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Extended Audio Sample The Year of the Flood, by Margaret Atwood Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (26,766 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Margaret Atwood Narrator: Bernadette Dunne, Katie MacNichol, Mark Bramhall Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The MaddAddam Trilogy Release Date:
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The second in a trilogy from Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood is a dystopic masterpiece and a testament to her visionary power.

The times and species have been changing at a rapid rate, and the social compact is wearing as thin as environmental stability. Adam One, the kindly leader of the God’s Gardeners—a religion devoted to the melding of science and religion, as well as the preservation of all plant and animal life—has long predicted a natural disaster that will alter Earth as we know it. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women have survived: Ren, a young trapeze dancer locked inside the high-end sex club Scales and Tails, and Toby, a God’s Gardener barricaded inside a luxurious spa where many of the treatments are edible.

Have others survived? Ren’s bioartist friend Amanda? Zeb, her eco-fighter stepfather? Her onetime lover, Jimmy? Or the murderous Painballers, survivors of the mutual-elimination Painball prison? Not to mention the shadowy, corrupt policing force of the ruling powers.

Meanwhile, gene-spliced life forms are proliferating: the lion/lamb blends, the Mo’hair sheep with human hair, the pigs with human brain tissue. As Adam One and his intrepid hemp-clad band make their way through this strange new world, Ren and Toby will have to decide on their next move. They can’t stay locked away.

By turns dark, tender, violent, thoughtful, and uneasily hilarious, The Year of the Flood is Atwood at her most brilliant and inventive.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Atwood knows how to show us ourselves, but the mirror she holds up to life does more than reflect—it’s like one of those mirrors made with mercury that gives us both a deepening and a distorting effect, allowing both the depths of human nature and its potential mutations. We don’t know how we will evolve, or if we will evolve at all. The Year of the Flood isn’t prophecy, but it is eerily possible.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • A gripping and visceral book that showcases the pure storytelling talents she displayed with such verve in her 2000 novel, The Blind Assassin. Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
  • "Atwood is funny and clever, such a good writer and real thinker.... As ever with Atwood, it is friendship between women that is noted and celebrated - friendship not without its jealousies but friendship that survives rivalry and disappointment, and has a generosity that at the end of the novel allows for hope.... We don't know how [human nature] will evolve, or if we will evolve at all. The Year of the Flood isn't prophecy, but it is eerily plausible. Jeanette Winterson, The New York Time Book Review
  • "Canada's greatest living novelist undoubtedly knows how to tell a gripping story, as fans of The Blind Assassin and A Handmaid's Tale already know. But here there's a serious message too: Look at what we're doing right now to our world, to nature, to ourselves. If this goes on... The Washington Post
  • One of the versatile Atwood's authorial calling cards, as far back as her early novel The Handmaid's Tale, has been that of ruthless investigator, never hesitating to cut to bone in describing real-as-life dystopias. In this work, however, she also appears to be having wild fun, gunning it like a daredevil race-car driver: The Year of the Flood serves as an old-fashioned alarm (moral, ecological), a zombie thriller and a series of swashbuckling pokes at modern institutions.... To Atwood's supreme credit, her story is enthralling.... Memorable characters, a tightly controlled pace and shockingly plausible scenes make it fly - to a mysterious, skin-prickling ending. If Atwood also inspires ways to prevent such a gruesomely likely future, we'll owe her far more than literary admiration. San Francisco Chronicle
  • Atwood unflinchingly holds aloft the sanctity of life - for all species - and the human quest for love. Chicago Sun-Times
  • The Year of the Flood is timely and gripping.... Atwood creates a totally believable futuristic world in which people, for the most part, are the beasts. Those who have retained their humanity are the outlaws. But no matter what the setting, Atwood just tells a good story, one filled with suspense and even levity. USA Today
  • Atwood scores a 10 when it comes to creating, from the stragglers of the old one, a whole new world.... Toby, Ren, and their lost-soul friend Amanda, would be sympathetic characters in any setting. That Atwood conjures them into this madcap setting, where vultures open 'like black umbrellas,' misdeeds are punished by kidney removal, and bracelets are made of jellyfish, makes us love them even more. Philadelphia Inquirer
  • The Year of the Flood consistently does what one expects of any work by Margaret Atwood: It entertains, spins out suspense and rewards a reader's basic impulse, all the while subtly and expertly maintaining its literary respectability. Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • [The Year of the Flood] shows the Nobel Prize-worthy Atwood … at the pinnacle of her prodigious creative powers. Her weigh-in on the breakdown of the social covenant comes during a time of historic global change that her story eerily both mirrors and foretells. Elle Magazine
  • "There is gallows humor, and then there is Margaret Atwood. The masterful Canadian writer is emerging as literature's queen of the apocalypse. And the dark visions Atwood again summons in The Year of the Flood prove quite illuminating. Associated Press
  • Profoundly imagined. . . . This is a gutsy and expansive novel, rich with ideas and conceits. Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • "Atwood orchestrates her narratives into a heart-pounding, mysterious and surprisingly touching finale. She enchants us so convincingly that after her spell is over, the 'real' world seems temporarily transformed. The Year of the Flood is both a warning and a gift. NPR.org
  • Flood's relentlessly fabulous inventions and despondent predictions become almost unbearable, especially told in such gorgeously trenchant prose. In this way, the book recalls Atwood's 1985 masterpiece, The Handmaid's Tale. TimeOut New York (five stars)
  • “Atwood’s mischievous, suspenseful, and sagacious dystopian novel follows the trajectory of current environmental debacles to a shattering possible conclusion with passionate concern and arch humor.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “[Atwood] is emerging as literature’s queen of the apocalypse…Illuminating…Gripping and scary, provocative and quite humorous.”

