MaddAddam (MaddAddam Trilogy #3) [NOOK Book]


Bringing together Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood, this thrilling conclusion to Margaret Atwood's speculative fiction trilogy points toward the ultimate endurance of community, and love.

Months after the Waterless Flood pandemic has wiped out most of humanity, Toby and Ren have rescued their friend Amanda from the vicious Painballers. They return to the MaddAddamite cob house, newly fortified against man and giant pigoon alike. ...
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MaddAddam (MaddAddam Trilogy #3)

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Bringing together Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood, this thrilling conclusion to Margaret Atwood's speculative fiction trilogy points toward the ultimate endurance of community, and love.

Months after the Waterless Flood pandemic has wiped out most of humanity, Toby and Ren have rescued their friend Amanda from the vicious Painballers. They return to the MaddAddamite cob house, newly fortified against man and giant pigoon alike. Accompanying them are the Crakers, the gentle, quasi-human species engineered by the brilliant but deceased Crake. Their reluctant prophet, Snowman-the-Jimmy, is recovering from a debilitating fever, so it's left to Toby to preach the Craker theology, with Crake as Creator. She must also deal with cultural misunderstandings, terrible coffee, and her jealousy over her lover, Zeb.

Zeb has been searching for Adam One, founder of the God's Gardeners, the pacifist green religion from which Zeb broke years ago to lead the MaddAddamites in active resistance against the destructive CorpSeCorps. But now, under threat of a Painballer attack, the MaddAddamites must fight back with the aid of their newfound allies, some of whom have four trotters. At the center of MaddAddam is the story of Zeb's dark and twisted past, which contains a lost brother, a hidden murder, a bear, and a bizarre act of revenge.

Combining adventure, humor, romance, superb storytelling, and an imagination at once dazzlingly inventive and grounded in a recognizable world, MaddAddam is vintage Margaret Atwood—a moving and dramatic conclusion to her internationally celebrated dystopian trilogy.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Margaret Atwood's new novel can be read as the dramatic conclusion of the trilogy that began with Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood, but it possesses enough resonance of its own to be read as a standalone. Certainly, as rendered by the talented Canadian author, the ongoing struggle of Toby, Zeb, Ren, and Amanda to survive in a post-apocalyptic world holds our fervent attention. (P.S. Atwood is renowned as the creator of literary science fiction. Among her honors is an Arthur C. Clarke Award.)

