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MaddAddam: A Novel [Séquence inédite] [Anglais] [Relié]

Margaret Atwood

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Extrait

Egg

The Story of the Egg, and of Oryx and Crake, and how they made People and Animals; and of the Chaos; and of Snowman-the-Jimmy; and of the Smelly Bone and the coming of the Two Bad Men

In the beginning, you lived inside the Egg. That is where Crake made you.

Yes, good, kind Crake. Please stop singing or I can’t go on with the story.

The Egg was big and round and white, like half a bubble, and there were trees inside it with leaves and grass and berries. All the things you like to eat.

Yes, it rained inside the Egg.

No, there was not any thunder.

Because Crake did not want any thunder inside the Egg.

And all around the Egg was the chaos, with many, many people who were not like you.

Because they had an extra skin. That skin is called clothes. Yes, like mine.

And many of them were bad people who did cruel and hurtful things to one another, and also to the animals. Such as . . . We don’t need to talk about those things right now.

And Oryx was very sad about that, because the animals were her Children. And Crake was sad because Oryx was sad.

And the chaos was everywhere outside the Egg. But inside the Egg there was no chaos. It was peaceful there.

And Oryx came every day to teach you. She taught you what to eat, she taught you to make fire, she taught you about the animals, her Children. She taught you to purr if a person is hurt. And Crake watched over you.

Yes, good, kind Crake. Please stop singing. You don’t have to sing every time. I’m sure Crake likes it, but he also likes this story and he wants to hear the rest.

Then one day Crake got rid of the chaos and the hurtful people, to make Oryx happy, and to clear a safe place for you to live in.

Yes, that did make things smell very bad for a while.

And then Crake went to his own place, up in the sky, and Oryx went with him.

I don’t know why they went. It must have been a good reason. And they left Snowman-the-Jimmy to take care of you, and he brought you to the seashore. And on Fish Days you caught a fish for him, and he ate it.

I know you would never eat a fish, but Snowman-the-Jimmy is different.

Because he has to eat a fish or he would get very sick.

Because that is the way he is made.

Then one day Snowman-the-Jimmy went to see Crake. And when he came back, there was a hurt on his foot. And you purred on it, but it did not get better.

And then the two bad men came. They were left over from the chaos.

I don’t know why Crake didn’t clear them away. Maybe they were hiding under a bush, so he didn’t see them. But they’d caught Amanda, and they were doing cruel and hurtful things to her.

We don’t need to talk about those things right now.

And Snowman-the-Jimmy tried to stop them. And then I came, and Ren, and we caught the two bad men and tied them to a tree with a rope. Then we sat around the fire and ate soup. Snowman-the-Jimmy ate the soup, and Ren, and Amanda. Even the two bad men ate the soup.

Yes, there was a bone in the soup. Yes, it was a smelly bone.

I know you do not eat a smelly bone. But many of the Children of Oryx like to eat such bones. Bobkittens eat them, and rakunks, and pigoons, and liobams. They all eat smelly bones. And bears eat them.

I will tell you what a bear is later.

We don’t need to talk any more about smelly bones right now.

And as they were all eating the soup, you came with your torches, because you wanted to help Snowman-the-Jimmy, because of his hurt foot. And because you could tell there were some women who were blue, so you wanted to mate with them.

You didn’t understand about the bad men, and about why they had a rope on them. It is not your fault they ran away into the forest. Don’t cry.

Yes, Crake must be very angry with the bad men. Perhaps he will send some thunder.

Yes, good, kind Crake.

Please stop singing.



Rope

About the events of that evening--the events that set human malice loose in the world again--Toby later made two stories. The first story was the one she told out loud, to the Children of Crake; it had a happy outcome, or as happy as she could manage. The second, for herself alone, was not so cheerful. It was partly about her own idiocy, her failure to pay attention, but also it was about speed. Everything had happened so quickly.

She’d been tired, of course; she must have been suffering from an adrenalin plunge. After all, she’d been going strong for two days with a lot of stress and not much to eat.