    Associated Press

  • “[An] entertaining, often mesmerizing, consciousness-raising novel…This is a work that amuses, informs, enlightens, and, remarkably, also challenges its readers to be better persons.”

    San Antonio Express-News

  • “With Atwood’s characteristic brainy humor…The Year of the Flood consistently does what one expects of any work by Margaret Atwood: It entertains, spins out suspense, and rewards a reader’s basic impulse, all the while subtly and expertly maintaining its literary respectability.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • “Vintage Atwood: It’s artfully edgy, casting a pitiless eye on her fellow creatures…A powerful indictment of the way human beings have long treated the planet and themselves…The book takes big risks.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Richly imagined…Thought-provoking, unexpectedly funny, and utterly original.”

    Denver Post

  • “Atwood’s latest is a fiercely imagined tale of suffering that rivals Job’s…As dark as Atwood’s vision may be, the bonds among her women give her work a bittersweet power.”

    People

  • “Atwood scores a 10.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • “Atwood is a wry wizard at world-building…Fans…should grab a biohazard suit, crawl into a hermetically sealed fallout shelter, and dive right in.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “Heart-pounding, mysterious, and surprisingly touching…She enchants us so convincingly that after her spell is over, the ‘real’ world seems temporarily transformed. The Year of the Flood is both a warning and a gift.”

    NPR

  • “Prodigiously imaginative and outrageously funny…Atwood’s wit is biting…Her brilliance dazzles.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “Thought-provoking, beautifully constructed, and rich with the imaginative flourishes for which [Atwood] is rightly famous…A hugely entertaining and satisfying read.”

    Irish Independent

  • “Atwood spins the most arresting alternate mythologies to our hell-bent world…The Year of the Flood is a slap-happy romp through the end times. Stuffed with cornball hymns, genetic mutations worthy of Thomas Pynchon, and a pharmaceutical company run amok, it reads like dystopia verging on satire. She may be imagining a world in flames, but she’s doing it with a dark cackle.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Atwood renders this civilization and these two lives within it with tenderness and insight, a healthy dread, and a guarded humor.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “Enthralling…Memorable characters, a tightly controlled pace and shockingly plausible scenes make it fly—to a mysterious, skin-prickling ending.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Timely and gripping…Atwood tells a good story, one filled with suspense and even levity.”

    USA Today

  • “Leave it to Atwood to find humor in a post-apocalyptic world as she covertly, and brilliantly, addresses questions of how we need to live on an imperiled planet.”

    Kansas City Star

  • “Another stimulating dystopia from this always-provocative author, whose complex, deeply involving characters inhabit a bizarre yet frighteningly believable future.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A gripping read, revealing Atwood in her most masterful storytelling mode…The book is a cracked mirror of the times we live in.”

    Gazette

  • “By its last half The Year of the Flood has turned into a heart-pounding thriller…The book regularly undercuts the horrific with touches of comedy…and Atwood superbly captures the voices and attitudes of the serious Adam One, the frivolous Lucerne, the resourceful Toby, and the rather simple-minded and fragile Ren. Canada’s greatest living novelist undoubtedly knows how to tell a gripping story, as fans of The Blind Assassin and The Handmaid’s Tale already know. But here there’s a serious message, too: Look at what we’re doing right now to our world, to nature, to ourselves. If this goes on…”

    Washington Post Book World

  • Atwood's latest is a fiercely imagined tale of suffering that rivals Job's.... As dark as Atwood's vision may be, the bonds among her women giver he work a bittersweet power. People
  • Prodigiously imaginative and outrageously funny. The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
  • "This is a work that amuses, informs, enlightens and, remarkably, also challenges its readers to be better persons. San Antonio Express-News
    "Atwood's mischievous, suspenseful, and sagacious dystopian novel follows the trajectory of current environmental debacles to a shattering possible conclusion with passionate concern and arch humor.
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Longlisted for the 2011 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
  • Selected for the October 2009 Indie Next List
  • An ALA Notable Book Finalist for Fiction
  • One of the 2009 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Susan Marks | 2/18/2014

    " Finally finished "Oryx and Crake" and picked this right up afterwards. Liked this one even better than "Oryx". Loved seeing each story from another's eyes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Wendy | 2/12/2014

    " MEH. Gets interesting in the final third, when the the world and Characters of Oryx and Crake really become visible, and when the flash-forwards/flashbacks are finally done. Lacked a strong, single narrative. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Marian | 2/5/2014

    " I always liked Margaret Atwood, but did not imagine that I could get so involved in an apocalyptic novel like this one - in fact am about to start the "sidequel" or whatever it's called. Today's world is taken to its logical post-pandemic conclusion(s), so much so that I was sometimes astounded at how realistic this future seems. The characters are vivid and their situations moving. Now on to the next (previous) book... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Dianne | 1/28/2014

    " Atwood is a beautiful writer; a master at weaving the past and present of her chadacters. But most importantly this book has an engaging plot to house her written talents "

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