They wanted her to use her head and discard her heart, but it wasn’t so easy because the heart goes last and hers was still clinging on inside her.
A tale which is deliciously twisted and an intoxicating mix of politics, bad ass filthy corporations who mint money and the general public. And a hero out of the blue, trying to keep the balance of right and wrong in the world. The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood is a story that will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions, love, hatred, deception.
The Heart Goes Last is set in the time of post-economic meltdown of the United States, a time when people were living in their cars away from goons who were ready to loot and rape at the sight of any human. Stan and Charmaine are doing odd jobs and living in their car like many others, but they have to find a solution fast, something which can, at least, give them basics of life; a fluffy pillow, half a mug of beer, 4 walls and a ceiling and their lost charm and love. An advertisement comes to their rescue, ”Positron project”, which claims to give you a comfortable house and food to live. The company has built a nice retro town by the name of ”Consilience” and applicants are giving a comfortable home and plushy jobs as wells. But there is a catch, they can only live in the house at alternate months and spend rest of their time in Positron prison. swapping with ”Alternates” who then move into the house. Also, once signed up, you are in the project till your last breath!
Life at Consilience is highly controlled, there is close surveillance on all your activities and cameras all around. The management is strict about role plays and there is hardly any chance of any inhabitant fooling around. Stan gets a job as a chicken handler at the project’s poultry and Charmaine’s job is of a Medical Administrator. Innocently and unknowingly, she has to euthanize people who cannot live on the premises anymore. But they both never complain, they know life outside is much worse as compared to this fake prison where they are living.
The initial safe dream of theirs turns into a nightmare when Charmaine breaks a few rules, one of them being involving with the Alternates which is a strict no-no! But when it comes to heart, who listens to the brain? What follows then is a series of deceit, torture, truth facing moments about the real businesses of Consilience and an attempt to make the best out of the project.
Atwood has always tried to establish a connect between humans and technology through her books. The Heart Goes Last, which was published initially as an e-book turned out to be a complete page turner for us. There will not be a single moment when you will be bored or too much detail will make you yawn. From establishing the story with struggles of Stan and Charmaine to their last wishes, the book kept us engaged throughout! Margaret Atwood has a talent for words, she mocks the established rules in such a way that even you will nod and say ”She has a point!”. The story line is perfectly synchronized and easy to read though the emotional turmoils shared by each character might leave you a bit confused sometimes.
The only glitch we felt in the story was towards the end. What started off and remained a page turner, turned out to be a little dragged around the climax, about last 50 pages or so. We would have loved a tweaked ending with some unexpected twists and turns. Apart from this, everything in this book was truly entertaining is a devilish and quirky way.
All in all, The Heart Goes Last should be definitely your next read!