Library Journal
In this wrap-up to the magisterial trilogy begun with Oryx & Crake and continued with The Year of the Flood, a waterless flood has wiped out most of humanity. While Ren and Toby have returned to the MaddAddamite cob house, the story really belongs to Zeb, who searches for God's Gardeners founder Adam One as his own past is disclosed.
The New York Times Book Review - Andrew Sean Greer
What a joy it is to see Margaret Atwood taking such delicious pleasure in the end of the world…In MaddAddam, the third volume of Atwood's apocalyptic MaddAddam trilogy, she has sent the survivors of Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood to a compound where they await a final showdown. But what gives MaddAddam such tension and light are the final revelations of how this new world came to be, and how the characters made their way to this battle for the future of humanity. Atwood has brought the previous two books together in a fitting and joyous conclusion that's an epic not only of an imagined future but of our own past, an exposition of how oral storytelling traditions led to written ones and ultimately to our sense of origin…Atwood's prose miraculously balances humor, outrage and beauty.
Publishers Weekly
The final entry in Atwood’s brilliant MaddAddam trilogy roils with spectacular and furious satire. The novel begins where Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood end, just after most of the human species has been eradicated by a man-made plague. The early books explore a world of terrifying corporate tyranny, horrifying brutality, and the relentless rape of women and the planet. In Oryx and Crake, the pandemic leaves wounded protagonist Jimmy to watch over the Crakers, a humanoid species bioengineered to replace humankind by the man responsible for unleashing the plague. In The Year of the Flood, MaddAddamites wield science to terrorize corporate villains while God’s Gardeners use prayer and devotion to the Earth to prepare for the approaching cataclysm. Toby, a God’s Gardener and key character in the second book, narrates the third installment, in which a few survivors, including MaddAddamites, God’s Gardeners, Jimmy, and the Crakers, navigate a postapocalyptic world. Toby is reunited with Zeb, her MaddAddamite romantic interest in Year of the Flood, and the two become leaders and defenders of their new community. The survivors are a traumatized, cynical group with harshly tested self-preservation skills, but they have the capacity for love and self-sacrifice, which in a simpler story would signal hope for the future of humankind. However, Atwood dramatizes the importance of all life so convincingly that readers will hesitate to assume that the perpetuation of a species as destructive as man is the novel’s central concern. With childlike stubbornness, even the peaceful Crakers demand mythology and insist on deifying people whose motives they can’t understand. Other species genetically engineered for exploitation by now-extinct corporations roam the new frontier; some are hostile to man, including the pigoons—a powerful and uniquely perceptive source of bacon and menace. Threatening humans, Crakers, and pigoons are Painballers—former prisoners dehumanized in grotesque life-or-death battles. The Crakers cannot fight, the bloodthirsty Painballers will not yield, and the humans are outnumbered by the pigoons. Happily, Atwood has more surprises in store. Her vision is as affirming as it is cautionary, and the conclusion of this remarkable trilogy leaves us not with a sense of despair at mankind’s failings but with a sense of awe at humanity’s barely explored potential to evolve. Agent: Phoebe Larmore, Larmore Literary Agency. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"Atwood has brought the previous two books together in a fitting and joyous conclusion that’s an epic not only of an imagined future but of our own past, an exposition of how oral storytelling traditions led to written ones and ultimately to our sense of origin ... Atwood's prose miraculously balances humor, outrage and beauty. A simple description becomes both chilling and sublime ... In so much genre fiction, language is sacrificed to plot and invention. It's a pleasure to read a futuristic novel whose celebration of beauty extends to the words themselves." The New York Times Book Review

"Thoughtful, sardonic, and full of touches that almost resemble a fairy tale, MaddAddam will stick with you long after you've put it down. It's an apocalypse story about new life, and a condemnation of humanity that ends, however uneasily, with a celebration of it." —NPR

"MaddAddam is sharp, witty and strong enough to stand alone ... Peppered with witty neologisms, Atwood’s character-driven novel is terrific precisely because of close attention to detail, to voice, to what’s in the hearts of these people: love, loss, the need to keep on keeping on, no matter what ... [T]his novel sings." Miami Herald

"[S]ardonically funny ... [Atwood] certainly has the tone exactly right, both for the linguistic hypocrisy that can disguise any kind of catastrophe, and for the contemptuous dismissal of those who point to disaster ... MaddAddam is at once a pre- and a post-apocalypse story." The Wall Street Journal

"[T]here is something funny, even endearing, about such a dark and desperate view of a future — a ravaged world emerging from alarmingly familiar trends — that is so jam-packed with the gifts of imagination, invention, intelligence and joy. There may be some hope for us yet." Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Margaret Atwood continues to flourish as she approaches her fifth decade of publication ... A thrilling and enchanting — funny, sad, clever, audacious — tale of grumpy, deflated, and perilous post-apocalyptic times, year 0.6." The Vancouver Sun

"[T]he imaginative universe Atwood has created in these books is huge ... It's a dystopia, but it's still fun ... Atwood doesn't just ask what if, she raises an eyebrow and says, See where we're going? Yet she's not a pessimist: She's invented a future large enough to include, after the end of the world, people falling in love." Los Angeles Times

"This unsentimental narrative exposes the heart of human creativity as well as our self-destructive darkness ... MaddAddam is fueled with edgy humor, sardonic twists, hilarious coincidences." Boston Globe

