Saturday, 4 October 2014

Books I've read: MaddAddam

Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam (2013) is the third book in the trilogy that began with Oryx and Crake (2013), followed by The Year of the Flood (2009). At the most basic level the novels tell the story of a dystopian world and the people that inhabit it.

What's the plot?

MaddAddam focuses on the story of Zeb and Toby, characters introduced in the second book. The world they currently live in is described as an apocalyptic wasteland where resources are scarce. They reunite with other survivors and set up camp with the Crakers in an attempt to rebuild civilisation. Initially Toby and Ren rescue a fellow survivor from the horrific game called Painball. The Painballers are described as a subhuman species who seek pleasure in through torture and rape. Many do not survive an altercation with the Painballers and those that do are severely traumatised.

The character of Zeb is introduced as a continuing love interest for Toby and is also the brother of Adam One. Throughout the novel we learn of the brothers upbringing which includes fleeing their Reverend father who is the head of the church of Petroleum.  

What did I think?

I haven't read a great deal of dystopian literature but Atwood's novel was gripping and ultimately very realistic. References to religion (through the church of Petroleum) in some respects are not very unlike the issues we have with religion today. This realism ensures the novel doesn't get to a point of being unable to follow the details of the individual communities or the overall story.
The characters have a great deal of depth and we root for their survival and relationships which, for me, turns a complex story into a page turner.

Is it worth a read?

I would definitely recommend this novel if you would like to dip your toe into this genre of literature. Each novel can be read in isolation because Atwood is very good at ensuring details of tribes are reinforced throughout the novel. However I would say that it is more beneficial to read the first two books in the trilogy to really invest in the story.

You can get a copy of the book here

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