Since I’ve started blogging and paying attention to the adult lit world I have heard a lot about Margaret Atwood. She’s mostly known for her feminist writing and disturbing dystopic features. And while this book feature some of this, it’ just so ….bizarre. I really had to do some research to see what others were saying to make sure I understood it. The book editor of the Washington Post called it a “silly mess”… and it kind of was this for me. I have no idea how to really review this, since I don’t have much to compare it to, but here goes.
In an economic collapse in the Northeast, married couple Stan and Charmaine have lost everything. They live in their car, fearful of looters and the next day to come. When they have the opportunity to be apart of an economic experiment that requires them to move into the town of Consilience , an idyllic 50’s style town where everyone is given housing and work.. The only catch is they have to alternate a month being prisoners inside Positron prison and a month being a citizen in Consilience, leaving their home for their Alternates.
As you may suspect all is not what it seems and Stan and Charmiane get involved in a bizarre plot that include sex robots, a house of Elvis impersonators and adultery. So much adultery. The thriller-esque plot they get involved in just didn’t make sense. I’m not sure if this novel is satire or something. I feel like if I didn’t know who wrote this I’d be like, this is kind of misogynstic but because it’s Atwood it’s maybe satire. It just seemed like all these strong capable women had this plan and then they leave it to a bumbling man as their linchpin.
Something I think should be taken into account is this wasn’t originally a novel. This story was originally serialized on the now defunct Byliner website in chunks, which may be why it feels so distorted.
The strongest part of this book for me was the world building of the Positron/Consilence project. It was just so unsettling how the citizens were so willing to be in jail for a month and not question the system. There is a lot of build up about what Positron is a cover up for and that build up is what kept me reading.
I do think I’ll go back and try more classic Atwood because I think this one was a little too weird for me.
I’m a lifelong reader who started blogging about YA books in 2011 but now I read in just about every genre! I love YA coming of age stories, compelling memoirs and genre bending SFF. You can find me talking all things romance at Romance and Sensibility.