"The final entry in Atwood’s brilliant MaddAddam trilogy roils with spectacular and furious satire ... Her vision is as affirming as it is cautionary, and the conclusion of this remarkable trilogy leaves us not with a sense of despair at mankind’s failings but with a sense of awe at humanity’s barely explored potential to evolve." Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Ten years after Oryx & Crake rocked readers the world over, Atwood brings her cunning, impish, and bracing speculative trilogy—following The Year of the Flood—to a gritty, stirring, and resonant conclusion ... Atwood is ascendant, from her resilient characters to the feverishly suspenseful plot involving battles, spying, cyberhacking, murder, and sexual tension ... The coruscating finale in an ingenious, cautionary trilogy of hubris, fortitude, wisdom, love, and life’s grand obstinacy." Booklist

"[T]ense and exciting ... MaddAddam is an extraordinary achievement ... Atwood's body of work will last precisely because she has told us about ourselves. It is not always a pretty picture, but it is true for all that." The Independent (UK)

"[MaddAddam] deploys its author's trademark cool, omniscient satire, but adds to that a real sense of engagement with a fallen world. Atwood has created something reminiscent of Shakespeare's late comedies; her wit and dark humour combine with a compassionate tenderness towards struggling human beings." The Independent (UK)

Library Journal
The compelling conclusion to Atwood's dystopian trilogy opens with a brief synopsis of the series' first two books, Oryx & Crake and The Year of the Flood, then launches directly into the story of the MaddAddamites, survivors of a global pandemic that wiped out most of humanity. Readers, even those unfamiliar with the human characters and the genetically engineered new species Atwood has created in her futuristic world, will be quickly drawn in and eager to find out what happens to the MaddAddamites and to the Crakers, a gentle, quasihuman species created by Crake. Their world is full of many dangers, including direct attacks from criminally insane Painballers and from pigoons, transgenic pigs developed to grow replacement organs for humans. Toby, Zeb, and the rest of the MaddAddamites are alive, but will they be able to continue not only to subsist but to build up their small society and, eventually, live alongside the Crakers and even flourish? VERDICT Certainly of great interest to Atwood fans awaiting this third book of the trilogy and for fans of dystopian/postapocalyptic fiction generally, this finale is a gripping read for any reader. [See Prepub Alert, 3/25/13.]—Shaunna E. Hunter, Hampden-Sydney Coll. Lib., VA
Kirkus Reviews
Atwood closes her post-apocalyptic trilogy (Oryx and Crake, 2003; The Year of the Flood, 2009) with a study of a small camp of survivors, redolent with suggestions about how new-world mythologies are made. The main narrator, Toby, is a gatherer of strays at MaddAddam, an enclave of survivors of the previous years' plague and environmental collapse. Amanda was tormented by vicious "Painballers"; Snowman, the hero of Oryx and Crake, is recovering from a grotesque foot wound; and a small tribe of "Crakers," genetically engineered humanoids, are on site as well. Atwood's story moves in two directions. Looking backward, Toby's love, Zeb, recalls the history of the scientists who set this odd new world in motion while greedy evangelists like his father clung to rapidly depleting oil and cash reserves. Looking forward, the MaddAddamites must police the compound for Painballers out for revenge. As with many post-apocalyptic tales, the past is much more interesting than the present: Zeb's story is a cross sections of end-times North America, from Grand Guignol entertainments to pharmaceutical horrors, and Atwood weaves in some off-the-shelf contempt for casual sexism, consumerism and god-playing. In comparison, the closing confrontation between the MaddAddamites and Painballers is thin, though the alliances are provocative: The Crakers partner with large, genetically engineered pigs--pigoons--to help the surviving humans who unnaturally made them. In numerous interludes, Toby attempts to explain this world to the Crakers, and their dialogue, rife with miscommunications, is at once comic and strongly biblical in tone. Societies invent origin stories, Atwood suggests, by stripping off nuance for simplicity's sake. But Atwood herself has taken care to layer this story with plenty of detail--and, like most post-apocalyptic novelists, closes out the story with just a touch of optimism. By no means her finest work, but Atwood remains an expert thinker about human foibles and how they might play out on a grand scale.
The Barnes & Noble Review

