REVIEWS & PRESS

Booklist Online

“Atwood’s mischievous, suspenseful, and sagacious dystopian novel follows the trajectory of current environmental debacles to a shattering possible conclusion with passionate concern and arch humor.”  

— Donna Seaman,
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Jamie Byng’s Letter to Amazon — Publisher and Managing Director of Canongate Books

“Another of my favourite non-Canongate books of the year which I would urge everyone to read when it is published is Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood (October, Bloomsbury).  It is neither prequel nor sequel to Oryx and Crake but exists in a parallel time frame and the two novels converge in their final scenes.  Atwood is a genius and this book contains multitudes.

— Jamie Byng

Bookseller 5 Star — June 5, 2009

Eagerly awaited new novel from the Booker Prize-winning author whose backlist includes The Handmaid’s Tale, Cat’s Eye, Alias Grace and The Blind Assassin.  Set during the same future period as Oryx and Crake, and featuring some of the same characters, this is set in a future world obliterated by the Waterless Flood.  Survivors include Adam One, the kindly leader of God’s Gardeners – a religion devoted to the preservation of all species- young Ren, who is locked into a high-end sex club, and former Gardener Toby, who is barricaded into a spa.

Publisher’s Weekly — July 20, 2009

This is a gutsy and expansive novel, rich with ideas and conceits, but overall it’s more optimistic than Oryx and Crake. Its characters have a compassion and energy lacking in Jimmy, the wounded and floating lothario at the previous novel’s center.

Each novel can be enjoyed independently of the other, but what’s perhaps most impressive is the degree of connection between them. Together, they form halves of a single epic. Characters intersect. Plots overlap. Even the tiniest details tessellate into an intricate whole. In the final pages, we catch up with Jimmy once more, as he waits to encounter the strangers. This time around, Atwood commits herself to a dramatic and hopeful denouement that’s in keeping with this novel’s spirit of redemption.

— Marcel Theroux

The Times — August 15th, 2009

“Certainly The Year of the Flood- which is as pacy as a thriller … is laced with [Atwood’s] dry wit, her gift for names and wordplay, and her savage, credible invention.”

— Erica Wagner

Vogue — September 2009

“Margaret Atwood has an uncanny knack for writing about prescient subjects … [she] carefully constructs a dystopian world, bookmarked by 14 Blakeian hymns, that’s just a few steps removed from our own.”

— Aimée Farrell

Elle Magazine — September 2009

“Margaret Atwood has outdone — and outsung — herself this time. The Year of the Flood is at once a solemn praise song to human hope and a dead-serious poke at our capacity for self-destruction. The novel shows the Nobel Prize-worthy Margaret Atwood at the pinnacle of her prodigious creative powers.”

Telegraph.co.uk

“Atwood … brings colourful humanity, formidable intelligence, and also some sly satirical humour to this vision … Behind the novel is fierce environmental concern, as well as a subtler inquiry into what it is that makes us human.”

— Sinclair McKay
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London Review of Books

“Atwood has another kind of religion up her sleeve, and it is perhaps the most stimulating new feature of The Year of the Flood … co-operative egalitarianism and a serene acceptance of the frailties of human nature … The Year of the Flood gives us the view from below – always, as we well know, the most reliable vantage point from which to gauge and map a society.”

— Fredric Jameson
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Edinburgh Festival Guide
The Year of the Flood is not [the] sequel [to Oryx and Crake], but … ‘the meanwhile’. Toby and Ren are altogether more human creations, and ones with whom one wants to spend time … Such humanity is at the centre of The Year of the Flood.”

— Griselda Murray Brown
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Toronto Life

“Atwood’s future is dark … present-day economic and technological developments pushed to their most extreme conclusions. [The Year of the Flood] is also one of Atwood’s funniest books, deriving much of its sinister whimsy from the merging of religion and science.”

Telegraph.co.uk

“Above all, Margaret Atwood is genuinely inventive, rather than merely clever … a writer of metaphysical wit who can always twist our preconceptions. Atwood’s richly fertile imagination plays to exuberant and often comic effect … [but] her quirky and satirical wit does not limit or define her. The threats and horrors are real and gripping because they are rooted in human characters.”

