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The Heart Goes Last

de Margaret Atwood

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1,9801296,053 (3.38)118
Margaret Atwood puts the human heart to the ultimate test in an utterly brilliant new novel that is as visionary as The Handmaid's Tale and as richly imagined as The Blind Assassin. Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of an economic and social collapse. Job loss has forced them to live in their car, leaving them vulnerable to roving gangs. They desperately need to turn their situation around--and fast. The Positron Project in the town of Consilience seems to be the answer to their prayers. No one is unemployed and everyone gets a comfortable, clean house to live in ... for six months out of the year. On alternating months, residents of Consilience must leave their homes and function as inmates in the Positron prison system. Once their month of service in the prison is completed, they can return to their "civilian" homes. At first, this doesn't seem like too much of a sacrifice to make in order to have a roof over one's head and food to eat. But when Charmaine becomes romantically involved with the man who lives in their house during the months when she and Stan are in the prison, a series of troubling events unfolds, putting Stan's life in danger. With each passing day, Positron looks less like a prayer answered and more like a chilling prophecy fulfilled.… (més)
  1. 31
    Slade House de David Mitchell (sturlington)
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    A Working Theory of Love de Scott Hutchins (wandering_star)
    wandering_star: Similar themes (handled better, in my opinion)
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Anglès (124)  Alemany (2)  Castellà (1)  Neerlandès (1)  Francès (1)  Totes les llengües (129)
Es mostren 1-5 de 129 (següent | mostra-les totes)
I liked the opening and indeed probably most of the first half or so of the book. Dystopian near future in which people exchange some measure of freedom for some measure of stability? Pretty compelling stuff. But as the book wore on, it lost focus and veered into not merely the absurd but almost the parodically absurd. It read more and more like a bad NaNoWriMo novel parroting (in long form) the work of somebody like George Saunders, who in short form mostly pulls it off. This turned out to be a really disappointing, if at least mercifully quick, read. ( )
  dllh | Jan 6, 2021 |
I'm not quite sure what to say about this book. It was vaguely interesting, plotwise. But the characters... I just couldn't feel anything for any of them. And characters are usually what draw me in to a book, what make it really work for me. Here I just wasn't that bothered by what happened to Charmaine and Stan.
Also, is this really married couples are like? I mean, why do these people stay together if they don't want to? ((yes, everything in life is more complicated than that, but I mean come on)) Isn't it better to divorce someone than think about murdering them, let alone actually do the deed? ((not saying that there is a spousal murder here, not saying that there isn't. Just thinking aloud)) and are men really that driven sex. Stan, and any other male we meet in the book, is a jerk. An utter jerk who seems to only really think about sex and how could it be better, and well I suppose at least it isn't worse. Is this supposed to be humour?
I don't know. I found it a very depressing read. Even without all the prison-for-profit and messing with people's brains. Charmaine and Stan are just so sad and depressing, in a low level mundane sort of way.
And this post went a lot more negative than I thought it would, but I guess that's what The Heart Goes Last inspired in me. ( )
  Fence | Jan 5, 2021 |
Quite a compelling read, though increasingly unbelievable and not at the level of Ms Atwood's other works.
In a future dystopian world of joblessness and lawlessness, nice young newly-weds Stan and Charmaine find themselves in reduced circumstances, living in a car...
When they get accepted into a new social experiment, it feels like the answer to a dream. Nice homes, good food, safety...But the premise- that all residents alternate a month as civilians with a month in prison - (halving the number of houses needed, as two couples can share each) leads into a complicated, nail biting scenario.
It did become surreal- sex robots, brain sirgery, turning the unwanted into spare parts for transplants...
Other quotes seemed to resonsate with the weird and dishonest dystopia that we are currently enduring. Notably (as the govt shut down all other opinions than the official one and try to silence ail those spouting uncomfortable truths)
"Even if she could tell someone, and even if they believed her, they'd pretend not to, because they'd see the truth as botulism. They'd fear contamination." ( )
  starbox | Jan 3, 2021 |
Enjoyable and fast-paced dystopian, but much lighter in tone than typical Atwood fare. This felt a little disjointed from the first half to the second. I liked the first half immensely and then it kind of went off the rails toward the end. A few too many things came together and it was completely over-the-top (sexbots, selling body parts, Elvis escorts, Stepford wives-esque surgeries). I wanted to root for the main characters more but they were just this side of unlikeable. Interesting set-up with the jail community and breakdown of the economy. It just devolved too much into ridiculousness, though Atwood is such a great writer I just buckled in an enjoyed the ride anyway. ( )
  JustZelma | Dec 20, 2020 |
This is a wildly eclectic tale. Filled with dystopian projections of our society, the fraying bonds of relationship, and wicked winks at pop culture, it is packed to the brim with criticism of our consumerist society. Classic Atwood. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 129 (següent | mostra-les totes)
But then a narrative that has been taut, dread-inducing and psychologically tense careers off the road, skids into the woods, hits its head, loses its memory and emerges as a strange quasi-sex romp concerned almost exclusively with erotic power, kinky impulses and the perversity of desire.
afegit per sturlington | editaNew York Times, Sarah Lyall (Sep 29, 2015)
 