So much of the world created by Margaret Atwood in the trilogy she began in 2003 with Oryx and Crake, and which concludes with MaddAddam, is predicated on the sorts of jokes whose punch lines are not apparent to their tellers. The first book told us of how the calculating, possibly autistic Crake came to invent the ostensibly superior "Crakers," a species whose genetic engineering displays his slightly idiosyncratic priorities. (Crake ensures that Crakers will feel no sexual jealousy, they will be herbivorous, and that they will repel bugs with the scent of citrus wafting from their pores.) The second volume, The Year of the Flood, gave us a vision of a world unraveling even as the tight corporate fist of the authoritarian CorpSeCorps tried to keep everyone in check, with new religions like God's Gardeners inadequate to the challenges of chaos. The humor lies in the distance between the way the story is told and what you and I — not to mention the omniscient author — happen to know about it. Atwood's gift is how she manages to execute this joke telling, largely staying on the right side of glib — though cutesy terms like "AnooYoo Spa" sometimes grate.

We already know, from The Handmaid's Tale, that Atwood has a gift for satire-by-dystopia, but there in that novel a spare allotment of humor was weighted by terror. In MaddAddam, by contrast, Atwood is in full-on stand-up mode. There are gestures made toward satirizing certain preoccupations of modern society — consumerism and environmentalism in particular. But social critique is not really the driver of the book.

Instead, Atwood is more directly concerned, this time, with the process of storytelling. In MaddAddam, storytelling's half truths and write-arounds are posed rather broadly as the jokes. And Atwood has good things to say about this. The Crakers, evidently, have not had the oral tradition programmed out of them. Like children at bedtime, they constantly ask Toby, this book's protagonist, to tell them another story. Her frustration with the conventions of that process — the way her audience sometimes sings, their habit of feeding her a "fish" that is really quite amphibian beforehand — are the humorous accents on what are ultimately abstracted phrasings of war, death, and devastation. Toby's version of the story of Oryx and Crake is, the reader of the previous books knows, a near-total lie: "Then one day Crake got rid of the chaos and the hurtful people to make Oryx happy, and to clear a safe place for you to live in." Left out, for example, are all the innocent lives Crake destroyed to get there, and what exactly happened to Oryx.

If this resolutely ironic mode results in a lot of fun when, for example, the Crakers misunderstand "fuck" as being a sort of actual deity, it also means that the book is thin on plotting of its own. The dangers have largely passed; the apocalypse's main function, at this point, is something to be remembered rather than survived. There are still a few predators lurking in the woods around Toby, Zeb, and other Gardener stragglers, but they are smaller in number. The small tribe is looking to extinguish them; whatever fear they inspire seems minimal. Instead the chapters are organized around smaller traumas and flashbacks, which give the book a meandering quality.

This less-than-a-page-turner result reveals the problem with trying to structure one's book on an oral tradition. In some ways the ending to a story is always obvious; someone survived to tell and hear the tale. We all know that the victors are always the ones that get to write the history, so there's never much concern about whether the Crakers are going to flourish. Without that essential element of suspense, these books leave you to live for observations like this:

Is that what writing amounts to? The voice your ghost would have, if it had a voice?
Which are poetic and beautiful and yet do not present the sort of compelling reading that a more traditionally plotted and characterized book might. The story feels light and impermanent, not the kind of explicit monomyth that might actually move its readers to action. And ultimately this levity becomes a questionable strategy, leaving the book's mission slightly unclear: is it to be "great fun," or is it proper satire?

Perhaps as a prophylactic to such criticisms, Atwood has said these books aren't science fiction but rather speculative fiction. Of course, that's a slightly snobby-sounding claim for which no less an eminence than Ursula K. Le Guin has taken her to task. But Atwood says she means no more by it than that she has linked the real world to many of the pieces of the book. As she puts it in her acknowledgements, "Although MaddAddam is a work of fiction, it does not include any technologies or bio-beings that do not already exist, are not under construction, or are not possible in theory."

