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The internationally bestselling diva of dystopias is back with a new installment of Positron, her darkly comic Byliner Serial about life in a Big Brother America of the near future. In the seemingly well-adjusted world of Consilience, it's dawning on the residents that they've thrown away the keys to more than their ragged former lives outside the high walls of their gated The internationally bestselling diva of dystopias is back with a new installment of Positron, her darkly comic Byliner Serial about life in a Big Brother America of the near future. In the seemingly well-adjusted world of Consilience, it's dawning on the residents that they've thrown away the keys to more than their ragged former lives outside the high walls of their gated community. When they volunteered for this new social experiment, they also gave away the keys to their destinies, even their hearts. Ask Charmaine and she'll tell you her husband is a dead man. Sure, marriage can be murder, but when Charmaine plunged a deadly hypodermic needle into Stan, because it was part of her job--dispatching undesirables in Positron Prison--Stan survived. His former jailer, a libidinous security chief named Jocelyn, had switched out the death drugs for knockout drugs and drafted him into a plot to undo the increasingly sinister social scheme. In so doing, she promoted him from her sexual plaything to full-blown subversive. The underground is housed in a manufacturing plant of one of Consilience's most successful products: sexbots, made to order. Love, however, is not made to order, and despite a Darwinian labyrinth of betrayal after betrayal, including wild extramarital encounters and, yes, murder, Stan can't stop thinking about Charmaine. Not only because someone has requested a sexbot replica of her but because, well, she's home in a world without homes. In The Heart Goes Last, one of Atwood's darkest and most deviously entertaining inventions yet, the human heart proves more resilient and true than any mail-order machine.


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The internationally bestselling diva of dystopias is back with a new installment of Positron, her darkly comic Byliner Serial about life in a Big Brother America of the near future. In the seemingly well-adjusted world of Consilience, it's dawning on the residents that they've thrown away the keys to more than their ragged former lives outside the high walls of their gated The internationally bestselling diva of dystopias is back with a new installment of Positron, her darkly comic Byliner Serial about life in a Big Brother America of the near future. In the seemingly well-adjusted world of Consilience, it's dawning on the residents that they've thrown away the keys to more than their ragged former lives outside the high walls of their gated community. When they volunteered for this new social experiment, they also gave away the keys to their destinies, even their hearts. Ask Charmaine and she'll tell you her husband is a dead man. Sure, marriage can be murder, but when Charmaine plunged a deadly hypodermic needle into Stan, because it was part of her job--dispatching undesirables in Positron Prison--Stan survived. His former jailer, a libidinous security chief named Jocelyn, had switched out the death drugs for knockout drugs and drafted him into a plot to undo the increasingly sinister social scheme. In so doing, she promoted him from her sexual plaything to full-blown subversive. The underground is housed in a manufacturing plant of one of Consilience's most successful products: sexbots, made to order. Love, however, is not made to order, and despite a Darwinian labyrinth of betrayal after betrayal, including wild extramarital encounters and, yes, murder, Stan can't stop thinking about Charmaine. Not only because someone has requested a sexbot replica of her but because, well, she's home in a world without homes. In The Heart Goes Last, one of Atwood's darkest and most deviously entertaining inventions yet, the human heart proves more resilient and true than any mail-order machine.

