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A classic Atwood dystopia morphs into a savage, surreal adventure that examines self-deception and corporate control. Y ou make the dystopia you deserve.
The US is a rustbelt. Charmaine and Stan — we never learn their surname, which encourages a slightly patronising relationship with them — started out well: she worked for Ruby Slippers Retirement Homes and Clinics; he was in quality control at Dimple Robotics. Now they live in their car, just two ordinary Americans down on their luck.
They have each other. They seem a little naive in the way they maintain their love as a bulwark against the world; and it is this naivety that makes them vulnerable when, in desperation, they Positron, a socioeconomic experiment based around a privately funded postmodern prison.
At Positron everyone is employed to serve a month as an inmate and a month as staff, turn and turn about. No one has committed a crime, but everyone has somehow been rendered guilty. Stan, more of a sceptic, runs the prison chicken farm. Inside the prison management, no one is what they seem. Would she have worn black lace, dyed her hair red, sung torch songs? The Heart Goes Lastoriginally written as an ebook serial, is a jarring, rewardingly strange piece of work. At first a classic Atwood dystopia, rationally imagined and developed, it relaxes suddenly into a kind of surrealist adventure.THE NIGHT SHIFT (OVERTIME): fight night w/ roman atwood + everyone
The satirical impulse foregrounds itself. Narrative drive ramps up, but in the service of something less like a novel than a political cartoon, in which raw inventiveness undercuts the very idea of story, revealing it to have been a fairly flimsy disguise all along. Atwood allows her sense of the absurd its full elbow room; her cheerfully caustic contempt — bestowed even-handedly on contemporary economics, retro culture, and the social and neurological determination of identity — goes unrestrained.
During production the as-yet headless bodies of the prostibots, writhing and grinding through a test sequence, smell of plastic, a problem cured later in the process by the addition of an artificial pheromone. At that stage the customer is offered an additional choice of scent: orange blossom, rose, ylang-ylang, chocolate pudding or Old Spice. Jubilant comedy of errors, bizarre bedroom farce, SF prison-break thriller, psychedelic 60s crime caper: The Heart Goes Last scampers in and out of all of these genres, pausing only to quote Milton Meet sex Atwood the loss of Eden or Shakespeare on weddings.
But his sense that he could somehow have avoided all that is rhetoric. Book of the day Margaret Atwood. Sense of the absurd … Margaret Atwood. M John Harrison. Wed 23 Sep Margaret Atwood: we are double-plus unfree. Topics Margaret Atwood Book of the day Fiction reviews. Reuse this content.Meet sex Atwood
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