Cli-Fi Novel Review – The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

26th April 2017

The Year of the Flood is the most immersive ‘cli-fi’ book I have read to date. Whilst I am slightly unsure about using the term cli-fi to describe this novel, it does present a dystopian future, whereby human influence has caused mass environmental degradation. Corporations are in charge, and get away with a great deal of corruption and immoral practices, including changing the genetic make-up of animals.

What scares me about this book, is how a lot of things mentioned are not a million miles away from where we are today. If fiction has the power to make us reflect on our current pathway and change direction, then this is a book that policymakers should take notice of. Needless to say the plot was relevant and pacey, apart from the Sermons by Adam One, which drew me away from the action. That being said, these sermons tended to be about different ‘Saint’s Days’. Atwood cleverly uses the Saints Days to educate us about environmental campaigners and activists (after whom the Saint’s Days are named), such as Rachel Carson. The lay reader picking up this novel with little background environmental or cli-fi knowledge, may then be tempted to discover who these ‘Saints’ are and what they did, which is a very subtle and intelligent way of educating people.

The characters in the book are well thought out and believable. I now understand that this book is part of a trilogy; this being the second book (preceded by Oryx and Crake, and followed by MaddAddam). I am interested to see how these books tie together, as many articles discussing cli-fi novels recommend The Year of the Flood, yet few mention the other two books.

Whilst the ending wasn’t exactly what I anticipated or hoped for, this is my favourite cli-fi novel so far and one I’d definitely recommend. I’m hoping the loose ends are tied up in the final book of the trilogy – MaddAddam.