30 review for The Heart Goes Last

  1. 5 out of 5

    James

    Rating serial fiction always feels incomplete somehow. Unlike short stories, they aren't finished works, it's more like rating individual chapters. The previous three outings in this series have also felt incomplete and I rated them accordingly. This though, is the first chapter where it's starting to feel like the plot and the characters are actually building towards something more than just that chapter's events. None of our characters really feel like heroes at this point, but they're what At Rating serial fiction always feels incomplete somehow. Unlike short stories, they aren't finished works, it's more like rating individual chapters. The previous three outings in this series have also felt incomplete and I rated them accordingly. This though, is the first chapter where it's starting to feel like the plot and the characters are actually building towards something more than just that chapter's events. None of our characters really feel like heroes at this point, but they're what Atwood has given us: Stan wakes up as Waldo in the shipping plant that sends possilibots (sex robots) out to the wealthy population outside of Consilience and Charmaine has to get through the sham funeral for the husband that she herself executed. She's still a little shallow and irritating – only just realising that her and Phil aren't going to be a beautiful thing together — and they're both still being driven through the story by others rather than making any decisions themselves, but it's starting to feel like that may change soon. It's definitely getting there. As a collection they work better than individual stories, but that's to be expected. The only real complaint with this episode is the lustful inner-voice of Stan when he meets Veronica – it reads like Atwood has never been a blue-collar male with an erection. Maybe she has, maybe she hasn't. I'm looking forward to the next instalment though...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    This might just be the most frustrating serial fiction ever. Not because of how it's written, but because of the publication schedule. This is most certainly not the end of the story, but there's no release date on episode 5, and this one came out over a year ago. The premise behind Positron is a near-future dystopia, where people deep in debt voluntarily go into prison for six nonconsecutive months a year. The other six months, they spend in suburban paradise. Stan and Charmaine are happy with t This might just be the most frustrating serial fiction ever. Not because of how it's written, but because of the publication schedule. This is most certainly not the end of the story, but there's no release date on episode 5, and this one came out over a year ago. The premise behind Positron is a near-future dystopia, where people deep in debt voluntarily go into prison for six nonconsecutive months a year. The other six months, they spend in suburban paradise. Stan and Charmaine are happy with their choice to enter the system, until Stan finds a note he believes was left by the woman who lives in their house during their off months, and fills his head with all kinds of fantasies. Only, it's a code name used by Charmaine, so she can cheat on Stan with Max, the man who occupies their house during the months they're imprisoned. Four installments in, Stan's death has been faked and the subversive forces are working on getting him out, while Charmaine is being ogled by the guy in charge at Stan's funeral. I'm honestly not sure if I'm rooting for Stan and Charmaine's eventual reunion. The only things they have in common are that they lie to each other and lust after other people. Stan was momentarily interested in his wife again when he realized she was the sultry vixen he'd been lusting after, thinking all along she was boring and pure. But he's easily distracted by a defective sexbot, who imprinted on a stuffed animal instead of the man she was built for. And, while Charmaine genuinely grieves for her husband, there's a heavy burden of guilt involved, as she believes she killed him. I guess I'll see what future installments bring. I sure hope there will be future installments.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Grace Harwood

    This is another fantastic and eagerly awaited instalment in the Positron series. My only real criticism is that I'm becoming increasingly impatient for the next chapter to come out - I don't suppose it will be for a long time now and I read this one in a frustratingly short time. I've got to say that everything by Margaret Atwood is a real treat to read and NEVER lasts me as long as I want them to; however, this instalment will see me nicely through to her new novel coming out at the end of Augu This is another fantastic and eagerly awaited instalment in the Positron series. My only real criticism is that I'm becoming increasingly impatient for the next chapter to come out - I don't suppose it will be for a long time now and I read this one in a frustratingly short time. I've got to say that everything by Margaret Atwood is a real treat to read and NEVER lasts me as long as I want them to; however, this instalment will see me nicely through to her new novel coming out at the end of August. I've enjoyed all of the Positron stories so far and I've loved the characters of Stan and Charmaine - how frail and vulnerable they are, so very human with all their weaknesses and longings, and yet somehow Stan has ended up as Jocelyn's champion in thwarting the corruption of Consilience's bid to take over society. This time they seem more vulnerable than ever, with Charmaine utterly grief stricken and believing she's killed Stan whilst "cheesy" Ed makes up to her (I loved the comparison of Ed to wax coated cheese which kids traded in the playground) whilst Stan is now "Waldo", desperately trying to remember his new name, and being coerced into escaping the compound, dressed up as an Elvis sex-bot. It was only short but it was Atwood at her darkly funniest best. Brilliant.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jana M

    This slender book is a relatively quick read, but it is refusing to go quietly back on the bookshelf. The story line starts off deceptively simply and its characters are relatively boring everyday couple who suddenly find themselves in a desperate situation that could happen to anybody in their circumstances. they take a solution offered to them ,which sounds too good to be true and .... Nothing is as it seems. the simple story line changes into a Rubic cube. Atwood is a master puppeteer, ruthlessly This slender book is a relatively quick read, but it is refusing to go quietly back on the bookshelf. The story line starts off deceptively simply and its characters are relatively boring everyday couple who suddenly find themselves in a desperate situation that could happen to anybody in their circumstances. they take a solution offered to them ,which sounds too good to be true and .... Nothing is as it seems. the simple story line changes into a Rubic cube. Atwood is a master puppeteer, ruthlessly manipulating the characters,story line and ultimately the reader's perception too. Her knowledge of human psyche and its driving force is clinical ,vast and not very comfortable but it is offset by her sharp sense of humor which gives you unforgettably hilarious situations and images hard to get rid off. The roller coaster ride of the fight for survival nears the end when Attwood makes the final turn of the screw and puts the characters in their final place. Dystopian tragicomedy exposing human frailty ,gullibility and strength.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chinook