— Caroline Moore
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The Canadian Press

“Neither a sequel nor a prequel, The Year of the Flood weaves a narrative that is a bit of a back story, a concurrent tale and a denouement of sorts … Marked by [Atwood’s] signature satiric wit … The Year of the Flood answers the nagging question readers were left to ponder after finishing the final page of [Oryx and Crake]: What came next?”

— Sheryl Ubelacker

The New York Times – September 15, 2009

“By focusing on her characters and their perilous journeys through a nightmare world, [Atwood] has succeeded in writing a gripping and visceral book that showcases [her] pure storytelling talents with … energy, inventiveness and narrative panache.”

— Michiko Kakutani
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The Globe and Mail

“What distinguishes [Atwood’s] imagined world is that it looks over the brink of our shared present and is marked by knowledge that we try to ignore. From the first page, we are in the grip of a storyteller who drives us on to fresh understanding and- amazingly- fresh enjoyment … This is a work of fearless imagination.”

— Gillian Beer

NPR

“Atwood orchestrates her narratives into a heart-pounding, mysterious and surprisingly touching finale. She enchants us so convincingly that after her spell is over, the ‘real’ world seems temporarily transformed. The Year of the Flood is both a warning and a gift.”

— Jane Ciabattari
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The Toronto Star – September 13, 2009

“With Oryx and Crake, Atwood left her readers in the middle of a very dark night. The Year of the Flood moves forward to the dawn, a tentative but unmistakable flicker on the horizon.”

— Geoff Pevere
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New Scientist – September 19, 2009

“Wherever you file The Year of the Flood – science fiction, satire, speculative fiction, dystopia, allegory (frankly, it scarcely matters) – careful reading leaves you feeling you could easily wake up in this world, a revisiting of [Atwood’s] earlier Oryx and Crake from a bottom-up, female viewpoint.”

— Liz Else
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The New York Times – September 20, 2009

“Part of Atwood’s mastery as a writer is to use herself as a creative computer, modeling possible futures projected from the available data – in human terms, where we are now … We don’t know how we will evolve, or if we will evolve at all. The Year of the Flood isn’t prophecy, but it is eerily possible.”

— Jeanette Winterson
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San Antonio Express

“As usual, Atwood’s wit, wordplay, [and] understatement … create much humor – mordant and dark, but humor nevertheless … [The Year of the Flood] is a work that amuses, engages, informs, enlightens and, remarkably, also challenges its readers to be better persons.”

— Coleen Grissom
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The San Francisco Examiner – September 23, 2009

“[The Year of the Flood] emerges as a novel that is both gripping and scary, provocative and quite humorous … Atwood may foresee a bleak future for Earth, but in her hands, the endgame is oddly enjoyable … The masterful Canadian writer is emerging as literature’s queen of the apocalypse.”

— Henry C. Jackson

The Washington Post – September 24, 2009

“In Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood … we recognize some of the more repugnant aspects of our own 21st-century society … a heart-pounding thriller … set in an already devastated world … Canada’s greatest living novelist undoubtedly knows how to tell a gripping story.”

— Michael Dirda
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Miami Herald – September 27, 2009

“[The Year of the Flood] brings together all Atwood’s themes and concerns, as well as her joy of wordplay … Atwood is a prism. What we bring to her writing reflects back in distorted form … Like so many of her earlier works, [The Year of the Flood] is too recognizable to be filed under science fiction, too horrifying to be called satire, too incandescent to be overlooked.”

— Betsy Willeford

The San Francisco Chronicle – September 27, 2009

The Year of the Flood serves as an old-fashioned alarm … a zombie thriller and a series of swashbuckling pokes at modern institutions … Memorable characters, a tightly controlled pace and shockingly plausible scenes make it fly – to a mysterious, skin-prickling ending. If Atwood also inspires ways to prevent such a gruesomely likely future, we’ll owe her far more than literary admiration.”

— Joan Frank
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People Magazine – September 28, 2009

“As dark as Atwood’s vision may be, the bonds among her women give her work a bittersweet power.”

