“The answers you get from literature depend on the questions you pose” -Margaret Atwood
"The word is the making of the world." - Wallace Stevens
Saturday, April 10, 2010
The Year of the Flood, Anne of Green Gables
GOOD GRIEF! It’s been a while! What a crazy few months it’s been. Before we left Ohio, in between packing and saying goodbye to friends and family, I did manage to purchase and read The Year of the Flood cover to cover and I've been meaning to share it for ages. I’m so in awe of Margaret Atwood. It was worth the wait.
This novel takes place in the world of Oryx and Crake, giving you the story from the point of view of the God’s Gardeners, a quasi-religious, vegetarian eco cult who have been banned and are being persecuted and murdered. But the few survivors are still celebrating their ideas, their Saints’ Days to Dian Fossey, Farley Mowat, Mahatma Gandhi. As in Oryx and Crake, none of the characters can truly love. There is some link that is missing in all of them, that is not supplied by the culture running their lives. Jimmy, Lucerne; their emotions and understanding of reality are completely warped and stunted. Pollution is so thick, you need a mask to walk around the inner cities. Corporations own and run all of civilization's systems, there is no justice; prostitution companies recruit at schools; natural healthy food is practically unattainable. At one point in the story, when two of the characters are reunited, one warns the other after they hug that they must be more careful, that they look suspicious (pg. 299). Natural emotional attachments and reactions are dangerous to express. Every decent aspect of nature and humanity is being exterminated. Gene splicing is condoned on a huge scale, with religious fanatics creating half lion, half lamb creatures for no better reason than because they can. The only animals left are genetically altered human creations, like rakunks and pigoons with human brain cells. Lumiroses are still blooming and glowing in the dark on the lawns of people long dead from a human created bio-virus. It's a horrific, man-made world of survivors surviving the death of civilization. Coincidentally, Shaun and I watched The Road earlier tonight and it definitely stirred up the same emotions; the idea of "keeping the fire burning" despite all the horrible things happening around you. (I was furious with the Mother figure for bailing on her family like she did!) Alas, I have not read the Cormac McCarthy novel yet. Bad, I know! But it is officially on my reading list to be finished sometime this summer hopefully!
Since the move, I've also reread the Anne of Green Gables trilogy. Passing by my living room shelves a couple of weeks ago, I was feeling restless and the green photo cover appealed to me. There is no green here! Lots of blues and grays though, but I'm missing my cool, green woods of northeast Ohio. Somehow, reading about Anne's Lover's Lane, Lake of Shining Waters, and White Way of Delight cheered up my homesickness. Thanks Anne!