There is some haunting potential to that idea of novelists writing about speculative futures, voluntarily accepting limits on their own freedom of invention to make the worlds feel more like they could Actually Happen. But that promise is not one MaddAddam ever quite realizes. Atwood's intelligence keeps intervening to remind us that stories are only stories, and never quite in line with the real thing. For the way she sets up that insight alone, MaddAddam — and its predecessors — are worth reading. But it makes one long for Atwood to have focused her intellect more sharply on the world whose future she says she's speculating about.

Michelle Dean is a journalist, critic, and erstwhile lawyer whose writing has appeared at The New Yorker, Slate, The Nation, and The Awl.

Reviewer: Michelle Dean

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385537834
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/3/2013
  • Series: MaddAddam Trilogy Series, #3
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 24,420
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Margaret  Atwood
MARGARET ATWOOD, whose work has been published in thirty-five countries, is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. In addition to The Handmaid's Tale, her novels include Cat's Eye, short-listed for the Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; Oryx and Crake, short-listed for the 2003 Man Booker Prize; and her most recent, The Year of the Flood. She is the recipient of the Los Angeles Times Innovator's Award, and lives in Toronto with the writer Graeme Gibson.
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    1. Hometown:
      Toronto, Ontario
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 18, 1939
    2. Place of Birth:
      Ottawa, Ontario
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Toronto, 1961; M.A. Radcliffe, 1962; Ph.D., Harvard University, 1967
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt


The Story of the Egg, and of Oryx and Crake, and how they made People and Animals; and of the Chaos; and of Snowman-the-Jimmy; and of the Smelly Bone and the coming of the Two Bad Men

In the beginning, you lived inside the Egg. That is where Crake made you.

Yes, good, kind Crake. Please stop singing or I can’t go on with the story.

The Egg was big and round and white, like half a bubble, and there were trees inside it with leaves and grass and berries. All the things you like to eat.

Yes, it rained inside the Egg.

No, there was not any thunder.

Because Crake did not want any thunder inside the Egg.

And all around the Egg was the chaos, with many, many people who were not like you.

Because they had an extra skin. That skin is called clothes. Yes, like mine.

And many of them were bad people who did cruel and hurtful things to one another, and also to the animals. Such as . . . We don’t need to talk about those things right now.

And Oryx was very sad about that, because the animals were her Children. And Crake was sad because Oryx was sad.

And the chaos was everywhere outside the Egg. But inside the Egg there was no chaos. It was peaceful there.

And Oryx came every day to teach you. She taught you what to eat, she taught you to make fire, she taught you about the animals, her Children. She taught you to purr if a person is hurt. And Crake watched over you.

Yes, good, kind Crake. Please stop singing. You don’t have to sing every time. I’m sure Crake likes it, but he also likes this story and he wants to hear the rest.

Then one day Crake got rid of the chaos and the hurtful people, to make Oryx happy, and to clear a safe place for you to live in.

Yes, that did make things smell very bad for a while.

And then Crake went to his own place, up in the sky, and Oryx went with him.

I don’t know why they went. It must have been a good reason. And they left Snowman-the-Jimmy to take care of you, and he brought you to the seashore. And on Fish Days you caught a fish for him, and he ate it.

I know you would never eat a fish, but Snowman-the-Jimmy is different.

Because he has to eat a fish or he would get very sick.

Because that is the way he is made.

Then one day Snowman-the-Jimmy went to see Crake. And when he came back, there was a hurt on his foot. And you purred on it, but it did not get better.

And then the two bad men came. They were left over from the chaos.

I don’t know why Crake didn’t clear them away. Maybe they were hiding under a bush, so he didn’t see them. But they’d caught Amanda, and they were doing cruel and hurtful things to her.

We don’t need to talk about those things right now.

And Snowman-the-Jimmy tried to stop them. And then I came, and Ren, and we caught the two bad men and tied them to a tree with a rope. Then we sat around the fire and ate soup. Snowman-the-Jimmy ate the soup, and Ren, and Amanda. Even the two bad men ate the soup.

