I recently had the privilege of being one of the first to read Margaret Atwood’s new book, The Heart Goes Last. It took me a few days to get into it, but by the end, I couldn’t put it down. I actually discovered after I’d finished The Heart Goes Last that it is part of Atwood’s Positron short story series, though it seems to me that The Heart Goes Last is simply the short stories combined into a novel (I haven’t read them, and I can’t find any definitive proof, so I can’t be sure). The story is different than anything I’ve ever read, and the ending was completely unexpected.
After the (almost) complete economical collapse, married couple Stan and Charmaine find themselves living in their car and surviving on the tips Charmaine makes as a waitress. One day, they see an ad for a social experiment offering stable jobs and housing. The sign up immediately, and become residents of the town of Consilience. There’s a catch, though: each resident gets to live in a brand-new house every other month. The rest of the time, they are inmates in Positron prison. At first, everything seems wonderful. But then Stan and Charmaine begin to develop obsessions with their Alternates – the couple who lives in their house when they are in prison. And when Stan investigates Charmaine’s strange behavior, all while fantasizing about the purple lipstick wearing Jasmine, he uncovers the dark secrets of Consilience. Stan’s brother Conor warned him that the only way out of Consilience was in a box. And when Stan is chosen to expose the “real” experiment, he might find himself in that box sooner rather than later.
The Heart Goes Last is creepy and dark and weird. But I really enjoyed it! It reminded me a lot of the only other Margaret Atwood book I’ve read, The Handmaid’s Tale. It was both thought provoking and strange. I’d recommend it for fans of Margaret Atwood or anyone who likes Lianne Moriarty, Gillian Flynn, or Paula Hawkins. While I wouldn’t call The Heart Goest Last a mystery, there are so many twists and turns, you never know what’s going to happen.
The Heart Goes Last will be available in stores on September 29th. You can preorder it (in hardcover, paperback, Kindle, or Audible) on Amazon now.
This book was provided to me by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.