The Year of the Flood

Written by Margaret Atwood
Review by Marilyn Sherlock

Described as an epic of biblical proportions, The Year of the Flood is a tale set in a purely imaginary span at the end of the world. Gene-splicing is normal, animals have been recreated from mixing the species and pigs have human DNA. God’s gardeners, a religious group dedicated to living totally from the natural world, have long predicted a waterless flood but are tolerated by the ruling power, the Corpse Corps, as they are not considered a threat to the world as it is. The flood happens, eliminating most human life with the exception at the opening of the book of two women.

Apart from the fact that this purports to mirror the Creation and the subsequent fall of mankind ending in Noah’s flood, I can see no justification for it being included in the genre of historical fiction except perhaps under historical fantasy.

Margaret Atwood won the Man Booker prize in 2000 and has been shortlisted on other occasions. An epic this may prove to be and if you are a devotee of books that go on to win the Man Booker, you may well enjoy this one, but I am afraid that it was not for me.