Review – The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

Atwood does it again!

A dark and cautionary tale on the macabre nature of a glossy image of life in the suburbs. Set in a “not too far from reality” Detroit-like future, a desperate couple signs on for an experimental life in an experimental world that provides security, food, shelter, and a hope for the future. Yet hope turns into betrayal and a fight for survival in this twisted tale, full of social commentary and raises questions on what survival is, and how it should actually look, even with a glossy coat of paint.

Once again Margaret Atwood finds fears we didn’t know we had, and mixes them into a great dystopian story that is unbelievable, but possibility at the same time.

~Rebecca Lee Robinson

This book has floored me. I am left totally in awe of Margaret Atwood, but also kind of creeped out because only the strangest of minds would be able to produce ‘The Heart Goes Last’. In the wake of an economic collapse, chipper Charmaine and cynic Stan are practically unemployed and living in the car. When offered a spot in the Utopic town of Consilience, Charmaine is overwhelmed with gratitude while Stan remains a bit more hesitant. The town seems too perfect to be true, that is except for the bimonthly mandatory stay in Positron, the prison built inside of Consilience. This new utopia is based on the premise that prisons can be incredibly lucrative for the communities that host them– as long as the prison population and the civilian population balance each other out. Without wanting to attract such a large criminal element, the citizens of Consilience simply take turns in their roles inside and outside the prison. Charmaine and Stan are content, at first, until Charmaine starts a passionate affair with a dangerous man, and the couple soon find themselves the center of a ruthless game played without their knowledge or consent. But who are the players and what is it that they want? Charmaine and Stan soon find their marriage rocked to its core, and the basic tenants of their humanity are put to the test. The world set by Atwood in this novel is not as straight forward as what you’d find in A Handmaid’s Tale or the Maddadam Trilogy, but the end result is so rewarding. This book is totally different from what I’ve come to expect from Atwood, but I was not in the least disappointed. 

~Kelsey Myers

Ms. Atwood, I bow to your literary genius. When the world has gone downhill, to put it nicely, Stan and Charmaine are given a second chance at the life they used to have with the town of Consilience. Fresh water, clean homes, lawns to tend, and jobs are just a signature away; the only caveat is they must spend every other month in the prison that keeps the town up and running. Seems simple enough, but all isn’t what it is made out to be; and soon Stan & Charmaine are too far to back out. Amazing story that focuses on the anatomy of a relationship, and explores the idea of desires, even when we have what we want.

~Teresa Steele

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