Tuesday, September 10, 2013

MaddAddam: Is There Also a Palindromedary?

Andrew Sean Greer tells us in a book review, "Final Showdown" (NYT, September 6, 2013), that Margaret Atwood has published the third volume of her apocalyptic trilogy, this third one depicting a post-apocalyptic, biogenetically transformed world: MaddAddam (the first two volumes being Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood). I've not read any of the three, but I want to read them all after reading this:
Atwood's prose miraculously balances humor, outrage and beauty. A simple description becomes both chilling and sublime: "They set out the next morning just at sunrise. The vultures that top the taller, deader trees are spreading their black wings so the dew on them will evaporate; they're waiting for the thermals to help them lift and spiral. Crows are passing the rumors, one rough syllable at a time. The smaller birds are stirring, beginning to cheep and trill; pink cloud filaments float above the eastern horizon, brightening to gold at the lower edges." In so much genre fiction, language is sacrificed to plot and invention. It's a pleasure to read a futuristic novel whose celebration of beauty extends to the words themselves. And words are very important here; by the moving end of "Madd­Addam," we understand how language and writing produced the beautiful fiction that described our ­beginnings.
I read these words and ordered the first volume as an e-book on my iPad -- and that's why I'm blogging on this review today.

Well, that and because I liked the Buzelli art above . . .

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At 7:55 AM, Blogger Able said...

I can't disagree on her prose however, having slogged my way through 'The Handmaid's Tale' and 'Oryx and Crake' I can only say her fascination with 'patriarchy' and 'Christian dominated', the feminist nightmares, gets a little old quickly, so I'll await your thoughts on this one.

Imagine a story where every female is perfect but put down, and everyone not a secularist is a rabid, closet, mass murderer, well that's almost it (the only worse author for this is Frederic Rich and his laughable 'Christian Nation', fast paced, flowing, beautifully written paranoid ramblings).

A comment elsewhere, describing Mr Rich' work, sums them both up for me:

"... doesn't care what you think .. as (s)he believes you're too stupid to be able to read it"

At 11:39 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Interesting observations. I also slogged through The Handmaiden's Tale, but I saw an intriguing possibility, namely, that the story was really about Islamic theocracy, a hidden critique of it, in fact, which she could write without endangering her life.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:27 PM, Blogger Able said...

I'm not sure. I believe she describes herself as a 'strict agnostic' and as such finds any/all theisms 'distasteful', including atheisms, which she describes as a religion also(?). Is it likely she would single out one particular flavour of theism to target?

Apparently atheists are theists because you can't 'test what cannot be tested', there can be no definitive knowledge(?) I liked a comment elsewhere in response:

"maybe ... should consider that atheism is a theism just like not collecting stamps is a hobby"

For the record I class myself as a 'common or garden variety agnostic' - I wonder, question but doubt - but when people start shooting at me I'll be on my knees just like a almost everyone else, just in case! (Knowing my luck the Buddhists will be right and I'll come back as a politician).

At 6:27 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

But Atwood knows that Christianity has no sect like the one depicted in the Tale, whereas Islam has many. At the very least, she was able to strike two birds with one stone.

Jeffery Hodges

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