I arrived an hour early at Southminster United Church in Ottawa on Tuesday 24 September 2013. Already there was a line for the event One on One with Margaret Atwood. Before getting to my seat, I was given 4 buttons: “Margaret Atwood MaddAddam: See the Future, Seek the Truth”. This was the first time I was handed a gift at a literary event. I thought this was a great souvenir, and a special way to mark the release of the third and final book of the MaddAddam trilogy. The church was also a fitting location for this event since The Year of the Flood was all about the God’s Gardeners, a cult-like organization recruiting new members to prepare for the Waterless Flood, a pandemic that will end up killing most of the human race.
Margaret Atwood was her usual self with her wild curly hair and wicked sense of humor. She talked about MaddAddam of course, but she also sang a few God’s Gardeners hymns and explained how women’s physical appearance was still important in her imagined future. In addition, science being a main theme in the trilogy, the author mentioned that she couldn’t understand why Canadians do not have access to research since scientists are working for the government, and we are basically paying their salary with our taxes. But she said politicians were more concerned about labels (whether they were representative of the left or right parties) rather than actual current issues. All of this made for an engaging and lively event that ended too quickly.
MaddAddam starts where Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood ended. It tells the story of the survivors of the pandemic, and flashbacks shed some light on Zeb’s enigmatic character. I enjoyed learning more about Zeb’s past, but the narrative for the post-apocalyptic story was slow going. It’s not until the last 50 pages or so that we got some action, and it seemed rushed and incomplete. However, I was blown away by the ending that revealed a possibility that I might not have otherwise thought of.
Fun facts about the book and the author:
- The game Intestinal Parasites actually exists: fans of the MaddAddam trilogy created an app that you can download on your phone or tablet.
- In MaddAddam, men are sporting an original facial hair style called the hairy waffle.
- The character Margaret Atwood identifies the most with in the trilogy is Toby.
- The author was influenced by Ray Bradbury and George Orwell.
About the author and her work: Margaret Atwood’s Website
To read my review of the first book in the MaddAddam Trilogy: Oryx and Crake
To read my review of the second book in the MaddAddam Trilogy: The Year of the Flood
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