Published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group on September 29th 2015
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Following a catastrophic economic downturn, Charmaine and Stan are left living in their car, scraping by on a few dollars a week. When they hear about Consilience, a town that offers regular work and beautiful homes in exchange for participation in a social experiment, they quickly drop everything to sign away the lives they’re living. Though Consilience is everything they hoped for at first, nothing goes quite as planned when Charmaine and Stan are forced to face the truths of the lives they’ve agreed to.
Sadly, what stands out most from the start of The Heart Goes Last is the absence of Atwood’s distinct voice. Gone are the poetic lines and highlight-worthy passages, replaced with a rather messy plot. Though Atwood does raise several very interesting questions about desire and sexuality, they are completely buried in the second half of the novel. It takes far too long—down a winding and garbled road—to get to the final scene, which greatly loses its potential impact in the journey.
Still, the issues at the core of the novel are important and deserve attention, as is the case with most of Atwood’s work. If they can be isolated and turned over, there’s certainly value in reading The Heart Goes Last—just be prepared to wade through quite a bit in your effort.