A funny little initialed review from a small newspaper Down Under takes an "Atweird" view of Margaret Atwood's new dystopian/ustopian novel titled ''THE HEART GOES LAST.'' The reviewer titled her is review ''ATWEIRD/ATWIRED.''
This is Ms Atwood at her comic best, writing not for reviews or honours but just having fun with her keys and pixels. A former Playboy magazine editor apparently signed her up for the ride, first as a serial run at a now-defunct website called ByLiner.com and then later morphed by her corporate minders in the book industry who couldn't resist letting another chance go by to rake in more lucre from Atwood's pen (without letting the poor author decide for herself whether or not she wanted to put these four novellas into a hardcover project, which was never her intenion, mind you).
Well, fair dinkum, there's no stopping La Atwood once she's wound up and ready to go. A wild sense of humour, a wild sense of plot, a wild sense of sexual positioning and a wild sense of the future puts THE HEART GOES LAST into a novel box of its own unique making (er, marketing).
Part dystopiana, part ustopiana, part Atwoodiana, and part aggravated assault of the best and laugh out loud kind, the story has something for everyone, even robot fetishists with one foot in possibility and one foot in hilarity. Yes, this book, whatever its merits, is something to behold.
Even if you don't buy into the premise or the promise laid out so fiercely in the title, THE HEART GOES LAST should go first on your list of must-reads before the New Year hits at the end of December. You don't want to miss out on this ribald take on ''end of the dream'' rust belt pyrotechnics and the fireworks Atwood has designed and it will set you off, too. Eevn if it's a one-off.
It's that good, and whether serialized or fleshed out and novelized as a September Surprise, the book has scored well with critics and chronic complainers. Everyone agrees, from England to Australia, the Canadian seer has done it again, bottling her own brand of ribald fantasy into a garden of speculative delights.
You don't have to be Atwood to like Atwood. She succeeds on every page and that's something not every dystopian humorist can achieve. Samuel Marchbanks would be pleased, and Canada should be proud. The way Atwood writes, she seems taller than a Canadian spruce tree and for sure there's a sequel just waiting in the wings to carry the story into an even wilder future of rusted Americana.
I for one want to sign up now for Part Two. 2020? I'm already psyched. There's obviously more of Atwood where this came from. I'm glad it made it to Australia, too. We need this kind of wake up call here, too.
-- A.Z., Perth