The Year of the Flood has received mixed reviews internationally. This may be partly due to its post-apocalyptic, sustainability theme and its mixture of the homey arts and crafts, its quasi-religious tone, and its sometimes cartoonish characters. Atwood creates a very thorough fictional world, with immediate immersion in insider jokes, invented or other appropriate names, and an adventure, survival narrative. The main characters are Toby, escapee from brutal employment, a herb grower with the Gardeners, then a worker in the AnooYoo spa; Ren, a younger, pole-dancing trapeze artist and sex worker; Adam One, the leader of God’s Gardeners; and Zeb, Ren’s street-fighting eco-warrior stepfather. The novel opens in Year 25, historically the same year as Oryx and Crake. It is the moment of a divided society and a divided city. It is also a time suffering from the results of an ultimately deadly, reckless experimentation with biotechnology, coupled with a widespread social lack of any investment or belief in sustainability, ecological balance or natural harmonious existence.
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