The day before, she and Ren had left the safety of the MaddAddam cobb-house enclave that sheltered the few survivors from the global pandemic that had wiped out humanity. They’d been tracking Ren’s best friend, Amanda, and they’d found her just in time because the two Painballers who’d been using her had almost used her up. Toby was familiar with the ways of such men: she’d been almost killed by one of them before she’d become a God’s Gardener. Anyone who’d survived Painball more than once had been reduced to the reptilian brain. Sex until you were worn to a fingernail was their mode; after that, you were dinner. They liked the kidneys.

Toby and Ren had crouched in the shrubbery while the Painballers argued over the rakunk they were eating, and whether to attack the Crakers, and what to do next with Amanda. Ren had been scared silly; Toby hoped she wouldn’t faint, but she couldn’t worry about that because she was nerving herself to fire. Which to shoot first, the bearded one or the shorthair? Would the other have time to grab their spraygun? Amanda wouldn’t be able to help, or even run: they had a rope around her neck, with the other end tied to the leg of the bearded one. A wrong move by Toby, and Amanda would be dead.

Then a strange man had shambled out of the bushes, sunburnt and scabby and naked and clutching a spraygun, and had almost shot everyone in sight, Amanda included. But Ren had screamed and run into the clearing, and that had been enough of a distraction. Toby had stepped out, rifle aimed; Amanda had torn free; and the Painballers had been subdued with the aid of some groin kicks and a rock, and tied up with their own rope and with strips torn from the pink AnooYoo Spa top-to-toe sun coverup that Toby had been wearing.

Ren had then busied herself with Amanda, who was possibly in shock, and also with the scabby naked man, whom she called Jimmy. She’d wrapped him up in the rest of the top-to-toe, talking to him softly; it seemed he was a long-ago boyfriend of hers.

Now that things were tidier, Toby had felt she could relax. She’d steadied herself with a Gardener breathing exercise, timing it to the soothing rhythm of the nearby waves--wish-wash, wish-wash--until her heart had slowed to normal. Then she’d cooked a soup.

And then the moon had risen.

The rising moon signalled the beginning of the God’s Gardeners Feast of Saint Julian and All Souls: a celebration of God’s tenderness and compassion for all creatures. The universe is held in the hollow of His hand, as Saint Julian of Norwich taught us in her mystic vision so long ago. Forgiveness must be offered, loving kindness must be practised, circles must be unbroken. All souls means all, no matter what they may have done. At least from moonrise to moonset.

Once the Gardener Adams and Eves taught you something, you stayed taught. It would have been next to impossible for her to kill the Painballers on that particular night--butcher them in cold blood, since by that time the two of them were firmly roped to a tree.

Amanda and Ren had done the roping. They’d been to Gardener school together where they’d done a lot of crafts with recycled materials, so they were proficient at knotwork. Those guys looked like macramé.

On that blessed Saint Julian’s evening, Toby had set the weaponry to one side--her own antiquated rifle and the Painballers’ spraygun, and Jimmy’s spraygun as well. Then she’d played the kindly godmother, ladling out the soup, dividing up the nutrients for all to share.

She must have been mesmerized by the spectacle of her own nobility and kindness. Getting everyone to sit in a circle around the cozy evening fire and drink soup together--even Amanda, who was so traumatized she was almost catatonic; even Jimmy, who was shivering with fever and talking to a dead woman who was standing in the flames. Even the two Painballers: did she really think they would have a conversion experience and start hugging bunnies? It’s a wonder she didn’t sermonize as she doled out the bone soup. Some for you, and some for you, and some for you! Shed the hatred and viciousness! Come into the circle of light!

But hatred and viciousness are addictive. You can get high on them. Once you’ve had a little, you start shaking if you don’t get more.

As they were eating the soup, they’d heard voices approaching through the shoreline trees. It was the Children of Crake, the Crakers--the strange gene-spliced quasi-humans who lived by the sea. They were filing through the trees, carrying pitch-pine torches and singing their crystalline songs.

Toby had seen these people only briefly, and in daytime. Gleaming in the moonlight and the torchlight, they were even more beautiful. They were all colours--brown, yellow, black, white--and all heights, but each was perfect. The women were smiling serenely; the men were in full courtship mode, holding out bunches of flowers, their naked bodies like a fourteen-year-old’s comic-book rendition of how bodies ought to be, each muscle and ripple defined and glistening. Their bright blue and unnaturally large penises were wagging from side to side like the tails of friendly dogs.