    This series makes me feel all Dickens-era old-fashioned, having to read installment by installment. I liked this section a lot - the prostibots are interesting and it's set up the next section nicely. This series makes me feel all Dickens-era old-fashioned, having to read installment by installment. I liked this section a lot - the prostibots are interesting and it's set up the next section nicely.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I hate that it's a serial...the anticipation of the next chapter is killing me...this is one of the best books I've read in a long time. I hate that it's a serial...the anticipation of the next chapter is killing me...this is one of the best books I've read in a long time.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jenni

    I hope this series goes on forever.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

    Ok, this is the fourth in the Positron series and I'm hooked. Margaret Atwood has done it again! Ok, this is the fourth in the Positron series and I'm hooked. Margaret Atwood has done it again!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mary Keen

    Listened on a trip, so can't remember exact details and dates --just that it started out interestingly, but got so dark and hopeless that no point to keep going. Finished about 3/4ths. I tho't Handmaidens' Tale was good and made sense, but this title just didn't seem worth reading. I think it's part of a series, so glad I didn't keep going hoping to reach a conclusion. (SPOILER) --I did wonder why they didn't somehow sacrifice and figure out a way to go west, where economic conditions were said to Listened on a trip, so can't remember exact details and dates --just that it started out interestingly, but got so dark and hopeless that no point to keep going. Finished about 3/4ths. I tho't Handmaidens' Tale was good and made sense, but this title just didn't seem worth reading. I think it's part of a series, so glad I didn't keep going hoping to reach a conclusion. (SPOILER) --I did wonder why they didn't somehow sacrifice and figure out a way to go west, where economic conditions were said to be so much better --that is until they were locked into Positron.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Claire Osgood

    A thought provoking book about what inhuman conditioning could affect our lives in the future. As the attempts at reversing or severely limiting abortion rights happen more frequently in present day America, this book is becoming more believable. The improvement in human rights and especially women's rights in the last 200+ years has been enormous for most. But as this book illustrates, our culture can backwoods in dark ways. Freedoms may not always be there in the future. They must be defended A thought provoking book about what inhuman conditioning could affect our lives in the future. As the attempts at reversing or severely limiting abortion rights happen more frequently in present day America, this book is becoming more believable. The improvement in human rights and especially women's rights in the last 200+ years has been enormous for most. But as this book illustrates, our culture can backwoods in dark ways. Freedoms may not always be there in the future. They must be defended by us all. Great read for those who are wary of the real agenda of the powers that be...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sue Roux

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Loved the story. The with the secrets and new live and then not!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Hiba Ibrahim

    It was such a wonderfully weird book that I couldn't put down. I enjoyed the characters and Atwood' s style of writing. It wasn't life changing but sometimes a book doesn't need to be. It was such a wonderfully weird book that I couldn't put down. I enjoyed the characters and Atwood' s style of writing. It wasn't life changing but sometimes a book doesn't need to be.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    I read this as a stand alone even though it is #4 in a series. Excellent dystopian novel.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Steven Thomas

    Interesting as usual.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jenica

    A bit laboursome in the first part but enlightening towards the end. I fear we are heading that way

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarath

    Good but not the best from Atwood

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    story plot and characters too much of a stretch, loved the imagined world atwood created

  18. 5 out of 5

    Julia Lee

    Read it before I thought to give reviews.

  19. 4 out of 5

    dennis Waters

    Couldn’t get into this. Some good bits, some silly bits and some stupid bits.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Fangs for the Fantasy

