Review: The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

Review: The Heart Goes Last by Margaret AtwoodTitle: The Heart Goes Last (Positron)
Author: Margaret Atwood
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Publication Date: September 29, 2015

four-stars
Summary (from Goodreads):

Margaret Atwood puts the human heart to the ultimate test in an utterly brilliant new novel that is as visionary as The Handmaid's Tale and as richly imagined as The Blind Assassin.

Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of an economic and social collapse. Job loss has forced them to live in their car, leaving them vulnerable to roving gangs. They desperately need to turn their situation around - and fast. The Positron Project in the town of Consilience seems to be the answer to their prayers. No one is unemployed and everyone gets a comfortable, clean house to live in... for six months out of the year. On alternating months, residents of Consilience must leave their homes and function as inmates in the Positron prison system. Once their month of service in the prison is completed, they can return to their "civilian" homes.

At first, this doesn't seem like too much of a sacrifice to make in order to have a roof over one's head and food to eat. But when Charmaine becomes romantically involved with the man who lives in their house during the months when she and Stan are in the prison, a series of troubling events unfolds, putting Stan's life in danger. With each passing day, Positron looks less like a prayer answered and more like a chilling prophecy fulfilled.

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❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃

Review: The Heart Goes Last

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood takes the reader on a veritable roller coaster ride. In classic Atwood style, she has created a world that is downright frightening. The alternating perspectives add depth to the story and the development of the characters. However, the sexual content that appears in the story goes a little bit too far for my taste.

When The Heart Goes Last begins, the time is set not too far away from present day society. The two main characters, Stan and Charmaine, are destitute and living on the edge in an old relic of a car. These scenes are so vividly depicted that it will give the reader nightmares. Once Stan and Charmaine believe that they have climbed out of a hole, this so-called utopian world turns into its own sort of terror. Just as you are getting comfortable with the story, Atwood leads you up a steep hill. Then, she jerks you into a completely new direction. The brilliance of her writing is just that way.

❀ Dual Perspectives

This novel has been written from the perspective of two characters. this gives a real sense of the inner thoughts of Stan and Charmaine. This couple are real polar opposites. Atwood gives differing view points, and helps to give greater detail to the world within the novel this way. Without spoiling the plot, this different outlooks allow the reader to really delve deep into the Consilience society and the aftermath that occurs once the ride begins.

❀ Fantastic World-Building

The fantastic writing and world building are really enjoyable aspects of the book. However, the sexuality that makes its way into the plot goes in a direction that might make the reader uncomfortable. I suppose that this is exactly Atwood’s goal here, to make the reader squirm. There are certainly some unique sexual practices in the novel. If reading books that have sexual deviance in them bothers you, you may not enjoy certain aspects of this story.

The Heart Goes Last is an incredibly written novel that goes deep into a scary world in the not-too-distant future. The alternating perspectives add layers to the plot that gives the reader a detailed view of the characters and events. This novel does, however, contain a large amount of sexual content that some may find disturbing. Atwood has certainly created a work of speculative fiction here, as the reader definitely has lots to ponder with this book.

About Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood, whose work has been published in thirty-five countries, is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. In addition to The Handmaid’s Tale, her novels include Cat’s Eye, short-listed for the 1989 Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; Oryx and Crake, short-listed for the 2003 Man Booker Prize; The Year of the Flood; and MaddAddam. She is the recipient of the Los Angeles Times Innovator’s Award, and lives in Toronto with the writer Graeme Gibson.

9 thoughts on “Review: The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

  1. debk987 says:

    This is one I haven’t heard of before but wow what a very strange book indeed… I think I’ll skip this one as it sounds a little too out of my taste

  2. corrallingbooks says:

    The synopsis sounds so cool! I’ve never actually heard of this book before…but I feel kinda mixed about it after your review – I feel like I’d probably be in over my head haha 🙂

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