Afterwards, Toby could never quite remember the sequence of events, if you could call it a sequence. It had been more like a pleebland street brawl: rapid action, tangled bodies, a cacophony of voices.

Where is the blue? We can smell the blue! Look, there is Snowman! He is thin! He is very sick!

Ren: Oh shit, it’s the Crakers. What if they want . . . Look at their . . . Crap!

The Craker women, spotting Jimmy: Let us help Snowman! He needs us to purr!

The Craker men, sniffing Amanda: She is the blue one! She smells blue! She wants to mate with us! Give her the flowers! She will be happy!

Amanda, scared: Stay away! I don’t . . . Ren, help me! Four large, beautiful, flower-toting naked men close in on her. Toby! Get them away from me! Shoot them!

The Craker women: She is sick. First we have to purr on her. To make her better. And give her a fish?

The Craker men: She is blue! She is blue! We are happy! Sing to her!

The other one is blue also.

That fish is for Snowman. We must keep that fish.

Ren: Amanda, maybe just take the flowers, or they might get mad or something . . .

Toby, her voice thin and ineffectual: Please, listen, stand back, you’re frightening . . .

What is this? Is this a bone? Several of the women, peering into the soup pot: Are you eating this bone? It smells bad.

We do not eat bones. Snowman does not eat bones, he eats a fish. Why do you eat a smelly bone?

It is Snowman’s foot that is smelling like a bone. A bone left by vultures. Oh Snowman, we must purr on your foot!

Jimmy, feverish: Who are you? Oryx? But you’re dead. Everyone’s dead. Everyone in the whole world, they’re all dead . . . He starts crying.

Do not be sad, Oh Snowman. We have come to help.

Toby: Maybe you shouldn’t touch . . . that’s infected . . . he needs . . .

Jimmy: Ow! Fuck!

Oh Snowman, do not kick. It will hurt your foot. Several of them begin to purr, making a noise like a kitchen mixer.

Ren, calling for help: Toby! Toby! Hey! Let go of her!

Toby looks over, across the fire: Amanda has disappeared in a flickering thicket of naked male limbs and backs. Ren throws herself into the sprawl and is quickly submerged.

Toby: Wait! Don’t . . . Stop that! What should she do? This is a major cultural misunderstanding. If only she had a pail of cold water!

Muffled cries. Toby rushes to help, but then:

One of the Painballers: Hey you! Over here!

These ones smell very bad. They smell like dirty blood. Where is the blood?

What is this? This is a rope. Why are they tied up with a rope?

Snowman showed us rope before, when he lived in a tree. Rope is for making his house. Oh Snowman, why is the rope tied to these men?

This rope is hurting these ones. We must take it away.

A Painballer: Yeah, that’s right. We’re in fucking agony. (Groans.)

Toby: Don’t touch them, they’ll . . .

The second Painballer: Fucking hurry up, Blueballs, before that old bitch . . .

Toby: No! Don’t untie . . . Those men will . . .

But it was already too late. Who knew the Crakers could be so quick with knots?



Procession

The two men were gone into the darkness, leaving behind them a snarl of rope and a scattering of embers. Idiot, Toby thought. You should have been merciless. Bashed their heads in with a rock, slit their throats with your knife, not even wasted any bullets on them. You were a dimwit, and your failure to act verges on criminal negligence.

It was hard to see--the fire was fading--but she made a quick inventory: at least her rifle was still there, a small mercy. But the Painballer spraygun was missing. Pinhead, she told herself. So much for your Saint Julian and the loving kindness of the universe. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition CD .

