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Margaret Atwood's novel is the conclusion to her dystopic trilogy.


By Margaret Atwood
Knopf Doubleday
416 pp.

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It's the end of the world as we know it, and readers will be feeling fine with Margaret Atwood's sharply satirical version of the Apocalypse.

The Booker Prize-winner's new “MaddAddam” is the third and final novel in her dystopic trilogy, in which a scientist offers the earth a reboot by getting rid of all – or at least most – of those pesky humans and repeopling the world with a new batch of post-homo sapiens.

“MaddAddam” picks up immediately after the events of 2009's “The Year of the Flood.” It's now been a few months since most of humanity perished during a pandemic bio-engineered by Crake, first introduced in “Oryx and Crake.”

The novel is narrated by Toby, a primary character in “Year of the Flood” who used to be part of the God's Gardeners eco-cult, whose leader foretold the destruction of humanity in a “waterless flood.” When it opens, she and her young friend Ren have succeeded in rescuing another woman, Amanda, from two Painballers, rapists and cannibals who once fought to the death in gladiatorial-style games.

Instead of killing the Painballers, Toby ties them up and makes soup for everyone. (It's tough to completely abandon years of conditioning to hold all life sacred.) Just then, Crake's new breed of quasi-humans – purring vegetarians who don't understand greed, jealousy, or clothes – arrive and free the murderers.

After a “major cultural misunderstanding,” the Crakers, renegade scientists called MaddAddamites, and the survivors of the God's Gardeners set up camp in an abandoned outpost, guarding against the Painballers, giant pigoons (human/pig gene-splices), and liobams (lion-lamb combinations in which the lamb's gentle tendencies didn't exactly win out).


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