The Year Of The Flood

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The Year Of The Flood

by Margaret Atwood

Knopf Canada | July 27, 2010 | Trade Paperback

The Year Of The Flood is rated 4.25 out of 5 by 16.

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?

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 448 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 0.95 in

Published: July 27, 2010

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 030739798X

ISBN - 13: 9780307397980

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beware of the Waterless Flood! The Year of the Flood, the second book in the MaddAddam trilogy, came out 6 years after Oryx and Crake in 2009. It is not a sequel, but rather a companion to the first novel as it takes place on a concurrent time. Toby and Ren survived the epidemic that killed most of the human race. A series of flashbacks informs us that Toby was a therapist in a spa and Ren an exotic dancer in a nightclub. Even though the two women are very different, they have something in common: they were once members of the God’s Gardeners, a group of pacific, religious and ecological people who knew that the Waterless Flood was coming. The book follows Toby and Ren’s separate stories of survival both before and after the epidemic. The Year of the Flood is more interesting and more engrossing than Oryx and Crake in large part thanks to the two main characters, Toby and Ren. They have more depth and are more likable than Jimmy, the crazy, self-destructive narrator of the first book in the MaddAddam trilogy. In addition, it’s fun to see other characters present in Oryx and Crake pop up from time to time. However, I found the discourses of the God’s Gardeners’ leader, Adam One, to be long and cumbersome at times, even though I understand that they were used to give the reader more insight about the cult. In the whole, this book was excellent, and I am looking forward to reading MaddAddam for the conclusion of the trilogy. Please go to my blog, Cecile Sune - Bookobsessed, if you would like to read more reviews or discover fun facts about books and authors.
Date published: 2014-04-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Part Deux I read "Oryx and Crake" a while ago and absolutely loved it. Till this date, I still remember where I spent a chunk of time reading it, and how I felt at that precise time and space. It says a lot about how a book can evoke such memories. So when I decided it was time to read "The Year of the Flood," I wasn't sure what I would be getting out of it. "The Year of the Flood" caught me by surprise. There is an overlap with "Oryx and Crake" yet it feels so different from it. We are introduced to new characters in a different setting, while in the same world. It does a great job in providing a parallel to what happens in the first MaddAddam book, and like it, it is the present, the future, and the past, all rolled into a dystopian narrative. It begs the question, how could you keep surviving knowing what you have done and what you have to do in order to face the reality of the post-apocalypse world? And that similar tone in the storytelling, despite how different the format and structure of "The Year of the Flood" was to "Oryx and Crake," was what tied both books together so well.
Date published: 2013-10-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Follow-up to Oryx and Crake Atwood's second novel in her dystopian MaddAddam triology is just as great as Oryx and Crake. Rather than being a 'sequel', YotF paralles O&C's storyline, only we see a different part of America from two different characters eyes. Toby and Ren are our 2 heroines in this novel, which focuses on the pleeblands (poor inner city sections) rather than the privaleged corporation run compounds in O&C. Both of these ladies eventually become a part of one of the many Pleebland cults, known as "God's Gardener's", a sort of 'green' group. The book's namesake refers to the Waterless Flood that the God's Gardener's all believe will happen soon to wipe out the evil that humans have become and done to nature. YotF is a very cool follow-up to O&C, because there are a lot of character cross-overs from both novels. The ending ties in with the ending of O&C and that is where the finale, MaddAddam, picks up....
Date published: 2013-09-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The saga continues This book stands alone and can be read without first reading Oryx and Crake, but they belong together. We meet two girls who have survived a pandemic, have seen it start, run its course and now deal with the aftermath. They meet in a group of religious survivalists where they are forced to hide from a technological police state. We learn how each arrived there, see their friendship grow, how they avoid the perils at the bottom of a dysfunctional society, how they are forced apart, and how they finally meet again. Having survived the plague is not enough, for there are other people who have also survived, people who are extremely dangerous, and who will destroy our heros just to satisfy an ancient grudge. Through all this, the nagging question is how do the God's Gardeners have any knowledge of the coming plague. They continually talk about it and yet do not have the technology to be involved. How did any of these people survive? Only one was in an environment that would protect from the disease and she was at a primarly release point for the plague. Much becomes clear, but I must get MaddAddam. Will this remain a trilogy in three parts? Read on and find out.
