A sinister, wickedly funny novel about a near-future in which the lawful are locked up and the lawless roam free, The Heart Goes Last is Margaret Atwood at her heart-stopping best.
By the author of The Handmaid's Tale and Alias Grace
Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of economic and social collapse. Living in their car, surviving on tips from Charmaine's job at a dive bar, they're increasingly vulnerable to roving gangs and in a rather desperate state. So when they see an advertisement for the Positron Project in the town of Consilience - a 'social experiment' offering stable jobs and a home of their own - they sign up immediately. All they have to do in return for this suburban paradise is give up their freedom every second month, swapping their home for a prison cell.
At first, all is well. But slowly, unknown to the other, Stan and Charmaine develop a passionate obsession with their counterparts, the couple that occupy their home when they are in prison. Soon the pressures of conformity, mistrust, guilt and sexual desire take over, and Positron looks less like a prayer answered and more like a chilling prophecy fulfilled.
Gloriously madcap . . . You only pause in your laughter when you realise that, in its constituent parts, the world she depicts here is all too horribly plausible - Observer
The bestselling author who shot to fame 30 years ago with The Handmaid's Tale is still at her darkly comic best - Sunday Times
What distinguishes Atwood's apocalypticism is her insistence that we have brought it on ourselves. It's not meteor strikes, or aliens that destroy our world. It's us . . . I loved it - The Times
Jubilant comedy of errors, bizarre bedroom farce, SF prison-break thriller, psychedelic sixties crime caper: The Heart Goes Last scampers in and out of all of these genres, pausing only to quote Milton on the loss of Eden or Shakespeare on weddings. Meanwhile, it performs a hard-eyed autopsy on themes of impersonation and self-impersonation, revealing so many layers of contemporary deception and self-deception that we don't know whether to laugh or cry - Guardian