Friday, August 30, 2013

Labor Day Weekend Reading

Publishers Weekly new "Picks of the Week" include books by two past visitors to the Writers Institute who also happen to be giants of world literature, Margaret Atwood [pictured here] and J. M. Coetzee.

MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood (Doubleday) - The final entry in Atwood’s brilliant MaddAddam trilogy roils with spectacular and furious satire. The novel begins 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.

The Childhood of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee (Viking) - In this captivating and provocative new novel, a small boy who has been renamed David, and Simón, the man who has become David’s caretaker since David was separated from his mother, have immigrated to a nameless country. Simón soon finds work on the docks, is given an apartment for new arrivals, and sets about the impossible task of finding David’s mother, whose name they do not know and whose face the boy does not remember. Precise, rich, and wonderful.

Atwood's Albany visit:

J. M. Coetzee's recent visit: