The Heart Goes Last

Publisher details

The Heart Goes Last
Author
Margaret Atwood
Publisher
Bloomsbury
Genres
Fiction, Science Fiction
Released
23 September, 2015

Synopsis

Why We Love It:

Margaret Atwood is at her best in this stunning novel about a crazy, dystopian world. The Heart Goes Last is a horrifying, funny and honest look at what humans will do to survive at any cost.

Stan and Charmaine are left homeless by an economic downtown in the near future. They roam the dangerous roads of America, living out of their car, avoiding robbery, gang rape, even murder, and scrounging a meagre living any way they can. When they see a television ad at the bar where Charmaine works, promising hope of a safe life in a controlled new society, Charmaine can’t resist the lure of soft, white towels and hot running water.

Once inside though, reality is not quite as wonderful as the TV images portrayed. Charmaine has a job ‘dealing with’ the unsavoury elements in the perfect world of Positron and its alternate world, Consilience. Stan’s job is to tend the chickens that help to feed the residents of this supposedly utopian society. One month they live in their neat suburban house and on alternate months they go into the Positron ‘prison’, a system that makes everything run smoothly, according to the propaganda.

Given what faced them on the outside, it’s all hunky dory until Charmaine meets her ‘alternate’ and, though formerly squeaky clean, she is drawn into an intriguing web of sex and lies, and everything starts to go wrong. She and Stan both find themselves dragged into a nightmare world involving the ‘cleansing’ of society’s unwanted elements, illicit organ trade, and the manufacture and trade of sex robots. They become pawns in a complex and crazy plan for rebellion by the increasingly subversive elements within the ranks of Positron’s governing class.

This is Margaret Atwood’s return to the dark, dystopian mood reminiscent of earlier works such as The Handmaid’s Tale and more recently the acclaimed Maddaddam trilogy that Atwood herself describes as ‘speculative fiction’. The Heart Goes Last is more darkly humorous than previous novels though, and it’s an altogether lighter look at the darker side of human nature and the potential for advancing technology to be put to harmful use. Despite the absurdity of some of the scenarios, they’re also frighteningly plausible, and despite the bleak subject matter, The Heart Goes Last is a funny, fast-paced book and a great summer read.

 Margaret Atwood is the Canadian author of such acclaimed classics as The Edible Woman, Cat’s Eye, Alias Grace, and The Blind Assassin. Her work has won an impressive array of awards, including the Booker Prize for The Blind Assassin, an award for which she has been shortlisted five times. Readers can be truly thankful that Atwood’s imagination is as fertile and her writing as sharp as ever. The Heart Goes Last is another great novel from one of the greatest writers of our time.

 

Margaret Atwood
About the author

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. Her novels include Cat's Eye, The Robber Bride, Alias GraceThe Blind Assassin and the MaddAddam trilogy. Her 1985 classic, The Handmaid's Tale, went back into the bestseller charts with the election of Donald Trump, when the Handmaids became a symbol of resistance against the disempowerment of women, and with the 2017 release of the award-winning Channel 4 TV series. Its sequel, The Testaments, was published in 2019 and was a global number one bestseller and won the Booker Prize. Atwood has won numerous awards including the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Imagination in Service to Society, the Franz Kafka Prize, the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade and the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2019 she was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for services to literature. She has also worked as a cartoonist, illustrator, librettist, playwright and puppeteer. She lives in Toronto, Canada.

Books by Margaret Atwood

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