. Things go pretty South pretty fast when Charmaine starts an affair with one of her “alternates,” the man who lives in their home during the months they are in prison. Soon she and Stan are separated and individually discover what’s actually keeping the prison alive, as well as find their way back to one another.
This book was just plain fun. It was a thinker with some pretty awesome themes without being crazy heavy. There were a few moments where I veered the story was heading too far into the absurd, but then it grabbed me back in and never let go. This absurdist writing seeing how far boundaries can be pushed reminded me a lot of this and I loved that.
The only downside, is being familiar with other Atwood stories, this contained a lot of the same tropes. However, it was still just as magical. Instead of remaining in dread, the novel progresses into something so absurd I almost forgot that I was supposed to care how it ended, I was having to much fun getting there.
“How dare she show herself to be everything he was so annoyed with her for not being?”
“Powerful but insecure men don’t take well to rejection. Rage could result.”
Probably one day, this was a library book so I will definitely be on the hunt for a copy for my bookshelf.
Overall, this book is for anyone who doesn’t mind having a few boundaries pushed in the most absurd direction. In other words, it’s fantastic and everyone should read it.