"I have undergone sharp discipline which has taught me wisdom; and then, I have read more than you would fancy." Emily Brontë
still figuring this place out - Jen W
It is too soon to rate - although I've picked 4.5 for now. The trilogy overall, though, is an absolute five. A stunning vision; exceptional execution; provocative themes about greed and ethics, environmental degradation, out-of-control technology ... and maybe a shred of optimism for humanity, such as it is or will be. (I'm hoping that someone is working on the Crakers in a lab somewhere.) An upvote for resilience and hope, at least in the short term.
I know most people thought the previous two, Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood - the latter in particular - stronger, but I don't know: this one grabbed me and really packed an emotional punch. I think, perhaps, it was the innocence-versus-corruption theme throughout that captured my heart. Also, the theme and structural reinforcement of the drive for story-telling and mythmaking: the critical importance that telling our stories, documenting them, passing them on, which is all we have to (re)create meaning and provide comfort in a world that is otherwise dark and empty. "People need such stories, Pilar said once, because however dark, a darkness with voices in it is better than a silent void."
Being the last in the trilogy, and the one that brings it all together, MaddAddam also gets high marks for the resolution: a strange mix of resigned sadness, more like grief, and hope.
The idea that we are oil-barrelling blindly down a road towards this--and that it is too late to stop or even swerve--is fundamental here, as in the earlier two. The details are so specific and so current (e.g., fracking in northern Alberta and pipelines in the Arctic) we cannot fail to recognize them. Atwood's postscript emphasizing that everything she describes is part of today's technology or at the least theoretically possible is chilling.
She doesn't need to tell us that - the sense of familiarity and of the inevitable, looming plausibility of it all is visceral.
Atwood leaves us here at the end of this trilogy with enough ambiguity and open-endedness that some interpretation is still required; enough to prevent our complacency, perhaps. There may be no hope that we can prevent our fall, but overall, the pigoons and the Crakers and the stories being passed on is maybe enough for our regeneration.
Thank you. Good night.