Revue de presse

"Atwood has brought the previous two books together in a fitting and joyous conclusion that’s an epic not only of an imagined future but of our own past, an exposition of how oral storytelling traditions led to written ones and ultimately to our sense of origin ... Atwood's prose miraculously balances humor, outrage and beauty. A simple description becomes both chilling and sublime ... 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." The New York Times Book Review

"Thoughtful, sardonic, and full of touches that almost resemble a fairy tale, MaddAddam will stick with you long after you've put it down. It's an apocalypse story about new life, and a condemnation of humanity that ends, however uneasily, with a celebration of it." —NPR

"MaddAddam is sharp, witty and strong enough to stand alone ... Peppered with witty neologisms, Atwood’s character-driven novel is terrific precisely because of close attention to detail, to voice, to what’s in the hearts of these people: love, loss, the need to keep on keeping on, no matter what ... [T]his novel sings." Miami Herald

"[S]ardonically funny ... [Atwood] certainly has the tone exactly right, both for the linguistic hypocrisy that can disguise any kind of catastrophe, and for the contemptuous dismissal of those who point to disaster ... MaddAddam is at once a pre- and a post-apocalypse story." The Wall Street Journal

"[T]here is something funny, even endearing, about such a dark and desperate view of a future — a ravaged world emerging from alarmingly familiar trends — that is so jam-packed with the gifts of imagination, invention, intelligence and joy. There may be some hope for us yet." Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Margaret Atwood continues to flourish as she approaches her fifth decade of publication ... A thrilling and enchanting — funny, sad, clever, audacious — tale of grumpy, deflated, and perilous post-apocalyptic times, year 0.6." The Vancouver Sun

"[T]he imaginative universe Atwood has created in these books is huge ... It's a dystopia, but it's still fun ... Atwood doesn't just ask what if, she raises an eyebrow and says, See where we're going? Yet she's not a pessimist: She's invented a future large enough to include, after the end of the world, people falling in love." Los Angeles Times

"This unsentimental narrative exposes the heart of human creativity as well as our self-destructive darkness ... MaddAddam is fueled with edgy humor, sardonic twists, hilarious coincidences." Boston Globe

"The final entry in Atwood’s brilliant MaddAddam trilogy roils with spectacular and furious satire ... Her vision is as affirming as it is cautionary, and the conclusion of this remarkable trilogy leaves us not with a sense of despair at mankind’s failings but with a sense of awe at humanity’s barely explored potential to evolve." Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Ten years after Oryx & Crake rocked readers the world over, Atwood brings her cunning, impish, and bracing speculative trilogy—following The Year of the Flood—to a gritty, stirring, and resonant conclusion ... Atwood is ascendant, from her resilient characters to the feverishly suspenseful plot involving battles, spying, cyberhacking, murder, and sexual tension ... The coruscating finale in an ingenious, cautionary trilogy of hubris, fortitude, wisdom, love, and life’s grand obstinacy." Booklist

"[T]ense and exciting ... MaddAddam is an extraordinary achievement ... Atwood's body of work will last precisely because she has told us about ourselves. It is not always a pretty picture, but it is true for all that." The Independent (UK)

"[MaddAddam] deploys its author's trademark cool, omniscient satire, but adds to that a real sense of engagement with a fallen world. Atwood has created something reminiscent of Shakespeare's late comedies; her wit and dark humour combine with a compassionate tenderness towards struggling human beings." The Independent (UK)

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Amazon.com: 4.2 étoiles sur 5  419 commentaires
115 internautes sur 128 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Terrifying but uplifting conclusion to Atwood's "MaddAddam Trilogy" 22 juillet 2013
Par kacunnin - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
I've been a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction since I first read EARTH ABIDES when I was in high school. I've probably read them all, to greater or lesser degrees of enjoyment. It's rare to find such a novel written by a literary great - a George Orwell, or an Aldous Huxley, or a Cormac McCarthy. Or a Margaret Atwood. Her HANDMAID'S TALE is one of my all-time favorites, and I gobbled up ORYX AND CRAKE when it was released in 2004. MADDADDAM is the third in what has been called Atwood's "MaddAddam Trilogy," and it concludes the story began in ORYX AND CRAKE and continued in THE YEAR OF THE FLOOD.

