The Heart Goes Last

The Heart Goes Last

3.39 (62,674 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.39 (62,674 ratings by Goodreads)
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Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of economic and social collapse. Living in their car, surviving on tips from Charmaine's job at a dive bar, they're increasingly vulnerable to roving gangs, and in a rather desperate state. So when they see an advertisement for the Positron Project in the town of Consilience - a 'social experiment' offering stable jobs and a home of their own - they sign up immediately. All they have to do in return for this suburban paradise is give up their freedom every second month, swapping their home for a prison cell.

At first, all is well. But slowly, unknown to the other, Stan and Charmaine develop a passionate obsession with their counterparts, the couple that occupy their home when they are in prison. Soon the pressures of conformity, mistrust, guilt and sexual desire take over, and Positron looks less like a prayer answered and more like a chilling prophecy fulfilled.

A sinister, wickedly funny novel about a near-future in which the lawful are locked up and the lawless roam free, The Heart Goes Last is Margaret Atwood at her heart-stopping best.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 153 x 234 x 35mm | 637g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 9781408867785
  • 26,430

Review Text

Gloriously madcap . You only pause in your laughter when you realise that, in its constituent parts, the world she depicts here is all too horribly plausible Stephanie Merritt Observer
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Review quote

Gloriously madcap ... You only pause in your laughter when you realise that, in its constituent parts, the world she depicts here is all too horribly plausible -- Stephanie Merritt * Observer * Her eye for the most unpredictable caprices of the human heart and her narrative fearlessness have made her one of the world's most celebrated novelists -- Naomi Alderman * Guardian * The bestselling author who shot to fame 30 years ago with The Handmaid's Tale is still at her darkly comic best * Sunday Times * Atwood's gift is to take what's already out there and nudge it to the next level ... The Heart Goes Last is all at once thrilling, funny, grim - and shockingly convincing -- Erica Wagner * Harper's Bazaar * It is not a soothing read, although a compelling and darkly comic one - serious and sinister, subtle and shrewd ... Atwood's mocking, cool, sceptical voice is as powerful as ever in this novel. When I read her, I hear those drawling, sardonic, amused tones as if she were in on some secret cosmic joke -- Jackie McGlone * Herald * Awfully good -- Hepzibah Anderson * Mail on Sunday * Atwood has many ... points to make about the monetising potential of sexual desire and the depersonalising impact of technology on human relationships, and she does so with tremendous gusto * Daily Mail * She is the undisputed queen of dystopian fiction and Margaret Atwood's latest offering is as deliciously disturbing as her dedicated fanbase could hope for **** -- Charlotte Heathcote * Daily Express * Few writers do gleeful droll quite as punchy as Atwood ... As savvy as ever -- Eileen Battersby * Irish Times * What distinguishes Atwood's apocalypticism is her insistence that we have brought it on ourselves. It's not meteor strikes, or aliens that destroy our world. It's us ... I loved it -- John Sutherland * The Times * dazzling and hilarious -- Naomi Alderman * Spectator * You never lose the eerie feeling that each feature of this world could rematerialise in our own. It's what makes her fiction the opposite of the escapism of the geek genres. It's the lack of an escape route that shapes the predicaments of Atwood's characters. That and an imagination without equal * Evening Standard * Jubilant comedy of errors, bizarre bedroom farce, SF prison-break thriller, psychedelic sixties crime caper: The Heart Goes Last scampers in and out of all of these genres, pausing only to quote Milton on the loss of Eden or Shakespeare on weddings. Meanwhile, it performs a hard-eyed autopsy on themes of impersonation and self-impersonation, revealing so many layers of contemporary deception and self-deception that we don't know whether to laugh or cry * Guardian * Throughout her lengthy career, Margaret Atwood has challenged the way we think about the interactions between humans and technology, and explored the implications that might have on society ... Atwood addresses some neat ideas about how much control we really want over our own actions and minds * Independent on Sunday * Atwood has made a bestseller of pretty much everything she'd turned her hand to. And The Heart Goes Last is no exception ... Sinister