The heart goes last : a novel / Margaret Atwood.

Several years after the world's brutal economic collapse, Stan and Charmaine, a married couple struggling to stay afloat, hear about the Positron Project in the town of Consilience, an experiment in cooperative living that appears to be the answer to their problems - to living in their car, to the l...

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Main Author: Atwood, Margaret, 1939-
Published: [Toronto] : McClelland & Stewart, c2015.
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Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Formerly well-employed homeowners, Charmaine and Stan are now living in their cramped, smelly car, and they're lucky. After the whole system fell to pieces, most Americans are without work, shelter, or transportation, and many are willing to kill for a vehicle. As Stan becomes increasingly frantic, his rage stoked by the cushiness of his outlaw brother's life, Charmaine remains chirpy and upbeat, especially when she sees an ad for the Positron Project. She's sure it's the perfect solution, and readers will sense that they're in for some delectably caustic dystopian fiction. Sure enough, after the couple is accepted into Positron's maximum-security community, they learn that they'll spend one month in their comfortable little home, then one month separately incarcerated, working at assigned jobs, while another couple lives in the house. This lulling, numbing routine keeps them well-fed, under constant surveillance, and enslaved. So, naturally, everything goes devilishly awry. Ever-inventive, astutely observant, and drolly ironic, Atwood (Stone Mattress, 2014) unfurls a riotous plot of corporate rule, erotic mayhem, sexbots, brain-washing, murder, and Elvis and Marilyn impersonators. Her bristling characters range from right-on caricatures to unpredictably complicated individuals, especially the unnerving Charmaine. Atwood's ribald carnival of crazy deftly examines fear and the temptation to trade the confusion of choice and freedom for security, whatever the cost. This laser-sharp, hilariously campy, and swiftly flowing satire delves deeply into our desires, vices, biases, and contradictions, bringing fresh, incisive comedy to the rising tide of postapocalyptic fiction--including, most recently, The Subprimes (2015) and The Blondes (2015) in which Atwood has long been a clarion voice. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Atwood's prominence ensures big interest, and promotional efforts will showcase the polish, dark humor, and quicksilver brilliance of her latest provoking novel.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In the dystopian landscape of the unflappable Atwood's (Stone Mattress) latest novel, there are "not enough jobs, and too many people," which drives married couple Stan and Charmaine to become interested in the Positron Project, a community that purports to have achieved harmony. There is a catch, as Positron leader Ed explains: citizens are required to share their home with other couples, alternating each month between time in prison and time at home. It's an odd arrangement, but one that temporarily satisfies Charmaine and Stan-until they each fall in love with the alternates they're supposed to never see; their infatuations put the entire Positron arrangement into question. Atwood is fond of intricate plot work, and the novel takes a long time to set up the action, but once it hits the last third, it gains an unstoppable momentum. The novel is full of sly moments of peripeteia and lots of sex, which play alongside larger ideas about the hidden monsters lurking in facile totalitarianism, and, as implied by the title, the ability of the heart to keep fighting despite long odds. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Newlyweds Stan and Charmaine were passed over by the American dream. An economic collapse (an extreme fictionalization of the 2008 financial crisis) made jobs scarce and plunged once pleasant suburban communities into squalor. After losing their home, Stan and Charmaine are living in their car and fighting off looters. The couple are so desperate for a better life that they join the experimental community of Consilience, despite it being painfully obvious that Consilience is too good to be true. After a promising beginning, Atwood's narrative soon shows the strain of being an expanded compilation of five previously published serial novellas. Listeners will be surprised to find that what first appears to be speculative fiction in the vein of Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale devolves into a campy sexual farce complete with sadomasochism and men lusting after chickens. Unfortunately, the characters aren't fascinating enough to sustain the sharp left turn, especially for the 12 hours of this audiobook's run time. Mark Deakins and Cassandra Campbell narrate Stan's and Charmaine's alternating chapters effectively. -VERDICT -Atwood's popularity is likely to lead to high demand in public libraries. Fans of the author's "MaddAddam" trilogy may enjoy.-Julie Judkins, Univ. of North Texas, Denton © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.