The story begins just as YEAR OF THE FLOOD ends - Toby and Ren have rescued Amanda from the vile Painballers who had kidnapped her, the two villains have been tied to a tree for safekeeping, Snowman (guardian of the so-called "Children of Crake," or "Crakers") is gravely ill from an infection, and the gentle Crakers are singing their strange songs. What happens in MADDADDAM is mainly Toby's story, and Zeb's story, told through Toby. Much of it is told in flashbacks (things that happened in the years before the "Waterless Flood" destroyed all human life on Earth, and in the years just after that pandemic). But in the novel's final act, things happen that conclude the trilogy in a very satisfying way.

For those who have not read the first two novels (or those - like me - who have forgotten major details of the story), Atwood provides a brief introduction called "The Story So Far." This is a great help, and will refresh readers as to who these characters are and how the world came to be as it is. In ORYX AND CRAKE, we learned how Crake engineered a pandemic that wiped out most human life. But first, he created the Crakers through genetic engineering, a race of gentle, kind humanoid beings without violent tendencies or dangerous human emotions - the Crakers have natural insect repellent in their blood, eat only leaves and grass, and mate only when they are in estrus (or "heat"). There is no jealousy among them, no pettiness, no greed - none of the things that led the human race to turn the world into a virtual garbage can. In some ways, the Crakers are reminiscent of the Eloi (from Wells's THE TIME MACHINE), a sheep-like herd of newly-evolved humans without either a competitive drive or a natural instinct for self-preservation. But Atwood's Crakers are much, much more than that, as MADDADDAM reveals.

In YEAR OF THE FLOOD, we met Toby and the other "God's Gardeners" (a "green religious group" focused on reverence for the earth), and Zeb and Adam (who fought the Corps that controlled the world through the MaddAddam Chat Room), and the evil Painballers (who survived the Corps-sponsored battles in the Painball Arenas and became rapists, murderers, and cannibals).

The world Atwood has created in this trilogy is one that seems totally believable, a natural progression from the political fallout of our twenty-first century world. The clash between those who worship oil and wealth, and those committed to protecting the Earth, has morphed into a reality in which corporations (supported by religion) control everything and science has been perverted into a means of creating genetically engineered plants and animals to satisfy an increasing demand for "products" (for example, the "Pigoons" were created by splicing human and pig genes to grow organs for human transplant, and the "Mo'Hairs" are able to produce colorful, silky human hair for wigs). This is a depressing and horrific vision of a future that might actually happen, that is perhaps already happening in subtle, insidious ways. And as such MADDADDAM is decidedly terrifying.

At the same time, Atwood's vision of a future in which the dominant races may not be totally human is ultimately hopeful. The Pigoons, it turns out, are not just pigs with human genetic material, and the Crakers are not just placid, mindless singers. By the end of MADDADDAM I was reminded of Octavia Butler's LILITH'S BROOD, in which humanity is virtually lost but becomes something else altogether, something very different but perhaps just as wondrous.

Atwood's writing is challenging, and there's no way to read MADDADDAM for its plot (which is the least important aspect of the novel). Instead, read it for its vision into what being human has become, what it once was, and what it could be in a future of our own making. In ORYX AND CRAKE, Crake wiped out most of the human race, hoping to "reboot" the world, to begin again in a different way. In MADDADDAM, Atwood gives us a glimpse of what that rebooted world might be like and what it might mean for the handful of human beings left alive. It's a terrifying, beautiful, and uplifting story, all at once. I recommend it to any fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, or to any lover of great literature. Atwood is a wonderful writer, and MADDADDAM is a satisfying ending to a great trilogy.
33 internautes sur 36 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Atwood's Dystopian Trilogy Reaches A Tidy Conclusion: Gentler And More Amusing Than Its Predecessors 3 août 2013
Par K. Harris - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
I think it's fair to say that I am a huge fan of the works of Margaret Atwood. In fact, "The Year of the Flood" was my personal choice as Best Book of 2009. So I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of "MaddAddam," the concluding chapter of the MaddAddam trilogy. With her previous efforts, the aforementioned "Flood" and its predecessor "Oryx and Crake," the brilliant Atwood set her sights on a dystopian future that was alternately savage and satirical. The fact that Atwood's bleak vision seemed both far off and eerily plausible was a testament to her extraordinary storytelling ability. She so expertly straddled the line between science fiction and social commentary, it was almost impossible not to admire the complexities and challenges she had to offer in her unquestionably unique voice.