and darkly comic in equal measure, there are glimpses of Atwood's previous works The Handmaid's Tale or the MaddAddam trilogy. But most poignantly, I really rooted for Charmaine and Stan's relationship**** * Stylist * Frolicsome and gleeful ... A novel that seems to be about austerity and turns out to be about adultery; a dystopia with a strangely sour-sweet happy ending ... Compared to The Handmaid's Tale or Alias Grace, this is far more hi-jinks in terms of gender and identity, but no less sharp-eyed or incisive ... Sheer fun, with a sharp edge * Scotland on Sunday * Darkly funny and tremendously thought-provoking, it is a joy to read ... We are in the hands of a consummate storyteller and the narrative threads tighten to a satisfying conclusion ... Margaret Atwood is expert at showing us that even if technology increases possibilities, human nature remains the same. The novel asks hard questions about the nature of loyalty and self-preservation even as we laugh * Sunday Express * Fast paced and full of fizzy demotic * Daily Telegraph * Clever, witty, speculative dystopian fiction I found pretty disturbing' * Woman & Home * Gripping dystopian novel about a couple signing away their freedom for a bit of security * The Sunday Times * Atwood has long reigned over magical realism fiction - The Handmaid's Tale and The Blind Assassin are set texts for aspiring feminists. Her new novel deserves equal fanfare * Grazia * A typically thoughtful exploration of our rapidly changing times and abiding human characteristics * Daily Telegraph * Margaret Atwood, 75, winner of literary gongs the world over and Canada's most revered writer, is having some subversive fun here ... A fast-moving caper featuring headless chickens, sexbots and Elvis and Marilyn impersonators ... It's funny, clever and, as in all of Atwood's novels, underpinned by moral concerns about personal freedom * Metro * As the narrative builds and couples try to regain their freedom, the quest is sometimes thrilling, sometimes comic, often absurd and entirely engaging ... What keeps The Heart Goes Last fresh, as with the rest of her recent work, is that whilst it revisits earlier themes of her oeuvre, it never replicates. Rather, it reads like an exploration continued, with new surprises, both narratively and thematically, to be discovered ... The Heart Goes Last is a captivating jump into the absurdity of dominance and desire, love and independence - opposing forces that never find resolution * New York Times * Highly amusing ... The question of whether the world is put back together or remains impossibly broken at the end of this sly and alarming novel seems, perhaps, to have been settled by a last snatch of A Midsummer Night's Dream' * Times Literary Supplement * The novel includes its fair share of witty social commentary, with clever side-swipes at the sex trade, trends towards social cleansing and the delusions of the positive thinking movement. The writing too is trademark Atwood: lucid, lyrical and blackly comic * Herald * No living writer does dystopia with more panache than the incomparable Margaret Atwood ... This is a screwball comedy disguised as science fiction, more biting romp than cautionary tale ... The satire, almost invisible in the serious early pages, ripens as the story continues, giving Atwood the opportunity to let her unparalleled imagination unfurl * O - Oprah Magazine * Anyone who reads loves Margaret Atwood' -- Victoria Hislop * Woman & Home * A comically fearful, laughter-is-the-new-black take on the near future -- Jeanette Winterson * Guardian * Another veteran returning to a favourite subject with freshness was Margaret Atwood. Her The Heart Goes Last sees a married couple negotiating with a dystopia which has more than a chilling touch of Stepford -- Arifa Akbar * Independent *
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About Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. In addition to the classic The Handmaid's Tale, her novels include Cat's Eye, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin (winner of the 2000 Booker Prize), and the MaddAddam trilogy: Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood and MaddAddam. She is the winner of many awards, which, in addition to the Booker, include the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature, France's Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Italy's Premio Mondello and, in 2014, the Orion Book Award for Fiction. In 2012 she was awarded the title of Companion of Literature by The Royal Society of Literature. Margaret Atwood lives in Toronto, Canada.
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Rating details

62,674 ratings
3.39 out of 5 stars
5 13% (8,113)
4 33% (20,712)
3 37% (23,337)
2 13% (8,313)
1 4% (2,199)
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