#EmptyShelf 2016 #23: The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood (Bloomsbury, 2015)


Mentioning to a friend that I have always enjoyed dystopian/utopian (futurist) fiction (it always seemed to be a staple of my teenage reading, and more recently, books such as The Hunger Games, and TV series such as Black Mirror and Mr Robot), having just re-read the Divergent trilogy, he suggested I should try (and lent me) The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood.

In brief, Charmaine and Stan, who had been happily employed, mortgaged, and planning for kids, victims of a terrible economic crash, are reduced to living in their car, surviving on tips, having to escape from wherever they’ve parked 3-4 times a night. They then see an advert for Consilience, a ‘social experiment’, in which they’ll be offered regular work, a home of their own – but they’ll need to spend alternate months in a prison cell. Once in, there’s no escape, but they sign straight up, with the first year appearing pretty straightforward, but then they start to become obsessed with their ‘Alternate’, those who live in their house whilst they’re in prison… and life begins to unravel. Echoes of Big Brother and The Truman Show were in my mind whilst reading – control, conformity, and then challenge!

Now awaiting The Handmaid’s Tale to read!