Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The year of the flood and other books

April's reading group book was The year of the flood by Margaret Atwood. I rather enjoyed it, although I was helped by the OH, who had already read it and hadn't liked it much, and who then discovered that it's a sort of sequel to Oryx and Crake. So I read that first, and I think it made a lot more sense because I'd done that. Both books are about a future event (apocalyptic?) that wipes out most of the earth's population, and how some of the survivors deal with it, but also what happened to bring about the event in the first place. The two books run almost in parallel, and show different perspectives on the same thing. I think I would have got very confused if I hadn't read Oryx and Crake first, and some members of my reading group clearly did get very confused (there is one lady who, I'm sure, has read a completely different book to me every single month, because she never knows which characters I'm talking about, and what she's talking about never seems to have much to do with the book...)

OK, so neither book is the world's most cheerful, but they are thought-provoking and readable, almost in the unputdownable category. I liked the little touches of humour (one of the animal splice creations created by geneticists is a "liobam", a cross between a lion and a lamb, created by some extreme religious group in an attempt to fulfill the prophecy about the lion and the lamb lying down together). Possibly the most compelling aspect of both books were the little touches of reality, of things that already happen being taken a little further and their consequences.

I have also been attempting to read Jon McGregor's Even the dogs, but I just can't get into it. I loved two of his other books, If nobody speaks of remarkable things and So many ways to begin, but this one has difficult subject matter and a style that I found hard to engage with. I kind of felt like I should get into it, it deals with the side of life that you probably don't often think about (the people who get forgotten, the homeless, drug addicts).

But I've just collected May's reading group book from the library, Tracy Chevalier's Remarkable creatures so hopefully I'll get this one finished.


Mary Anne said...

Thanks for the links to the book reviews. There are new ones for me to search out. I like Margaret Atwood's writing but I haven't read the two you mention and it's good to know what order they should be read in.

Anonymous said...

They sound interesting. I haven't read any Atwood in a good few years.