    Things have gone absolutely to hell. Banks are collapsing, there's little food security, homes are being foreclosed on and unemployment has skyrocketed. Stan has always been steady, especially in comparison to his career criminal brother Conner. He has a job, a reliable wife and house which repairs and values. It's the typical middle class existence. When Stan is fired and his wife is laid off, Stan quickly discovers that security is only illusion. Stan and Charmaine end up living in their car, Things have gone absolutely to hell. Banks are collapsing, there's little food security, homes are being foreclosed on and unemployment has skyrocketed. Stan has always been steady, especially in comparison to his career criminal brother Conner. He has a job, a reliable wife and house which repairs and values. It's the typical middle class existence. When Stan is fired and his wife is laid off, Stan quickly discovers that security is only illusion. Stan and Charmaine end up living in their car, living on the tips she makes working at a bar, and spending the rest of their time being wary to the criminal element who want to take their possessions. Everything changes when Charmaine sees an advertisement on television for Positron Project located in the town of Consilence. If accepted Charmain and Stan will alternate between spending one month in prison and one month occupying a home with a job. It's absolute security from the struggles of the outside world and all they have to do is give up their freedom. The Heart Goes Last starts off as dystopian and finishes as speculative fiction. Given the mortgage crises and the last recession, Atwood clearly chose this setting because of its relevance and reliability. As in reality, the rich continue on consequence free in opulence and privilege while the poor and the middle class struggle to survive and understand the order of the world. The middle class lie is that if we do everything right get an education, live within our means and do a good job at work that everything will be just fine. This is the promise and though it's proven to be a lie, when meritocracy is all that stands between you and destitution it's what you hold onto. In that sense Stan is the every man who finds himself in an untenable situation due to forces well beyond his control. It's Charmaine who first suggests applying for Consilence. She wants the comfort of a bed with clean sheets and all the trappings of the middle class life. She's tired of the insecurity and the fear that someone will harm them as they try to sleep in their car. Even before meeting and marrying Stan, Charmaine had a difficult life, filled with abuse neglect and domestic violence. She was then raised by grandmother to be sweet and to only see the bright side of life. She's almost like a Stepford wife. Consilence is just too good to deny and she's even willing to sleep with Stan in the backseat of the car to make happen. Interestingly, Consilence encourages people to be their true selves and for Charmaine, that doesn't necessarily mean being the perfect positive wife anymore who submits to sex out of a sense of duty. In the restriction laden life of Consilence she finds herself having an affair. For the first time Charmaine can be the bad girl. The one who wears the bright lipstick and gives voice to all of her slutty desires. In captivity she finds freedom but it comes at a cost. When you give up your agency, you have no control of what someone does with your image. What if someone want to operate on you to turn you into a subservient sex slave? The theme of what is stability worth is repeated through the novel. Is it better to live in ignorance and safety than have knowledge and instability? Is personal agency valuable if it puts you at risk and makes you responsible for your actions? Is it easier to simply have the bad things that you've done erased so that you don't have to confront guilt or shame? What compromises are we willing to make for love and what do we owe our romantic partners? The Heart Goes Last offers us the POV of both Stan and Charmaine; however, when Stan's point of view moved beyond his economic circumstances to me he read like a misogynist and not once is this fully addressed. Right until the end of the book, he disrespectful and dismissive of Charmaine, and entitled when it comes to their sex life. He only seems concerned with his own sexual gratification and doesn't think about whether or not Charmaine is sexually satisfied. He spends a good deal of the book worried that his brother Conner will steal Charmaine away from him. Stan is anything but likable and though he didn't deserve to be repeatable raped, I found his character completely unlikable. When Charmaine's infidelity is discovered Stan is forced to into a sexual relationship with Jocelyn. Jocelyn forces Stan to act out the sexual activities that Charmaine did with her lover Phil. Atwood writes a lot of about Stan's discomfort and he's feeling of desperation. There's also a clear power imbalance between Stan and Jocelyn yet for some reason, Atwood doesn't seem to feel the need to label this as rape. At times, Stan's predicament is even played for laughs which is completely unacceptable. If a person cannot actively consent then it's not a sexual act, it's a sexual assault. Read More

  21. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    Margaret Atwood excels at dystopia, and her internet serial Positron is a worthy addition to her ouvre. The first four episodes have been published as Kindle and Byliner singles, although it's not clear how many episodes Atwood will ultimately publish. Given that it's a serial, I'll refrain from talking much about the plot. Positron is set in a dystopian near future and is named after the prison at the centre of a new concept of closed community called Consilience (Cons + Resilience). The residen Margaret Atwood excels at dystopia, and her internet serial Positron is a worthy addition to her ouvre. The first four episodes have been published as Kindle and Byliner singles, although it's not clear how many episodes Atwood will ultimately publish. Given that it's a serial, I'll refrain from talking much about the plot. Positron is set in a dystopian near future and is named after the prison at the centre of a new concept of closed community called Consilience (Cons + Resilience). The residents of Consilience live half of their lives inside Positron prison, and the other half on the outside. They share their jobs and houses with unnamed Alternates and swap between them and the prison on the first of each month. There is no communication with the outside world and contact with Alternates is banned. The story centres on Stan and Charmaine. At the outset of the first episode, Stan finds a raunchy note under his refrigerator left by Jasmine for Max; it's sealed with lipstick and says "I'm starved for you". Stan is fired with curiosity about Jasmine, and the plot proceeds from there. Atwood has produced a very good episodic serial, with lots of twists in plot and character. It's a great premise, and nothing is what it seems. I'm hooked.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Denise Mullins