Yes, there was a bone in the soup. Yes, it was a smelly bone.

I know you do not eat a smelly bone. But many of the Children of Oryx like to eat such bones. Bobkittens eat them, and rakunks, and pigoons, and liobams. They all eat smelly bones. And bears eat them.

I will tell you what a bear is later.

We don’t need to talk any more about smelly bones right now.

And as they were all eating the soup, you came with your torches, because you wanted to help Snowman-the-Jimmy, because of his hurt foot. And because you could tell there were some women who were blue, so you wanted to mate with them.

You didn’t understand about the bad men, and about why they had a rope on them. It is not your fault they ran away into the forest. Don’t cry.

Yes, Crake must be very angry with the bad men. Perhaps he will send some thunder.

Yes, good, kind Crake.

Please stop singing.


About the events of that evening--the events that set human malice loose in the world again--Toby later made two stories. The first story was the one she told out loud, to the Children of Crake; it had a happy outcome, or as happy as she could manage. The second, for herself alone, was not so cheerful. It was partly about her own idiocy, her failure to pay attention, but also it was about speed. Everything had happened so quickly.

She’d been tired, of course; she must have been suffering from an adrenalin plunge. After all, she’d been going strong for two days with a lot of stress and not much to eat.

The day before, she and Ren had left the safety of the MaddAddam cobb-house enclave that sheltered the few survivors from the global pandemic that had wiped out humanity. They’d been tracking Ren’s best friend, Amanda, and they’d found her just in time because the two Painballers who’d been using her had almost used her up. Toby was familiar with the ways of such men: she’d been almost killed by one of them before she’d become a God’s Gardener. Anyone who’d survived Painball more than once had been reduced to the reptilian brain. Sex until you were worn to a fingernail was their mode; after that, you were dinner. They liked the kidneys.

Toby and Ren had crouched in the shrubbery while the Painballers argued over the rakunk they were eating, and whether to attack the Crakers, and what to do next with Amanda. Ren had been scared silly; Toby hoped she wouldn’t faint, but she couldn’t worry about that because she was nerving herself to fire. Which to shoot first, the bearded one or the shorthair? Would the other have time to grab their spraygun? Amanda wouldn’t be able to help, or even run: they had a rope around her neck, with the other end tied to the leg of the bearded one. A wrong move by Toby, and Amanda would be dead.

Then a strange man had shambled out of the bushes, sunburnt and scabby and naked and clutching a spraygun, and had almost shot everyone in sight, Amanda included. But Ren had screamed and run into the clearing, and that had been enough of a distraction. Toby had stepped out, rifle aimed; Amanda had torn free; and the Painballers had been subdued with the aid of some groin kicks and a rock, and tied up with their own rope and with strips torn from the pink AnooYoo Spa top-to-toe sun coverup that Toby had been wearing.

Ren had then busied herself with Amanda, who was possibly in shock, and also with the scabby naked man, whom she called Jimmy. She’d wrapped him up in the rest of the top-to-toe, talking to him softly; it seemed he was a long-ago boyfriend of hers.

Now that things were tidier, Toby had felt she could relax. She’d steadied herself with a Gardener breathing exercise, timing it to the soothing rhythm of the nearby waves--wish-wash, wish-wash--until her heart had slowed to normal. Then she’d cooked a soup.

And then the moon had risen.

The rising moon signalled the beginning of the God’s Gardeners Feast of Saint Julian and All Souls: a celebration of God’s tenderness and compassion for all creatures. The universe is held in the hollow of His hand, as Saint Julian of Norwich taught us in her mystic vision so long ago. Forgiveness must be offered, loving kindness must be practised, circles must be unbroken. All souls means all, no matter what they may have done. At least from moonrise to moonset.

Once the Gardener Adams and Eves taught you something, you stayed taught. It would have been next to impossible for her to kill the Painballers on that particular night--butcher them in cold blood, since by that time the two of them were firmly roped to a tree.

Amanda and Ren had done the roping. They’d been to Gardener school together where they’d done a lot of crafts with recycled materials, so they were proficient at knotwork. Those guys looked like macramé.

