Publisher: Nan A. Talese
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of an economic and social collapse. Job loss has forced them to live in their car, leaving them vulnerable to roving gangs. They desperately need to turn their situation around—and fast. The Positron Project in the town of Consilience seems to be the answer to their prayers. No one is unemployed and everyone gets a comfortable, clean house to live in . . . for six months out of the year. On alternating months, residents of Consilience must leave their homes and function as inmates in the Positron prison system. Once their month of service in the prison is completed, they can return to their "civilian" homes.
At first, this doesn't seem like too much of a sacrifice to make in order to have a roof over one's head and food to eat. But when Charmaine becomes romantically involved with the man who lives in their house during the months when she and Stan are in the prison, a series of troubling events unfolds, putting Stan's life in danger. With each passing day, Positron looks less like a prayer answered and more like a chilling prophecy fulfilled.
My Thoughts:Once again Margaret Atwood has proven herself to be a master of Speculative Fiction that commands the reader to critically analyze and contemplate the predominant themes presented throughout this brilliantly crafted Dystopian novel. Stan and Charmaine, a young married couple, are devastated by a failed economy that has left them homeless, living in a car, and barely surviving both physically and mentally. Of course, once an economy fails so goes any resemblance of social order leaving this couple living in constant fear and under a heavy sense of hopelessness and despair. But all is not lost, The Positron Project is a beacon of light that offers participants the opportunity to live in the beautiful town of Consilience, a town fashioned in the spirit of the 1950's; the era of wholesomeness, firm family values, security, and the prevailing belief of service for the greater good of the community. But all is not "sunshine and lollipops" in Consilience and the cost is ultimately the sacrifice of civil liberties, human rights, individuality, and personal dignity. Participants knowingly agree to serve every other month in the Positron Prison system which initially appears to be a small price to pay for such comfort and security....and after all, it is for the greater good right? But as we well know, behind every so-called brilliant solution to societies devastating problems lurks the greedy desire for power and wealth; corporate greed benefiting from the misfortunes of the middle- and lower-classes of society. Those participating in the Positron Project become nothing more than slave labor contributing to the sex industry and the black market as well as advancing the fields of robotics, agricultural experimentation, and medical technology. Sex is certainly a predominant theme within this novel and some may argue that Atwood simply hates men and blames them for all sexual atrocities that occur within society. However, I would encourage such critics to simply watch a steady dose of the evening news and take note of which gender is most often associated with such crimes (No, I'm not suggesting that women haven't committed sex crimes I'm merely pointing out statistics). Atwood simply brings this fact to the forefront within the pages of this novel to make the reader stop and take notice of the role of sex and the ever present desire for it within society. There is so much within this novel that warrants further discussion and analysis which makes this an ideal selection for a book club....but certainly be prepared for some very heated discussions. FIVE stars!
The Heart Goes Last is currently available for pre-order in both kindle format and hardcover with a release date of September 29th. And, if you haven't read The Handmaid's Tale also by Margaret Atwood, I highly recommend that you do! (The Handmaid's Tale is also a kindle unlimited selection for subscribing members)
Dislosure: In accordance with current FTC Guidelines, please let it be known this book was received through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.