    The dismal near future dystopia that Stan and Charmaine inhabit becomes the unlikely setting for the many darkly humorous moments in Margaret Atwood's "The Heart Goes Last". While readers naturally assume that the devil's agreement the couple sign to escape their precarious existence of living in their Honda will be fraught with unseen pitfalls, they seem oblivious. Were they really expected to pay close attention to pitchman Ed's introduction and terms to joining Positron? Readers are more like The dismal near future dystopia that Stan and Charmaine inhabit becomes the unlikely setting for the many darkly humorous moments in Margaret Atwood's "The Heart Goes Last". While readers naturally assume that the devil's agreement the couple sign to escape their precarious existence of living in their Honda will be fraught with unseen pitfalls, they seem oblivious. Were they really expected to pay close attention to pitchman Ed's introduction and terms to joining Positron? Readers are more likely to wonder if this not-too-bright pair is even capable of reasoning through what they're getting into. Soon, the tantalizing yet forbidden temptation to make contact with their alternate housemates produces harrowing consequences, and frequently creepy interludes with Positron functionaries keep readers guessing just what their agenda is. Overall, this is a page-turning wacky romp with an ending that is both clever and satisfying.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    A cuckold and a failure, Stan (now renamed with the doddering "Waldo" nomenclature) works on distributing prostibots, the only "women" over whom he has any control. The manufactured women, these "slut machines" like the "Jasmine" of his mind, are lifeless coquettes, ready for the all-out assaults on their no-no bits. But there's more going on behind the scenes, as the prostibots aren't quite real enough. Hitting the reset button on living women, erasing their minds and resetting them with a fixe A cuckold and a failure, Stan (now renamed with the doddering "Waldo" nomenclature) works on distributing prostibots, the only "women" over whom he has any control. The manufactured women, these "slut machines" like the "Jasmine" of his mind, are lifeless coquettes, ready for the all-out assaults on their no-no bits. But there's more going on behind the scenes, as the prostibots aren't quite real enough. Hitting the reset button on living women, erasing their minds and resetting them with a fixed phallic fixation, Positron Prison is ready to sell, sell, sell to the highest bidder. And Stan/ Waldo is rebranded as Elvis on his escape to Vegas where things couldn't possibly get better than what's been happening in Consilience.

  24. 5 out of 5

    David Grieve

    Another dystopian future thriller from Margaret Atwood. Lacks some of the depth of her other stories but is nonetheless an excellent, thought-provoking read. Set in an era when parts of the US are suffering huge deprivation, with few jobs and lawless gangs a couple forced to live in their car can see no future, beyond her part time bar job. The an opportunity comes to join a closed community where the residents spend one month living in a modern town and working and the next month in prison, swap Another dystopian future thriller from Margaret Atwood. Lacks some of the depth of her other stories but is nonetheless an excellent, thought-provoking read. Set in an era when parts of the US are suffering huge deprivation, with few jobs and lawless gangs a couple forced to live in their car can see no future, beyond her part time bar job. The an opportunity comes to join a closed community where the residents spend one month living in a modern town and working and the next month in prison, swapping with their alternates who then live in their house for the month. And so on. Needless to say, all is not as it seems. A clever idea and some lovely touches from our current era and recent history thrown in for interest and comedy value.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    the latest installment in the Positron serials finds Stan and Charmaine dealing with their new positions in life. Charmaine is expected to mourn for Stan, who she thinks is dead by her own hand, while being hit on by the "big cheese" of Positron. Stan finds himself in on a secret mission to bring down the system and ends the installment packed away in a box of sex bots dressed as Elvis. very bizarre stories about Atwood's idea of a social experiment in which people live half their lives in jail the latest installment in the Positron serials finds Stan and Charmaine dealing with their new positions in life. Charmaine is expected to mourn for Stan, who she thinks is dead by her own hand, while being hit on by the "big cheese" of Positron. Stan finds himself in on a secret mission to bring down the system and ends the installment packed away in a box of sex bots dressed as Elvis. very bizarre stories about Atwood's idea of a social experiment in which people live half their lives in jail and half their lives working for the new system. the world could be very scary indeed without civil liberties.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I'm a big fan of Atwood. This one was wonderful too, in its own way. The humor in it was unusual in my experience with this author, but there were laugh out loud moments thrown into the mix. In this dystopian existence we see sexual obsessions catered to and manipulated in new ways. I listened to this on a CD read alternately by a man and a woman for Stan and Charmaine - they made these characters come alive. I see now that this is a series, and that wasn't apparent to me from the information on t I'm a big fan of Atwood. This one was wonderful too, in its own way. The humor in it was unusual in my experience with this author, but there were laugh out loud moments thrown into the mix. In this dystopian existence we see sexual obsessions catered to and manipulated in new ways. I listened to this on a CD read alternately by a man and a woman for Stan and Charmaine - they made these characters come alive. I see now that this is a series, and that wasn't apparent to me from the information on the CD case. It seems to me that all episodes must have been included in this 10- disk version

