“He can’t shake the feeling that this place is some sort of pyramid scheme, and that those who fail to understand that will be left empty-handed. But there’s no obvious reason for this feeling of his. Maybe he’s ungrateful by nature.”
The nation is in economic ruin. Everyone is fighting for whatever scraps are left. Which is why Charmaine is grateful to have a job as a bartender, even if she and her husband Stan are living in their car and moving every few hours to keep vandals from carjacking them. Then one night while at work she sees an advertisement for a community called Consilience, promising work and all of life comforts. The only catch is you spend every other month in Positron, a prison. Even with the prison caveat, the offer seems to good to pass up. But perhaps it was actually too good to be true.
“Because citizens were always a bit like inmates and inmates were always a bit like citizens, so Consilience and Positron have only made it official.”
Despite Stan’s misgivings, he and Charmaine set out towards Consilience. They are accepted into the program and things start off well enough. But when Stan starts fantasizing about the woman who lives in their house when they are spending their month at Positron and Charmaine starts having an affair with that’s woman’s husband, things begin to fall apart.
Suddenly Charmaine is stuck in Positron, Stan is stuck in Consilience and they are both involved in a much bigger scheme.
Add in smarmy CEOs, an underground ring of smuggled counterfeit Elvis sex bots, and a little organ farming and you have quite the story.
“That was the original idea, but once you’ve got a controlled population with a wall around it and no oversight, you can do anything you want.”
I honestly can’t recommend this book enough. It is not something I would have every picked up on my own, but fortunately enough I obtained it through a book swap with a good friend and I am forever grateful. This book completely blew my mind. I don’t know what I was expecting going into it, but I was surprised at every turn. It took me through the full range on emotions: anger, fear, frustration, humor, relief…all of them. I enjoyed the fact that it was written in multiple voices, I liked seeing the situations from both Charmaine and Stan’s perspective and the literary irony that lent to the story. Plus each character was so different that their perspectives varied greatly.
Why I picked this book for my “gateway” square: I have never read a Margaret Atwood book—I’ve seen them EVERYWHERE, but never, not once, was I compelled to pick one up. I think a lot of that had to do with how overwhelming the hype for “The Hand Maiden’s Tail” can be, so it was just easier for me to ignore it. However, now that this book has entered my life, I have revisited that opinion—especially since there is so much more to Margaret Atwood than just “The Handmaiden’s Tail”.