Nan A. Talese
326 pages, $26.95
Review by Mary Akers
As a thirty-year fan of Margaret Atwood, I eagerly purchased the first few episodes of The Heart Goes Last back in 2012 at Byliner, a reader’s website, when the working title was “Positron” and Atwood was still figuring out what form the story would take. When it grew into a novel and the opportunity arose to review it, I jumped at the chance.
As the novel opens, Stan and Charmaine are down-on-their-luck newlyweds. They have lost their home, their jobs, and are living out of their “third-hand Honda,” doing their best to avoid gangs of marauding rust-belt thugs after a financial crisis leaves middle class citizens marooned in a sea of debt and desperation. Continue reading
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Review by Corey Pentoney
When I first picked up A Handmaid’s Tale a few years ago—I know, I’m behind the times, here—I did so because it was a classic and had been recommended to me time and time again. As the familiar story goes, I fell in love with it, and have read it every year since, my already slightly ragged copy all the worse for wear for it.
The first time I read the book, the craft of Atwood’s writing was what kept me going, her ability to get into the head of her character, Offred, and stay glued there, is impeccable. With very little else to do as a woman in the Republic of Gilead, Offred spends much of her time scrutinizing every detail of her surroundings and remembering what she can of the past. “A chair, a table, a lamp. Above, on the white ceiling, a relief ornament in the shape of a wreath, and in the center of it a blank space, plastered over, like the place a in a face where the eye has been taken out.” So she describes her living quarters with Fred, from whom she takes her name. Offred’s attention to detail is second to none, and the way she fleshes out the world for the reader keeps you hooked from page to page. Continue reading