While "Oryx and Crake" and "The Year of the Flood" had some overlap, each was a relatively independent novel from a character standpoint. Of course, the principle plot points driving the narrative were common to both books (but seen from a different vantage point), but either could be enjoyed separately. I've often thought of them more as companion pieces as opposed to one being the sequel to another. Not so, however, for "MaddAddam." Bringing together the characters from the prior novels, I would not necessarily recommend it as a stand alone read. At the beginning of "MaddAddam," Atwood wisely includes a recap of the story so far. Wow! While certainly a helpful refresher, I can't imagine a newbie tackling these dense few pages and making much sense of them. Each book is whittled away to about a page and half of recap which will surely scare away the uninitiated!

Although the cast is filled with familiar personalities, some of your favorite characters might have been relegated to smaller roles (Ren, for example). Toby (The Year of The Flood) remains central to everything, Jimmy (Oryx and Crake) plays a key role, and Zeb's story becomes the central narrative that drives this piece. In fact, more than anything, "MaddAddam" seems concerned with story telling. The book is structured in snippets of actual history interspersed with communicated interpretations of actual events. A group of engineered Crakers have joined the group. Gentle and very literal by nature, they struggle to understand the complexities of the world and their place in it. First through stories and then through writing, Toby (always the record keeper) helps them to make sense of the history of this new world. Balancing the horrors of the past with the hope for the future, "MaddAddam" is all about how the survivors will now make peace with their new circumstances.

In tone, the book is much gentler than its predecessors. And while I appreciate what Atwood was attempting, the novel felt a lot less urgent and spellbinding. Where I puzzled over the mysteries of "Oryx and Crake" and was riveted by the harrowing circumstances of "The Year of the Flood," my primary reaction to "MaddAddam" was one of amusement. I was entertained and usually had a smile on my face. It's an engaging read, sure enough, but somehow less compelling (at least to me). In essence, history is writing itself in these chapters to be passed down to future generations. While there is danger, death, and ultimate truths revealed--most of these are shared second hand. Everything is viewed through a gauzy filter and the dramatic consequences don't have the emotional resonance that I felt in the other books. Still, as a lover of this tale, this is still required reading. It pulls a lot of things together and gives the trilogy true closure. Ultimately, I liked "MaddAddam" as opposed to loving it. Four years after reading "The Year of the Flood," the experience is still emblazoned in my memory. For my personal taste, I don't see this one having the same enduring appeal. KGHarris, 8/13.
62 internautes sur 72 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Maddening MaddAddam 9 novembre 2013
Par zashibis - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle
Clearly, I'm in a small minority here, but I was utterly disappointed by MaddAddam. It's not only a limp conclusion to the trilogy; it's a sequel that is so badly conceived--so slipshod in its plotting, such a betrayal of the characterization of the first two works, and so much a boring retread of themes more cleverly presented the first two times around--that it actually diminishes the achievement of the earlier novels. It may, in fact, be the worst follow-up to a successful novel that I've ever read. If Oryx & Crake is Star Wars, then this novel is The Phantom Menace.

*SPOILERS ALERT*

There's simply no way to talk about the novel's failures without referring to specific plot points, so read no further if you intend to read MaddAddam but haven't read it yet.

The first problem is, having contrived to have Snowman and the Crakers meet up with the survivors of the MaddAddam / God's Gardener's group at the end of both of the previous novels, Atwood was, very clearly, at a total loss as to what to do with them next, how to move the story forward. Therefore, the "forward" plot movement of the novel only starts in earnest after p. 261, when it is (very implausibly) revealed that the Crakers (the genetically-modified humans) can communicate with the pigoons (the genetically-modified pigs) and the latter want the the normal Homo Sapiens's help with killing the two "painballers" captured at the end of Year of the Flood, but who were allowed to escape at the very beginning of this novel (another feeble implausibility). This, despite the fact that the MaddAddamites themselves have also been killing and eating the pigoons all along. So, the remaining humans, relying on the pigoons' sense of smell and a Craker translator, track the two killers down, but not before Snowman and Adam One are allowed to die comically melodramatic, self-sacrificing deaths, worthy of the most sentimentally piffling of Dickens's endings.