“The Heart Goes Last” wrestles with many of the same themes that have preoccupied Ms. Atwood for decades, such as sexism, the dangers of unbridled greed and the risky moral terrain that comes with technological progress.
 
Though Atwood is obviously delivering a serious lesson about societal greed and human exploitation, it’s frankly an amazing achievement how jovial The Heart Goes Last is from start to Shakespearean-style comedic finish. The novel is certainly a dystopian effort that belongs on the same hallowed list as Brave New World, 1984 and Atwood’s own masterpiece, The Handmaid’s Tale, but it also manages to be a whole lot of quirky, poppy fun, without ever once undermining its core message.
 
The further one reads, the less clear the novel becomes on a philosophical level. The narrative is riveting (if occasionally so ridiculous as to remind the reader that perhaps we’re not meant to take it entirely seriously), and the characters deepen as time goes on, moving from broad types to sympathetic (if not entirely likable) individuals. But throughout, there is a sense of larger purpose, a deeper motivation at work. Part of this is a function of the conspiracy in which Charmaine and Stan find themselves “linchpin” figures, but the overarching narrative control – layers within layers, manipulations within manipulations – comes to feel like the work of the writer herself. By the time the novel concludes, one is left with an image of Atwood holding all the puppet strings, orchestrating every event. And grinning widely.
 
Margaret Atwood’s future holds little cheer.

Dystopian sex romp The Heart Goes Last comes off as jaded, contemptuous...Stan and Charmaine elicit little (Charmaine) to no (Stan) sympathy. Two self-serving, foolish, and facile jerks stand at the heart of Heart. The comedy ridicules them; it’s at their expense. And because their unappetizing characteristics encourage onlookers to grow indifferent to their antics and dilemmas, their fates — good, bad, or more of the same — matter not in the least.

Dystopian tales rely on readers caring or identifying with about the oppressed and victimized. If that’s taken away, so is the tale’s power to move, provoke, and command attention.

 
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... with wonderful craftsmanship he sculpted a gleaming white ivory statue.... It appeared to be a real living girl, poised on the brink of motion but modestly holding back - so artfully did his artistry conceal itself.... He kissed her, convinced himself that she kissed him back, spoke to her, embraced her....

- Ovid, "Pygmalion and Galatea"
Book X, Metamorphoses

"When it gets down to it, these things just don't feel right. They're made of a rubbery material that feels absolutely nothing like anything resembling a human body part. They try to make up for that by instructing you to soak them in warm water first and then using a shitload of lube...."

- Adam Frucci, "I Had Sex With Furniture,"
Gizmodo, 10/17/09

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,

Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend

More than cool reason ever comprehends.

- William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream
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For Marian Engel (1933-1985)
Angela Carter (1940-1992), and
Judy Merril (1923-1997).

And for Graeme, as ever.
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Sleeping in the car is cramped.
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The Heart Goes Last: Positron, Episode Four is the 4th volume in an e-book only serial. It was reworked into the novel The Heart Goes Last, but they are not the same work.
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Margaret Atwood puts the human heart to the ultimate test in an utterly brilliant new novel that is as visionary as The Handmaid's Tale and as richly imagined as The Blind Assassin. Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of an economic and social collapse. Job loss has forced them to live in their car, leaving them vulnerable to roving gangs. They desperately need to turn their situation around--and fast. The Positron Project in the town of Consilience seems to be the answer to their prayers. No one is unemployed and everyone gets a comfortable, clean house to live in ... for six months out of the year. On alternating months, residents of Consilience must leave their homes and function as inmates in the Positron prison system. Once their month of service in the prison is completed, they can return to their "civilian" homes. At first, this doesn't seem like too much of a sacrifice to make in order to have a roof over one's head and food to eat. But when Charmaine becomes romantically involved with the man who lives in their house during the months when she and Stan are in the prison, a series of troubling events unfolds, putting Stan's life in danger. With each passing day, Positron looks less like a prayer answered and more like a chilling prophecy fulfilled.

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