Just finished reading Margaret Atwood' s dystopian novel, The Heart Goes Last. It is quite vicious. It reminds me that we old people can be just as mean about young people as young people are about old people. Of course the young are always running around, and they believe stupid things, but they have the energy for it.
The hero is a generic sorehead named Stan, who just wants sex, and the heroine is Charmaine, a dopey blonde in the literary tradition of Candy in Terry Southern' s 50's novel of the same name. She is a deep-dyed romantic and good girl who is led astray. Though set in the near future, the novel is full of 50's nostalgia, all the horrible stuff: boring domesticity, meaningless work, love nests, "hot" sex, ghastly pop music, etc. etc. It truly evokes the time to those of us who lived through it and mostly hated it.
Atwood has a lot of fun with all the types she presents, hilarious, considering the age and reputation of the author, and she does not bother overmuch with the logistics of the dystopian community she describes, which recruits victims of a catastrophic economic downturn, provides them with decent housing, food, and work and euthanizes some for their body parts. The best chapters of the novel are the ones set in Las Vegas, and the ending is a wild parody of the marriage plot.
Both funny and annoying is the way Charmaine evokes the wise sayings of her Grandma Win, the only person who truly loved her in her growing up years: The depiction of her touching sentimentality about her Grandma is delightfully sarcastic, and her pronouncements straight out of the can, such as, "Pick your battles," or unintentionally funny ones, as when she tells her to study both pediatrics and gerontology, because then she'll have herself covered at both ends.
I guess you could say this is "Swiftian" satire. It's certain to offend the right people.
This book is a "con," and a very good one. Only a novelist as skilled as Atwood could hold all this stuff together and keep it entertaining, amusing and coherent right through to the end.
Still stuck with posting from my Kindle Fire but should be in business again by Monday. I still have photos from Brisbane to post.