Date published: 2013-08-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good 3.5 stars It is Year 25, and the "waterless flood" had just happened. It appears that most humans have been wiped out. The story is told from three different viewpoints: Toby, Ren and Adam One. The book backs up in time to tell us how Toby and Ren got where they are now, and Adam One is the leader of a group, to which both Toby and Ren belonged at some point along the way, called God's Gardeners. It was good. Something I thought was really cool in the audio was that each section of Adam One's, generally some type of sermon or speech, ended with a song. I assume the lyrics are printed in the book, but for the audio, they are actually sung to music, as a song. The audio had three different narrators, one for each of Toby, Ren and Adam One. I also liked all the "saints" worshipped by God's Gardeners (Dian Fossey, Terry Fox are two that I can recall off the top of my head). I have read Oryx and Crake, but remember nothing of it, so YOTF can be enjoyed without knowing what happens in O&C.
Date published: 2011-02-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastic Look On The Future There were several occasions where I was told this book isn't that great unless you read Orxy and Crake, I would beg to differ. Margaret Atwood has a beautiful imagination that allowed her to write such a deeply compelling and savage look at the future. It appears so bleak and desolate in the wake of what could eradicate humankind, but she is able to create a glimmer of hope for her characters. I thought it was a wonderful and creative read and would recommend it to anyone who likes to think about surviving a barbaric future.
Date published: 2011-01-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Totally Recommended to those who enjoy a dystopia-like story. Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood passionately explores the many ideas of the future and how people of today’s century take granted of what they have. By reading this novel, they can be taught how even literature can teach one’s self a little bit about themselves. The novel deals with future characteristics. It does not go so far into the future where one may see it as unrealistic, but the opposite. This kind of “future” can be seen as something that may be possible somewhere down the road of life. The novel interprets humanity through a very different lens. The reality of life kicks in throughout the entire novel. While reading the novel, the reader can understand what the author’s message is- we must prepare ourselves for the future. Many see the future as bright and full of life, but never seem to grasp the reality side of things. Our society is based solely on materials. Today’s century is very materialistic. In the novel the characters rely on their logical thinking and themselves to survive to see a tomorrow. As for people of the 21st century, they rely too much on technology and other things that make life simple for them. The novel teaches the reader that people should not rely on these things, as one day these materials will no longer be available. Also, the novel adds character to the reader as they are reading. The reader reflects upon themselves and may realize that they should not take life for granted. The Year of the Flood is an eye-opener for those who are unimaginative and photographs images for the unobservant. The novel lets the reader know that life is a reality and they must never lose connection with it. In the novel, Ren seems to speak the truth: “It’s make-believe. Wishful thinking, I know I shouldn’t do it. I should face reality. But reality has too much darkness in it. Too many crows.” (pg 400. Line 30-31) Ren wants to believe that her friend is safe, but at the same time has to face reality because reality is the truth. The truth is what sets one free. People of today’s society do not like the truth; they fear it and never want to come to terms with it. The crows are a representation of the “bad” stuff. Obviously people do not like obstacles, but it helps one get through life. Without struggles there is no progress. The novel teaches this through literature. Another eye-opener is being a human. Again, Ren speaks the truth: “Sometimes he’d say he was working on solutions to the biggest problems of all, which was human beings- their cruelty and suffering, their wars and poverty, their fear of death.” (pg 305. Line 15-17) Ren makes it clear that humans are always creating flaws for themselves, flaws such as cruelty to one’s self and unnecessary suffering. People have to start living happily with what they have now, before it is gone. Many unconsciously fear their own existence and make problems for themselves. To fix this, one must learn to appreciate life a little more and to live with what they have. Until then, people of today will life in a false reality.
Date published: 2010-12-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from VERY TIMELY In my youth I tried to read Atwwod because as a young Canadian woman I felt it was my obligation to do so, but found her very difficult. I very much enjoyed this book however & didn't want to say good by to the characters. Very thought provoking & somewhat frightening. I will recommend this to those concerned with our environment and especially those who seem not to be.
Date published: 2010-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome story The book is almost too timely with the recent outbreak of H1N1 - a thought-provoking story of a future we could actually be creating now. Solid foundation of facts laced with the possibilities of certain paths of human choice - from the ethics of gene-splicing to corporate power to life style choices. A book to entrall and entice for sure. Can't wait for her 3rd on with these characters. Does the human race survive? Only Margaret knows