— Michelle Green
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The Daily Iowan – September 30, 2009

“In The Year of the Flood, [Atwood’s] view of society’s future has matured from a fortune teller’s lullaby to a prophet’s vision. The frightening aspect of this book is its basis in reality, and its beauty shines in its depiction of the unusual connection between two lost souls.”

— Ben Evans
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USA TODAY – September 30, 2009

“Atwood just tells a good story, one filled with suspense and even levity … Ren and Toby’s fight for survival in the face of fantastic odds is gripping … [The Year of the Flood] is indeed disturbing in a time when dwindling natural resources, endangered species, genetic experimentation and global warming are anything but fictional.”

— Susan Kelly
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American Chronicle – October 7th, 2009

“Despite the darkness, I did not want The Year of the Flood to end. Part parable, part science fiction, part speculative fiction, part literary tale, part cautionary myth, The Year of the Flood is Atwood at her most dark and her most incredible.”

— Jamieson Villeneuve

The Boston Phoenix – October 20, 2009

“Atwood proves adept at turning her magnifying glass to pop culture and spinning her insights into a futurescape that is both chilling and plausible. … Writers have scrubbed plenty of grim post-apocalyptic wastelands across our eyeballs. Far rarer is the story that keeps grinning all the way through Armageddon.”

— Shaula Clark
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The Walrus – November 2009

“Toby and Ren [are] the twin chambers of the novel’s beating heart, two women who are so fully imagined and wonderfully distinct … The novel’s greatest strength is the quiet picture it offers of their fraught but tender relationship … Their shared incomprehension becomes a moving reminder of the beautiful, true, and imperfect ways in which we come to know one another as human beings.”

— Jared Bland
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The New York Review of Books

“[The Year of the Flood’s] action is engrossing and suspenseful … The women’s flight, their isolation and joyful reunions, and the ghastly experiences that they have along the way … As we move closer to having the societies [Atwood] envisions in such minute and horrific detail … hers are messages we can all wish to be heard.”

— Diane Johnson

The Baltimore Sun

“While [The Handmaid’s Tale] was a quiet scream, [The Year of the Flood] is a long, loud bellow, warning against the arrogance and greed of mankind. … Atwood writes women as people, not victims. Terrible things happen to and around her characters, and instead of making them pitiful, it makes them strong.”

— Nancy Johnston
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Entertainment Weekly

“A welcome blend of satire, character study, and gripping suspense. … Atwood grounds her story in the bedrock of good storytelling: our shared, if endangered, humanity.”

— Thom Geier
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The Denver Post

“[The Year of the Flood] is all of the things one expects from Atwood ‐‐‐ thoughtful, thought-provoking, arguable, unexpectedly funny and utterly original.”

— Robin Vidimos
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The Buffalo News

“A heady, sometimes captivating, fantasy. But beneath it all are very real issues—not only pestilence but global warming, genetic engineering, dwindling resources, endangered species and an erosion of compassion and respect for mankind.”

— Karen Brady

The Independent

“Thought-provoking, beautifully constructed … Written in Atwood’s customary elegant prose, and with her customary generous helpings of dry, sarcastic wit, it’s both a moral fable and a futuristic thriller.”
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Santa Fe Reporter

Read Julia Goldberg’s interview with Margaret Atwood on The Year of the Flood. “A gripping meditation on human nature.”
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Times Online – The Times Literary Supplement

The Year of the Flood seems less a prediction than an observation; less ‘timely’ than simply matter-of-fact … [It] ushers us into the apocalypse of the present, the disaster which has already occurred.”

— M. John Harrison

Big Issue in the North

The Year of the Flood is perhaps more ominous in that it steps back to the time just prior to the pandemic, bringing in minor characters from [Oryx and Crake] who we see struggling to cope in a society where humanity and compassion are sucking in their final gasps amidst choking scientific advancement.”

— Lianne Steinberg

O Magazine

“Atwood renders this civilization and these two lives within it with tenderness and insight, a healthy dread, and a guarded humor.”

— Pam Houston
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