Book Review: The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

November 30, 2015 Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Fall, Spring, Summer Reading 0

I received this book for free from AudioBook Reviewer in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: The Heart Goes Last by Margaret AtwoodThe Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
Published by Nan A. Talese on September 29th 2015
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell, Mark Deakin
Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
Genres: Dystopian, Sci Fi
Pages: 320
Source: AudioBook Reviewer
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Living in their car, surviving on tips, Charmaine and Stan are in a desperate state. So, when they see an advertisement for 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 suburban paradise is give up their freedom every second month – swapping their home for a prison cell. At first, all is well. But then, unknown to each other, Stan and Charmaine develop passionate obsessions with their ‘Alternates,’ the couple that occupy their house when they are in prison. Soon the pressures of conformity, mistrust, guilt and sexual desire begin to take over.

audiobook review done


This was fascinating!

Narrated By Cassandra Campbell, Mark Deakin, who did an absolutely amazing job. I was glad that there were two narrators. There are many characters in this and having just one narrator it can get difficult to differentiate between voices. These two did a marvelous job and kept the story going.

The story starts in a dystopian type time for Charmain and her husband, Stan. Neither really have any work and they are desperate to find something, anything, to keep them going. They are living in their car and although Charmain tries to remain positive, it gets difficult at times. After Stan has a run in with his brother and thinks that his brother may try to get Charmain to have sex with him, Stan decides enough is enough. He will do anything. That’s when they hear about Positron.

The story from the get go is intense. There is a grittiness to it, an edge that really makes it stand out. It was like watching a horror movie. I knew that at any moment something was going to happen to these two.

And then, the plot starts to cool a bit. Like taking a deep breath before plunging into icy waters. The main thing about being in Positron is that you have to live one month in an enclosed community and then another month in prison, alternating as long as you are there.

Stan and Charmain wind up being at Positron for a while (I want to say a year) and are starting to really feel in a rut. They remember what it was like outside so they do not complain, but they are also in a rut in their relationship. It’s this rut that causes some major issues. Both Charmain and Stan start to seek other ways of relieving their tensions and this starts the snowball of chaos.

The longer the plot goes on the more silly it gets. There are some things at the end of the book that are just straight out ridiculous. But, I loved the way it ended. There’s a twist and then a twist to THAT twist. I really enjoy that this feels settled but maybe not quite. You may need to suspend belief to be able to enjoy all of this as the plot delves into strange categories. It is Sci Fi and I enjoyed it, even the twisted parts.

The audio was very appealing and had me on the edge of my seat. To reiterate, absolutely fantastic narration.

Rating Report
4 / 5
Character Development
3.5 / 5
Writing Style
5 / 5
Personal enjoyment
5 / 5
4 / 5
Overall: 4.3 / 5

The Author


About Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master's degree from Radcliffe College.

Throughout her writing career, Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and honourary degrees. She is the author of more than thirty-five volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction and is perhaps best known for her novels, which include The Edible Woman (1970), The Handmaid's Tale (1983), The Robber Bride (1994), Alias Grace (1996), and The Blind Assassin, which won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000. Atwood's dystopic novel, Oryx and Crake, was published in 2003. The Tent (mini-fictions) and Moral Disorder (short stories) both appeared in 2006. Her most recent volume of poetry, The Door, was published in 2007. Her non-fiction book, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth ­ in the Massey series, appeared in 2008, and her most recent novel, The Year of the Flood, in the autumn of 2009. Ms. Atwood's work has been published in more than forty languages, including Farsi, Japanese, Turkish, Finnish, Korean, Icelandic and Estonian. In 2004 she co-invented the Long Pen TM.

Margaret Atwood currently lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.

Associations: Margaret Atwood was President of the Writers' Union of Canada from May 1981 to May 1982, and was President of International P.E.N., Canadian Centre (English Speaking) from 1984-1986. She and Graeme Gibson are the Joint Honourary Presidents of the Rare Bird Society within BirdLife International. Ms. Atwood is also a current Vice-President of PEN International.

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