Atwood does understand that this wee episode--"bad guys escape; good guys hang around doing nothing in particular for several months; good guys track down bad guys"--isn't nearly enough of a plot to construct an entire novel around. So, most of the novel has nothing to do with that. Instead, it's backstory--yet more backstory, in a series of novels that has already consisted largely of flashbacks--this time about the previously peripheral character of Zeb.

Alas, this new backstory must rank as some of the very worst writing Atwood has ever done. It is completely haphazard, un-thought-out, driveling, and trivial. It reads, for all the world, like a very bad parody of Thomas Pynchon. Zeb steals millions of dollars from his father, a corrupt fraud of a fundamentalist preacher, and goes on the lam, spending hundreds of pages flitting from one nonsensical disguise to another: a pilot for an environmental group aiding polar bears, a burger flipper, a professional hacker, a magician's assistant, a toilet cleaner, a bouncer, a gardener, a data-entry drone...and probably others I'm forgetting. Not a single one of these incarnations is well-developed...or even lasts long enough long enough for me to begin to be interested in the new environment where Atwood has randomly inserted Zeb, always for only a single chapter, with no rhyme or reason. Whether working the most menial of jobs or more middle-class covers there's *never* actually a compelling reason for Zeb to be where he finds himself, especially since he supposedly has millions in the bank. It's all a chaotic, vapid shaggy dog story with no punchline at the end, told largely in annoyingly ersatz Raymond Chandler-eque "tough guy" speak.

Worse than the unnecessariness of Zeb's story, though, is the sheer sloppiness of its plotting. At one point, for instance, Zeb is assigned the important task of smuggling some dangerous new bio-engineered pills out of the HelthWyzer West compound where he has been working. The description of this goes on for pages and pages: the precautions Zeb takes when leaving the compound; the precautions taken hiding them at his new place of employ; how careful they are not to reveal the hiding place. Then, on a whim, he uses half of the pills in an act of revenge, and mayhem ensues. Following this, the person who asked him to smuggle the pills in the first place, Pilar, decides it might just be a good idea to find out what's actually in them. But then that plan to analyze the pills is casually abandoned, and the mysterious pills are simply retained by Pilar. And then, equally casually, after some years, they are sent to the young Crake as a legacy after Pilar's demise. And then Crake (it is presumed) uses them as the basis for his own BlyssPlus pills that destroy humanity.

Huh?

What a muddle. All these cloak-and-dagger peregrinations and machinations...but then Crake gets the keys to destroying humanity almost as an afterthought? Or did the saintly Pilar of YOTF actually intend that he use them in precisely that way? Atwood's intentions here are entirely opaque. It's especially frustrating, as the long-hinted-at connection between the God's Gardeners and Crake otherwise never comes to full fruition. Likewise, Zeb and Adam have to live in hiding for years and years, but then end up living together openly in the same community using their real names? It hardly makes any sense.

In all, MaddAddam reads like a first draft that nobody dared question or revise--an improvisation in which loose ends, instead of being tied up, are multiplied exponentially.

Also, as a scant handful of insightful reviewers here have pointed out, the characters of Toby, Ren, Amanda, and Snowman (irritatingly referred to here mostly as "Snowman-the-Jimmy") bear only a passing resemblance to the major characters of the same name in the earlier novels. Tough, self-reliant Toby of YOTF has become a simpering and pathetically insecure helpmate to Zeb--forever girlishly worried that he's eyeing one of the younger surviving women. Ren is a virtual non-entity, relegated to one or two unmemorable lines every 50 pages or so. And Snowman spends most of the book in a coma...and when he finally wakes up, he's without a scintilla of the self-awareness or irony that animated the narrative voice of Oryx & Crake. The "continuity" failure in relation to the previous novels is almost complete. And the brief reappearance of Adam as a hostage at the end of novel proves to be pointless as well as being utterly beyond belief.

