Thursday, October 29, 2015

What We're Reading: Dark Humor

In acclaimed writer Margaret Atwood's latest novel, a couple who has fallen on hard times because of the economic downturn decide to participate in a social experiment in which they are given a house to occupy, plus a job--if they agree to spend every other month as inmates in an experimental prison system. It is a darkly humorous and subversive look at marriage, sexuality, and society.

[Cover]Stan and Charmaine started off as starry-eyed newlyweds, dreaming of a bright future with a place of their own and successful careers. But as the economy suffers a major downturn, they lose their jobs and their house. Forced to live in their car, the couple is at their wits' end until they hear about a social experiment that will provide them with a house that they can call their own--half-time, anyway--if they spend the other half as inmates of an experimental prison. They will share the house with another family, who will switch places with them at the prison every other month. But when Charmaine has an affair with the other inhabitant of the house, their life gets infinitely more strange and dangerous.

Margaret Atwood is adept at entertaining and shocking her audience, and this book delivers on both counts. Though it is not as ambitious as Oryx and Crake, this book has just as many darkly hilarious moments with its underlying serious themes. What is great about this book is that it has more accessible writing. Unlike some of Atwood's books, The Heart Goes Last has a simple, linear plot with a few characters, making it an entertaining page-turner without compromising the quality of the book.​

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