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MaddAddam: A Novel (Random House Large Print) Paperback – Large Print, September 3, 2013

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Editorial Reviews Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, September 2013: Margaret Atwood’s genius is fed by her appetite for synthesis: she sees every consequential cultural and tech trend (the realized and the possible) and spins them out into a near-future that’s both freakishly strange and horrifyingly plausible. MaddAddam concludes the trilogy she started with Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood, simultaneously set stories of the survivors (and the late creator) of a deliberately unleashed plague that’s left a few ragged stragglers—the fever-dreaming Snowman, remnants of a peaceful God’s Gardeners cult and eco-warrior MaddAddamites, psychotic escapees from the Painball arena, and humanity’s bioengineered “replacements,” the bizarrely placid Crakers—all bushwhacking through a trashed world of animal mash-ups (including some wicked-smart Pigoons). Depending on your outlook, she’s a scathing satirist, an alarmist, or an oracle. But the world she imagines feels near enough that you won’t soon forget it. --Mari Malcolm --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The final entry in Atwood's brilliant MaddAddam trilogy roils with spectacular and furious satire. The novel begins where Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood end, just after most of the human species has been eradicated by a man-made plague. The early books explore a world of terrifying corporate tyranny, horrifying brutality, and the relentless rape of women and the planet. In Oryx and Crake, the pandemic leaves wounded protagonist Jimmy to watch over the Crakers, a humanoid species bioengineered to replace humankind by the man responsible for unleashing the plague. In The Year of the Flood, MaddAddamites wield science to terrorize corporate villains while God's Gardeners use prayer and devotion to the Earth to prepare for the approaching cataclysm. Toby, a God's Gardener and key character in the second book, narrates the third installment, in which a few survivors, including MaddAddamites, God's Gardeners, Jimmy, and the Crakers, navigate a postapocalyptic world. Toby is reunited with Zeb, her MaddAddamite romantic interest in Year of the Flood, and the two become leaders and defenders of their new community. The survivors are a traumatized, cynical group with harshly tested self-preservation skills, but they have the capacity for love and self-sacrifice, which in a simpler story would signal hope for the future of humankind. However, Atwood dramatizes the importance of all life so convincingly that readers will hesitate to assume that the perpetuation of a species as destructive as man is the novel's central concern. With childlike stubbornness, even the peaceful Crakers demand mythology and insist on deifying people whose motives they can't understand. Other species genetically engineered for exploitation by now-extinct corporations roam the new frontier; some are hostile to man, including the pigoons—a powerful and uniquely perceptive source of bacon and menace. Threatening humans, Crakers, and pigoons are Painballers—former prisoners dehumanized in grotesque life-or-death battles. The Crakers cannot fight, the bloodthirsty Painballers will not yield, and the humans are outnumbered by the pigoons. Happily, Atwood has more surprises in store. 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. Agent: Vivienne Schuster, Curtis Brown Literary Agency (U.K.). (Sept.) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Random House Large Print
  • Paperback: 594 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Large Print; Lrg edition (September 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804121095
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804121095
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (569 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,240,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

MARGARET ATWOOD, whose work has been published in over thirty-five countries, is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. In addition to The Handmaid's Tale, her novels include Cat's Eye, shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; and her most recent, Oryx and Crake, shortlisted for the 2003 Booker Prize. She lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

123 of 139 people found the following review helpful By Kathy Cunningham TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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!
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97 of 112 people found the following review helpful By zashibis on November 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
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.


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.
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