Title: The Year of the Flood
Author: Margaret Atwood
Genre: Dystopian fiction
Read it if: You need an escape from the mundane
“I could see how you could do extreme things for the person you loved. Adam One said that when you loved a person, that love might not always get returned the way you wanted, but it was a good thing anyway because love went out all around you like an energy wave, and a creature you didn’t know would be helped by it.”
I first read this for a class on Canadian literature, and at first, I was torn. I’ve always loved Atwood’s writing, but I’ve also always loathed dystopian fiction – I’m easily unsettled by anything that talks about the inevitable death of our planet. Likely because evidence of its decline is already apparent.
But I digress. The Year of the Flood isn’t like that. Yes, it talks about life after we’ve completely annihilated the planet we live on, but it’s quieter, less unnerving than, say, watching the evening news (or reading The Handmaid’s Tale). Yes, it’s about a dystopian future, and yes, it is eerie in the sense that we realize that this could happen in the future, but it’s not all bad – Atwood highlights the fact that, despite the majority of the world being wiped out, those who remain will form alliances and strong bonds. They’ll work together. They’ll survive, even if their new lives don’t look like the old.
And that’s why this one is important: things can go terribly wrong, but we still find a way to adapt. We always do.