Date published: 2009-11-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from OK but it's not Oryx and Crake Reason for Reading: Atwood's new book. Summary: A plague has wiped out the majority of the world and the God's Gardeners cult had been preparing for the end-times (the Waterless Flood) all along. Two women, who were members of God's Gardeners have survived the plague. One, Ren, because she was in an isolation unit (almost like an apartment) where she was recuperating after being abused by one of the patrons in the sex club where she worked and possibly contaminated. The other, Toby, had locked herself in the beauty spa (heavily secured corporation run) she was the manager of the night the plague hit full force. The story is told from three points of views. Ren's and Toby's with both of them telling their present situation and remembering their past life with the God's Gardener's. The third point of view comes from the past and follows the God's Gardeners year by year through sermons given by Adam One which end with a hymn. Comments: I really enjoyed Oryx and Crake and dived into this book as soon as it came into the library for me. The book was a quick read. I always find Atwood's writing to flow so naturally her books are often hard to put down, and this was no exception. Ren and Toby are full, realistic characters, quite opposite in nature from each other but both emotionally draw the reader into their lives and thus the book. Atwood's feminist side shows through here as we see a comparison between the two women. Ren has been treated kindly then thrown aside and later used and abused by men because of her good looks while Toby has been used and abused and later ignored by men because of her plain looks. The God's Gardeners cult was pretty creepy in my opinion. Atwood has created a religion which is Old Testament based, yet Pagan in nature and is full of Saint Days. While the group believes in an Old Testament God, they are eco friendly by worshipping animals and nature and are strictly vegan. Near the beginning she has a St. Mowat of the Wolves day and I said to myself, "Oh, Lord please do not let her have a St. David Suzuki day in here or I'm going to through this book across the room". He did appear, but fortunately it was near the end of the book and I held back my urge. I would suggest reading Oryx and Crake first. The books are not dependant on each other but this one does reference many things from the first book and you are going to wandering around in the dark as either no explanations, or only brief ones are given. A very quick explanation of the events of the first book are summed up for you at the crucial point in Year of the Flood but a reader will be missing out on a whole book's worth of insider information if they journey into this without having read Oryx and Crake first. Ultimately though, I was disappointed with book. It was a good enough book. Fans of Oryx and Crake will have to read it to find out the rest of the story. But I just didn't get into the story that much. It wasn't a page turner, even though it read quick enough. The plot kept moving forward but there never was any real suspense, reveals, moments of great emotion or climax even to satisfy. Well, there is a climax and an ending but they are small and weak and I ended the book with a "hmmph".
Date published: 2009-10-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Vision of the Future I didn't plan on reading this book at all...i'm not much of an Atwood fan. But there it was on the speed read shelf at the library, so i grabbed it. And for this reason i didn't know that "The Year of the Flood" was tied in with another Atwood book, "Oryx and Crake". I don't think it matters that i didn't know this, or that i didn't read "Oryx and Crake" first, as many reviews said would be in my best interest to do. Anyway...i wasn't sure if i would like this book...a quarter of the way in...and it got me. What seems simplicity is in reality the brilliant vision of Atwood in writing a book that raises our level of humanity to an all time high. Religion, politics, ethics...Atwood covers it all and makes you think...really think...about our role here on this planet. You see, feel, and act through the eyes of Toby and Ren...two survivors of the "flood". Atwood has this remarkable ability to capture the intricacies of relationships between women. I found myself questioning and thinking about a lot of things in life as i read this book. Glad i picked it up...though not sure if i'll go back and give other Atwood books a try.
Date published: 2009-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting In TYotF the reader is familiar with some of the events (same time and place as Oryx and Crake), but you see them occur from a different perspective. OaC was a solid 5 stars, it was shocking at times and made me think about it long after I read the book. Atwood is a great writer and this is a great novel but it just didn't resonate with me as much.
Date published: 2009-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I can't wait for the third book in this trilogy. In 1972, Margaret Atwood published Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature, in which she proposed that Canadian literature to that point had been based on the need to survive, whether against nature or against human opposition. Thirty-seven years later, Atwood has defended her thesis by making literal survival the entire goal of the characters in The Year of the Flood. We follow two main characters, Toby and Ren, who have managed to survive, by their isolation, the waterless flood, a plague affecting most human beings. However, to continue to survive, they need to get out of their safe houses and out into the dangerous, and possibly infected, world. Both Toby and Ren are equipped with superior survival skills because they had been members of God’s Gardeners, a religion devoted to lessening the effect that human beings have had on the Earth and their fellow creatures. We learn of the Gardeners’ lessons through flashbacks of the time that both women spent with the group, from the sermons of Adam One, the leader of God’s Gardeners, and from their hymns, the latter two interspersed between the chapters of the novel. Neither Toby nor Ren had entered the religion by her own choice. Toby was rescued by a group of God’s Gardeners as she was trying to flee from a psychopathically violent employer, who was keeping her as a sex slave. Ren arrived in the group as a child when her mother became involved with one of the charismatic members of the group. And neither woman left the group of her own accord, but each learned enough