The Year of the Flood

by Margaret Atwood is a post-apocalyptic novel set in
the same world as her 2003 Oryx
and Crake
. I read that at the time it came out,
and don’t remember it well enough to comment on the
relationships, but I’m sure it illuminates two of the main
characters in that book. As well as providing several new
interesting characters.

One particularly well-written aspect of the book is the
description of the way the different locales (fast food
restaurant, religious commune, corporate enclave…) smell. For
instance, here’s Ren, one of the two main point of view
characters, shortly after she’s moved from the HealthWyzer
compound to the Gardeners’ community:

Rose-scented soap was the best. Bernice and me would take some home, and IÂ’d keep mine in my pillowcase, to drown out the mildew smell of my damp quilt.

(The quilt was mildewed because the Gardeners didn’t use

I recommended the book to a Vegan friend because it’s one of
the few works of literature I’ve run into where there are
vegetarian characters who really think about the relationship
between food and morality.

I enjoyed this one a lot. I don’t know whether it will replace
Handmaid’s Tale
as my favorite, but I can certainly see
rereading it. And it made me want to reread Oryx and
, too.

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