On that blessed Saint Julian’s evening, Toby had set the weaponry to one side--her own antiquated rifle and the Painballers’ spraygun, and Jimmy’s spraygun as well. Then she’d played the kindly godmother, ladling out the soup, dividing up the nutrients for all to share.

She must have been mesmerized by the spectacle of her own nobility and kindness. Getting everyone to sit in a circle around the cozy evening fire and drink soup together--even Amanda, who was so traumatized she was almost catatonic; even Jimmy, who was shivering with fever and talking to a dead woman who was standing in the flames. Even the two Painballers: did she really think they would have a conversion experience and start hugging bunnies? It’s a wonder she didn’t sermonize as she doled out the bone soup. Some for you, and some for you, and some for you! Shed the hatred and viciousness! Come into the circle of light!

But hatred and viciousness are addictive. You can get high on them. Once you’ve had a little, you start shaking if you don’t get more.

As they were eating the soup, they’d heard voices approaching through the shoreline trees. It was the Children of Crake, the Crakers--the strange gene-spliced quasi-humans who lived by the sea. They were filing through the trees, carrying pitch-pine torches and singing their crystalline songs.

Toby had seen these people only briefly, and in daytime. Gleaming in the moonlight and the torchlight, they were even more beautiful. They were all colours--brown, yellow, black, white--and all heights, but each was perfect. The women were smiling serenely; the men were in full courtship mode, holding out bunches of flowers, their naked bodies like a fourteen-year-old’s comic-book rendition of how bodies ought to be, each muscle and ripple defined and glistening. Their bright blue and unnaturally large penises were wagging from side to side like the tails of friendly dogs.

Afterwards, Toby could never quite remember the sequence of events, if you could call it a sequence. It had been more like a pleebland street brawl: rapid action, tangled bodies, a cacophony of voices.

Where is the blue? We can smell the blue! Look, there is Snowman! He is thin! He is very sick!

Ren: Oh shit, it’s the Crakers. What if they want . . . Look at their . . . Crap!

The Craker women, spotting Jimmy: Let us help Snowman! He needs us to purr!

The Craker men, sniffing Amanda: She is the blue one! She smells blue! She wants to mate with us! Give her the flowers! She will be happy!

Amanda, scared: Stay away! I don’t . . . Ren, help me! Four large, beautiful, flower-toting naked men close in on her. Toby! Get them away from me! Shoot them!

The Craker women: She is sick. First we have to purr on her. To make her better. And give her a fish?

The Craker men: She is blue! She is blue! We are happy! Sing to her!

The other one is blue also.

That fish is for Snowman. We must keep that fish.

Ren: Amanda, maybe just take the flowers, or they might get mad or something . . .

Toby, her voice thin and ineffectual: Please, listen, stand back, you’re frightening . . .

What is this? Is this a bone? Several of the women, peering into the soup pot: Are you eating this bone? It smells bad.

We do not eat bones. Snowman does not eat bones, he eats a fish. Why do you eat a smelly bone?

It is Snowman’s foot that is smelling like a bone. A bone left by vultures. Oh Snowman, we must purr on your foot!

Jimmy, feverish: Who are you? Oryx? But you’re dead. Everyone’s dead. Everyone in the whole world, they’re all dead . . . He starts crying.

Do not be sad, Oh Snowman. We have come to help.

Toby: Maybe you shouldn’t touch . . . that’s infected . . . he needs . . .

Jimmy: Ow! Fuck!

Oh Snowman, do not kick. It will hurt your foot. Several of them begin to purr, making a noise like a kitchen mixer.

Ren, calling for help: Toby! Toby! Hey! Let go of her!

Toby looks over, across the fire: Amanda has disappeared in a flickering thicket of naked male limbs and backs. Ren throws herself into the sprawl and is quickly submerged.

Toby: Wait! Don’t . . . Stop that! What should she do? This is a major cultural misunderstanding. If only she had a pail of cold water!

