Margaret Atwood: The Year of the Flood

A full-house audience in Shove Chapel at Colorado College rose for a standing ovation of Margaret Atwood at her recent address. Atwood’s lecture at Colorado College focused on key aspects of survival, as highlighted by her life and numerous literary works; in particular her novel “The Year of the Flood.” Atwood has 18 honorary degrees from universities around the world and has received most of the notable literary honors worldwide.

Her latest novel, “The Year of the Flood,” published in 2009, was nominated for the IMPAC award. “The Year of the Flood” follows God’s Gardeners, a small group of people who survived the pandemic that annihilated the rest of the human race in the preceding novel, “Oryx and Crake.” Commenting on modern civilization, Atwood said, “We have opened the biggest toy box in the world – the gene code.” The designer people created in “The Year of the Flood” begs the question – how far is too far? Regarding the focuses of the book, Atwood said, “The book is driven by questions of the kind that people are continually asking themselves.”

One message of the book incorporates Atwood’s perspective on the age-old argument of superstition verses belief. Many wonder whether spirituality is an evolved adaptation, built into humans, or whether people simply adopt it. Atwood believes humans are not inherently selfish and that belief has been built into the human genome. Accordingly, Atwood said, “It’s not whether or not to have a religion, it’s about what kind of religion you shall have.”

Another message of the text is that without spirit, will, and a can-do attitude, nothing happens in the world. Hope is inherently built into life, “It’s catching, with hope people make an effort,” said Atwood.

The huge success of “The Year of the Flood” makes Atwood’s next book in the “Oryx and Crake” trilogy, “MaddAddam,” a highly anticipated and discussed novel. For all those interested in perturbing, philosophical, and uncannily realistic fiction, “The Year of the Flood” is a perfect read.

Pictured: Margaret Atwood, left, with Sarah Milteer, Colorado College’s Colket Center Staff Assistant at Atwood’s book signing after her lecture. (Photo by Sarah Milteer.)

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