from God’s Gardeners to be able to endure her time in isolation and her struggle to last in the “Exfernal World”. There is much to admire in any Atwood novel, but The Year of the Flood demonstrates her exceptional ability to imagine, not only the dystopian world of the future, which she has done before, but also the language, the hymns and the religion of this future world, along with all the negative detritus of that era, which we can see evidence of in the world around us. Most chapters note the passing of time by the saints days of the Gardeners. A few are actual saints that we may know of, but Atwood’s inventions show her cleverness. The saints of the Gardeners are people who have noted the problems in our environment and urged action to improve the situation, like Saint Rachel Carson or Saint Dian Fossey the Martyr. My favourite is Saint Farley of the Wolves. She also demonstrates her inventiveness with the names of the hybrid animals of the future, such as the Mo’hairs, sheep who possess long glossy hair in a rainbow of colours, which are used for hair transplants. Unfortunately, those who do receive these transplants continue to smell of mutton in exchange for their luxurious locks. Also the hymns of God’s Gardeners feel true the nature of the group and take the form of typical church hymns. Apparently Atwood has assembled a group to perform them at her readings, as well as launching a website offering t-shirts and other items connected with the novel for sale. In A Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood’s best known dystopian novel, the leaders of the religion she created were the most powerful people in that society. They made the rules for others and broke those rules. They were the source of the problems. In The Year of the Flood, God’s Gardeners are a marginal group. At first, I thought that Atwood was mocking the Gardeners with her characteristic cynicism, but they turn out to be prophetic and skilful in the world that they must survive. Also at first I felt distanced from Toby and Ren and from their stories. I thought of how Atwood when interviewed always seems to maintain an ironic tone as if guarding her true self, and I felt that this type of protectiveness was keeping me from complete involvement with the main characters, such as I had felt in her previous novels. However, by the end, I was lost in the story of these characters and was left wanting more answers to the questions it raised. The Year of the Flood is a sequel to Oryx and Crake, another novel I enjoyed, and Atwood has promised a third volume to this trilogy, which may answer some of my questions. The characters of Oryx and Crake live in the same world as those of The Year of the Flood, and the time periods of the two novels are parallel. Eventually some of these characters spill into the newer novel. However, The Year of the Flood has gone much further in its examination of this world and is a superior work of the imagination. Six years passed between the publication of these two novels. I hope that we do not have to wait as long for the next volume of this impressive trilogy.
Date published: 2009-09-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from At LEAST 4.5 stars, Year of the Flood is a winner Having read Oryx and Crake in high school, I found myself carrying the story with me through my university years. I can't put my finger on it, but the characters and the world stuck in the back of my mind. Reading Year of the Flood (for class) was an unexpected treat, for I not only got to travel back in time to revisit this world, but I discovered this gem of a novel, which stands alone without the added riches of having read Oryx and Crake. Atwood's storytelling abilities are rewarding, yes, but what really surprised me was the uncharacteristic tenderness in the treatment of her characters, especially the God's Gardeners, which in less mature hands would have turned into a simplistic farce of religious beliefs, instead of the deeply complex and moving portrait that it was - while not buying into its system too much; the main characters themselves questioned their way of life. The story was fulfilling, the characters intricate, I had nearly no complaints about the book. I did think that it may have been unneccessary for Atwood to tell the reader what the source of the Flood was, described in Oryx and Crake, it may have been enough to keep the ambiguity up until the end. The other problematic element was the unlikely recurrence of the character Jimmy (the main character in Oryx and Crake) occured far too much for me to properly suspend my disbelief. I have a feeling that this novel will stay with me the way its precurser has, and the only thing that prevents me from giving this novel five stars is that the novel has only been published for only a mere set of weeks - I would like to see it pass the test of time. I bet it will.
Date published: 2009-09-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Atwood dishes out another brilliant novel At once terrifying, hilarious, and thought-provoking, 'The Year of the Flood' is Atwood at her best; a shockingly relevant cautionary tale, peppered with bursts of wry humour, and scenes so plausible they'll send chills down your spine; the perfect companion to 2003's 'Oryx and Crake', that other brilliant work of speculative fiction. One of the best books of 2009. A must-read.
Date published: 2009-09-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Another interesting read by Atwood I enjoy Margaret Atwood's perceptions of the future, and "The Year of the Flood" is another good book in the genre she does best. It focuses on the story of Ren and Toby, who survive the "Waterless Flood", a global pandemic that kills off much of mankind. It has the same feel as "Oryx and Crake", a book she published in 2003, and about 1/2 way into the book I realize that "The Year of the Flood" is indeed linked to "Oryx and Crake"! I will now have to dig up my copy of that book to remember how the story ends!
Date published: 2009-09-19