Being Atwood, the novel is, of course, not 100% bad. There's a good deal of wit in Toby's attempts to render Zeb's stories about his life into a form the innocent Crakers can comprehend and use as the basis for a newly-minted bible / creation myth of their own. And some of the details about day-to-day life in a post-Apocalyptic world are cleverly worked out.

On the whole, however, this is a very sorry misstep from an author I've previously admired very much. I rather wish I hadn't read it and had spared myself this saccharine and third-rate chaser to the enjoyable Oryx & Crake and Year of the Flood.
24 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great Conclusion to a Great Trilogy 26 juillet 2013
Par Lawrence A. Schenbeck - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
It has been a privilege to be allowed to read "MaddAddam," the third and concluding volume in Margaret Atwood's speculative-fiction trilogy, just a bit sooner than the rest of the world. But describing it in a useful way for other potential readers may be difficult.

That's because the whole trilogy is not only a superlative contribution to a genre--speculative fiction, dystopian science fiction, whatever--it is also a thoroughly developed literary work that needs no such categorization to succeed with thoughtful readers of all stripes.

If you read a lot of speculative fiction (I don't), I hope that you will like this as well. Some people otherwise drawn to the genre may complain about Atwood's relative lack of emphasis on plot or narrative. In fact, there's a lot of storytelling in "MaddAddam," especially the kind of back-story narrative from a particular character's point of view that fills us in on the adventures of Zeb and Adam (mostly Zeb) before the Waterless Flood. In the post-Flood sections, the pacing is much more deliberate, but the buildup to the concluding episode and its aftermath is handled masterfully. I thought the book (and thus the trilogy) ended in a very satisfying, emotionally gripping manner. (I'm determined not to reveal much about the specific plot in this review.)

This book is handled more like The Year of the Flood than like Oryx and Crake. For me that was good, because I thought "The Year of the Flood" opened out the story in a better way. As in that book, Atwood makes a central figure out of Toby, a God's Gardeners apprentice of herbalist, beekeeper and mystic Pilar. Much of the novel is told from her point of view. This really helps anchor the story. It's impossible not to care about a person so intelligent, so self-aware, so vulnerable, and so generous. And yet she has a sense of humor!

As does Atwood, obviously. Her love of wordplay, and her savagely funny depictions of the pre-Flood "chaos," a world driven by crass corporate entities that wield astonishing technology in the worst possible manner, leap off every page. She usually finds the magic spot between what seems surreal and what seems all-too-real, and then twists the knife just a bit. It reminds me of what Gary Shteyngart accomplishes in Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel although Atwood's work retains more heart.

This is clear from her depiction of the Crakers, the race of impossibly innocent beings created by mad-scientist Crake as part of his plan to repopulate the planet with better humans. In a lesser writer's hands, they might become comic relief or plot enablers but little more. Well, here they become much more. I am not going to give away anything else, except to note that things develop in surprising but touching and believable ways. That's true of the entire world--Pigoons, Painballers, Snake Women--that Atwood has created. We get not only the scenery, the architecture, the cast of characters. We also get inside these creatures (human and otherwise) and we see them collaborate, learn, and ultimately begin to transform themselves and their surroundings.

In short, whether you are a sci-fi/fantasy fan or a follower of the best in current literary fiction, you are going to find this third book a very satisfying read. And since it isn't coming out for another month or so, you have a chance to read the first two volumes first.
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Let Down 9 octobre 2013
Par Tale Bearer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I was a huge fan of "Oryx and Crake", loved "Year of the Flood" as well, and was constantly checking to see when the third installment in the trilogy would be published. Having read it, I have to agree with those who feel that "MaddAddam" is not in the same league as the first two books. I appreciate Atwood's playful technique of folding stories within stories and telling different versions the same incident. Zeb's back story, which occupies a large portion of the novel, is ribald and picaresque and harrowing, just as it should be... but the present-tense post-apocalyptic story feels flaccid by comparison. I always enjoy this author's wild imagination and her satiric sense of humor. The Crakers are certainly much funnier than the Eloi in HG Well's "The Time Machine"... to whom they bear some resemblance... with the Painballers as an update of the Morlocks...but, as plotlines go, the Zeb/Toby love story and the quest to locate Adam One just don't deliver the goods.
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