  27. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    The latest chapter in Atwood's experiment with serialized fiction. I think the original may still be my favorite, but I am interested in where this is headed. Clearly, the next chapter will take place in Vegas, and I'm intrigued to see what that looks like in this universe. I like that this started out as a short story, then was marketed as a trilogy, and now we're headed for chapter 5 (which may be the long-awaited Moppet Shop). Of course this is really just like a placeholder for me until I ca The latest chapter in Atwood's experiment with serialized fiction. I think the original may still be my favorite, but I am interested in where this is headed. Clearly, the next chapter will take place in Vegas, and I'm intrigued to see what that looks like in this universe. I like that this started out as a short story, then was marketed as a trilogy, and now we're headed for chapter 5 (which may be the long-awaited Moppet Shop). Of course this is really just like a placeholder for me until I can get my hands on MaddAddam!

  28. 4 out of 5

    dust

    These episodes continue to be far too short. I have an intense love-hate relationship with serialization but oh my god am I waiting for the next one in anticipation. (How did I go so long without realizing this was out already?) That said! Not one of the best in the series, so far, but it continues to be intriguing and more than worth the time it takes to read them. There were a few things clicking more into place, and we're really getting somewhere after the general slowdown of the third install These episodes continue to be far too short. I have an intense love-hate relationship with serialization but oh my god am I waiting for the next one in anticipation. (How did I go so long without realizing this was out already?) That said! Not one of the best in the series, so far, but it continues to be intriguing and more than worth the time it takes to read them. There were a few things clicking more into place, and we're really getting somewhere after the general slowdown of the third installment (though that continues to be my favourite).

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    I had already read some of this novel. Atwood has done it again! She creates exquisitely provocative dystopias that speak to issues of contemporary life. Here, the catastrophic economic collapse has led to an insider/outsider solution that creates productive and protected lives for the initiates in a prison (figuratively and literally in this story--no missing Atwood's intent) from which there is no escape. The hero and heroine will thrive in the clockwork system only as long as they are working I had already read some of this novel. Atwood has done it again! She creates exquisitely provocative dystopias that speak to issues of contemporary life. Here, the catastrophic economic collapse has led to an insider/outsider solution that creates productive and protected lives for the initiates in a prison (figuratively and literally in this story--no missing Atwood's intent) from which there is no escape. The hero and heroine will thrive in the clockwork system only as long as they are working parts. The only escape is death.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Erin (PT)

    It's so hard to say anything meaningful about these "episodes", since it's still a story in progress and, as yet, we have more questions than answers. I still feel like this lacks the lived in feeling and verisimilitude of Atwood's other works, but I am still willing & interested to see where it goes and it does finally feel like things are going somewhere, even if the pawn-like nature of our two POV characters gives us no real indication of where. It's so hard to say anything meaningful about these "episodes", since it's still a story in progress and, as yet, we have more questions than answers. I still feel like this lacks the lived in feeling and verisimilitude of Atwood's other works, but I am still willing & interested to see where it goes and it does finally feel like things are going somewhere, even if the pawn-like nature of our two POV characters gives us no real indication of where.

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