– More About This Product –

The Year Of The Flood

by Margaret Atwood

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 448 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 0.95 in

Published: July 27, 2010

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 030739798X

ISBN - 13: 9780307397980

Read from the Book

T H E G A R D E N Who is it tends the Garden, The Garden oh so green? ’Twas once the finest Garden That ever has been seen. And in it God’s dear Creatures Did swim and fly and play; But then came greedy Spoilers, And killed them all away. And all the Trees that flourished And gave us wholesome fruit, By waves of sand are buried, Both leaf and branch and root. And all the shining Water Is turned to slime and mire, And all the feathered Birds so bright Have ceased their joyful choir. Oh Garden, oh my Garden, I’ll mourn forevermore Until the Gardeners arise, And you to Life restore. From The God’s Gardeners Oral Hymnbook 1 TOBY YEAR TWENTY- FIVE, THE YEAR OF THE FLOOD In the early morning Toby climbs up to the rooftop to watch the sunrise. She uses a mop handle for balance: the elevator stopped working some time ago and the back stairs are slick with damp, so if she slips and topples there won’t be anyone to pick her up. As the first heat hits, mist rises from among the swath of trees between her and the derelict city. The air smells faintly of burning, a smell of caramel and tar and rancid barbecues, and the ashy but greasy smell of a garbage-dump fire after it’s been raining. The abandoned towers in the distance are like the coral of an ancient reef — bleached and colourless, devoid of life. There still is life, however. Birds chirp; sparrows, they must be. Their small voices are clear and sharp, nails on glass: there’s no longer
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From the Publisher

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?

About the Author

Margaret Atwood, whose work has been published in over thirty-five countries, is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. In addition to The Handmaid’s Tale, her novels include Cat’s Eye, shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the Booker Prize; and Oryx and Crake, shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.

Editorial Reviews

“A gripping and visceral book that showcases Atwood’s pure storytelling talents.”
— The New York Times

“A heart-pounding thriller.”
— The Washington Post

“Atwood is funny and clever. [She] knows how to show us ourselves, but the mirror she holds up to life does more than reflect. . . . The Year of the Flood isn’t prophecy, but it is eerily possible.”
— The New York Times Book Review

 “A gripping read, revealing Atwood in her most masterful storytelling mode. . . . The book is a cracked mirror of the times we live in.”
— The Gazette

Bookclub Guide

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 artificial beauty?

3. How do Adam One''s motivations compare to Zeb''s? In their world, what advantages do men have? Are they really “advantages”?

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 by her?

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 die?

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?

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