Saturday, November 28, 2009

You Are What You...Read?

I spent the afternoon cramming in the last third of Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood. It was due at the library today and unrenewable due to the long list of other rabid Atwood fans waiting their turn. Atwood is one of my favorite writers because whatever world she chooses to draw on the page is utterly convincing. It's my personal belief that the writers who are most capable of drawing their readers in are the ones who immerse themselves most fully in their written worlds.

In the case of The Year of the Flood and Atwood's other futuristic tales--The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake (for which Flood is sort of a companion novel more than really a sequel--there are overlapping characters but the action takes place alongside Crake rather than much before or after it)--this ability to paint persuasive pictures is chilling. Though all three books are fiction, the dystopian futures contained within them are built with the blocks of factual current events and the outcomes, though different, are utterly believable. The Handmaid's Tale imagines a future in which religion as government is taken to a frightening, and heartstoppingly believable, extreme. Flood and Crake imagine a future in which technology (particuarly biotechnology) and the corporations that control it manipulate the world for their own ends with catastrophic--and heartstoppingly believable--results.

I have spent the evening trying to shake the vague uneasiness (and okay, a little outright panic) Atwood worked so hard to create.

1 comment: