The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
Review by Jill
Margaret Atwood at her best, this dystopian novel harks back to her immensely popular The Handmaid’s Tale, though with a dark comedic twist.
The premise is simple- in a world where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, the wonderful new Positron project claims to save all. This bleak, all-to-near-future is in both social and economic decline, seeing Stan and Charmaine living in their car, wondering daily whether they will be attacked or worse.
Searching for a way out, the ever-positive Charmaine spots a life-changing advert: a house, secure jobs, the life she only too recently had- all for free. All the couple have to do is share their life with their Alternates on a monthly cycle. Month one- live in Positron, the epitome of perfect life; Month two- live in Consilience- a single sex prison.
Tempted by the good life, Stan ignores warnings from his underworld brother, but within a few months the seemingly strong relationship has been undermined by the all-encompassing desires to have sex with their alternates. Hiding the desires from one another leads the couple into dark territories, where what it means to be human is tested to the brink.
Gut-wrenching at times, a brilliant novel that will quell all existential ponderings.