• Leah Quinn

The MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood


What is it?

Margaret Atwood’s The MaddAddam Trilogy consists of Oryx and Crake published in 2003, The Year of The Flood published in 2009, and MaddAddam, published in 2013. Set in a post-apocalyptic dystopia, humanity has been more and less decimated by climate change, capitalism, and ‘The Waterless Flood’.

What is it about?

Oryx and Crake introduces us to Jimmy or Snowman, depending on who you speak to, a commitment-phobe with a habit for talking to a bodiless woman in his head. He sleeps in a tree on an undisclosed beach somewhere and spends a lot of time foraging for food. Isolated, it falls to him to become the glorified babysitter of a new species of sort-of-humans - the Crakers. Childlike, impossibly beautiful, sickeningly peaceful and they like singing. Through a series of flashbacks, we learn about the world of Jimmy’s childhood before The Waterless Flood, which is not so different from our own. Gleaming corporations, shimmering commodities, biological hybrids, genetic splices, meat alternatives, seedy pleeblands and new cosmetic procedures. A fancy, futuristic and gloriously messed up form of capitalism. But how do his emotionally insensitive but kind of ingenious schoolfriend Crake and their mysterious love interest Oryx fit into this?

The MaddAddam Trilogy (2013)

The Year of The Flood. It’s Year Twenty-Five, whatever that means, and we’re introduced to Toby, Ren and a mysterious environmentally obsessed religious group, the God’s Gardeners. The Waterless Flood has happened; Toby watches over a decimated city wondering if she’s alone while she tends to her rooftop garden. Elsewhere in the city, Ren, a young dancer, is trapped among the flamingo costumes and synthetic snakeskins in the upmarket sex club in which she works. Or worked. Before everyone vanished. Is anyone alive? Where’s Amanda? Will the Painballers come back?

MaddAddam. A group of survivors. In a new kind of Genesis story, Atwood goes back to her Handmaid’s Tale roots, using an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Bible to generate a new theology. But is this world really an Eden? The MaddAddam world is a morally bankrupt dystopia, as meticulously cultivated by Atwood as Toby’s rooftop allotment, baptised and arguably reborn.

How did it make me feel?

As usual, I love literature that reveals something about and criticises the way we live our lives. Atwood grabs hold of the rampant commodification and environmental downfall of our current society and runs with it, inventing a world that is futuristic and separate from our own in one sense but could easily be our cousin. It warns, it entertains, it terrifies. A gloriously messed up masterpiece of dystopian fiction.

Where is it available?

In our new weird quarantined life, a plethora of local independent bookshops are doing home deliveries! Have a look for your local and let me know what you think.

Anything else?

Pigoons is a great word.

L x

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