Novel Nuggets – The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

Title: The Heart Goes LastNovel Nuggets Button
Author: Margaret Atwood
ISBN: 9780385540353
No. of Pages: 320
Genre: Science Fiction
Origins: Nan A. Talese
Release Date: 29 September 2015

Synopsis:

“Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of an economic and social collapse. Job loss has forced them to live in their car, leaving them vulnerable to roving gangs. They desperately need to turn their situation around—and fast. The Positron Project in the town of Consilience seems to be the answer to their prayers. No one is unemployed and everyone gets a comfortable, clean house to live in . . . for six months out of the year. On alternating months, residents of Consilience must leave their homes and function as inmates in the Positron prison system. Once their month of service in the prison is completed, they can return to their ‘civilian’ homes.

At first, this doesn’t seem like too much of a sacrifice to make in order to have a roof over one’s head and food to eat. But when Charmaine becomes romantically involved with the man who lives in their house during the months when she and Stan are in the prison, a series of troubling events unfolds, putting Stan’s life in danger. With each passing day, Positron looks less like a prayer answered and more like a chilling prophecy fulfilled.”

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

Charmaine and Stan are equal parts comical and pathetic in their desires for something better. The story itself delves into a weird world of self-sustaining communities, extreme poverty, corruption, and desperation. Throw in a few sexbots, and add to that a cluelessness on the part of both Charmaine and Stan, and the result is a bitingly humorous story meant to inspire discussion as well as entertain. In true black comedy fashion, the story ends on a particularly bitter note that is ominous but yet perfectly sums up the entire novel. The Heart Goes Last is not as serious as some of her other novels, which may turn off some of Ms. Atwood’s fans, but it is an interesting addition to her body of work. In a weird sort of way, I really loved this quirky but dark novel.

 

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