From the Booker Prize-winning author of Oryx and
Crake, the first book in the MaddAddam Trilogy, and
The Handmaid's Tale. Internationally acclaimed as
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR by, amongst others, the Globe
and Mail, the New York Times, the New
Yorker, and the Village Voice
In a world driven by shadowy, corrupt corporations and the
uncontrolled development of new, gene-spliced life forms, a
man-made pandemic occurs, obliterating human life. Two people find
they have unexpectedly survived: Ren, a young dancer locked inside
the high-end sex club Scales and Tails (the cleanest dirty girls in
town), and Toby, solitary and determined, who has barricaded
herself inside a luxurious spa, watching and waiting. The women
have to decide on their next move - they can't stay hidden
forever. But is anyone else out there?
1. How does the friendship between Amanda and Ren grow, despite
their differences and the restrictions they face? They meet as
children. Who was your greatest ally when you were that age? What
do you think of Ren''s treatment of Bernice?
2. What survival skills do the novel''s female characters
possess? Do they find security or vulnerability at Scales and
Tales, the AnooYoo Spa, and within the community of Gardeners? What
strength does Pilar find in nature, while Lucerne is drawn to
3. How do Adam One''s motivations compare to Zeb''s? In their
world, what advantages do men have? Are they really
4. Discuss Toby''s parents and their fate. What does their story
illustrate about the dangers of an unregulated and corrupt drug
industry? What motivates Toby to become a healer?
5. How does Adam One''s explanation of creation and the fall of
humanity compare to more standard Judeo-Christian ideas? What does
he offer his followers, beyond an understanding of the planet and
the creatures that inhabit it?
6. Discuss the father figures in Ren''s life: her stepfather,
Zeb; her biological father, Frank; and eventually Mordis. What did
they teach her about being a woman? How did they shape her
expectations of Jimmy?
7. As a refugee from Texas, Amanda is an outsider, facing
constant risk. Would you have harbored her? Why is Ren so impressed
8. What is the result of a penal system like Painball? How does
it influence the citizens'' attitude toward crime?
9. Should Toby have honored Pilar''s deathbed wish that she
become an Eve? How did the lessons in beekeeping serve Toby in
other ways as well?
10. Crake''s BlyssPlus pill offers many false promises. What are
they, and what was Crake really striving for (chapter 73)? If human
beings are the greatest problem for the natural world, could they
also provide solutions less drastic than Crake''s? How?
11. In what ways do the novel''s three voices-Toby''s, Ren''s,
and Adam One''s-complement one another? What unique perspective is
offered in each narration?
12. Explore the lyrics from The God''s Gardeners Oral
Hymnbook. What do they say about the Gardener theology and the
nature of their faith? Adam One does not always tell the truth to
his congregation. Is well-meant lying ever acceptable?
13. Margaret Atwood''s fiction often displays "gallows humor."
Can a thing be dire and funny at the same time? Must we laugh or
14. The Year of the Flood covers the same time
period as Oryx and Crake, and contains a number of
the same characters - ("Snowman," a student at the Martha Graham
Academy and "the last man on earth") and Glenn ("Crake," who
studied at the Watson-Crick Institute), as well as Bernice,
Jimmy''s hostile college room-mate, Amanda, a live-in artist
girlfriend, Ren ("Brenda,") whom he remembers briefly in
Oryx and Crake as a high-school fling, Jimmy''s
mother, who runs away to become an activist, and the God''s
Gardeners, whom he mentions as a fringe green cult. Re-read the
final pages of both books. What do you predict for the remaining
characters? Should the Gardeners execute the Painballers? Why? Why
not? Would you?
15. What parallels did you see between The Year of the
Flood and current headlines?