Muffled cries. Toby rushes to help, but then:

One of the Painballers: Hey you! Over here!

These ones smell very bad. They smell like dirty blood. Where is the blood?

What is this? This is a rope. Why are they tied up with a rope?

Snowman showed us rope before, when he lived in a tree. Rope is for making his house. Oh Snowman, why is the rope tied to these men?

This rope is hurting these ones. We must take it away.

A Painballer: Yeah, that’s right. We’re in fucking agony. (Groans.)

Toby: Don’t touch them, they’ll . . .

The second Painballer: Fucking hurry up, Blueballs, before that old bitch . . .

Toby: No! Don’t untie . . . Those men will . . .

But it was already too late. Who knew the Crakers could be so quick with knots?


The two men were gone into the darkness, leaving behind them a snarl of rope and a scattering of embers. Idiot, Toby thought. You should have been merciless. Bashed their heads in with a rock, slit their throats with your knife, not even wasted any bullets on them. You were a dimwit, and your failure to act verges on criminal negligence.

It was hard to see--the fire was fading--but she made a quick inventory: at least her rifle was still there, a small mercy. But the Painballer spraygun was missing. Pinhead, she told herself. So much for your Saint Julian and the loving kindness of the universe.
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Reading Group Guide

1. Why are Adam and Zeb so different? Or are they more similar than they first seem?

2. The MaddAddamites set about building a basic community for themselves, one that meets the need for food, clothing, shelter, and an energy source. If you were in this position, would you do things differently? Should children be taught elementary survival skills?

3. What comment, if any, do you think Margaret Atwood is making about environmentalism in this book, through organizations like Bearlift? Or does Bearlift suffer simply from the human flaws that appear in all organizations, no matter how well-meaning?

4. The Internet has an almost physical presence in MaddAddam—the “lilypads,” the game Intestinal Parasites. Do you think this is where the Internet is heading? Is it becoming a “real” entity of its own?

5. Is Toby right to trust Zeb? Do you think his feelings for Toby are genuine?

6. Toby teaches Blackbeard to write. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? What consequences do you think this will have for the Crakers and their new world?

7. Margaret Atwood’s trilogy often portrays humans and our future grimly, but it is also both funny and profane. Is Atwood’s gallows humor effective?

8. What parallels do you see between the events of MaddAddam and recent events in our real world? Are Atwood’s three dystopian books exaggerated or could they really be our future?

9. Despite having  seemed violent and disposed to eat humans, the Pigoons ultimately display more compassion than many of the humans in MaddAddam. Is that because the Pigoons are animals, or is it because of the implanted human tissue in their brains?

10. The Crakers seek stories from Jimmy and Toby to explain the world around them. What do these stories say about how myths are formed? Is the desire for religion innate within us? What do you think MaddAddam is saying about our need for gods and how religions are created?

11. How important is language in shaping and changing history and rumour into myth? Discuss the way gods form in Toby’s monologues to the Crakers—including the one named for a swear word . . .

12. Religion and our need for belief is a key concern in MaddAddam. What does the Church of PetrOleum say about Atwood’s view of religion? Has religion become a commodity?

13. How do you think the hybrid babies will turn out? Will they be more human or Craker, and which would be best for the future of Earth?

14. Is Atwood’s view of humanity ultimately negative? Is there hope at the end of MaddAddam, and if there is, where does it come from?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 42 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 5, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Five Stars MaddAdam is exactly what the followers of this trilog

    Five Stars
    MaddAdam is exactly what the followers of this trilogy were looking for. This book ties all the ends together for us. It’s masterful, and
    shows how well planned out this series was! I got the ARC on Netgalley and was planning to have my review up as soon as it was
    released but I’m so excited to finally have all my thoughts together.

    O&C really have us the basis to this story. We learn about Crake, and Jimmy and the whole world. Then we wait and wait, and finally
    Year of the Flood comes in and we meet more characters, the gardeners, a whole bigger world. We experience things more
    emotionally, it’s stronger then O&C and it hurts more too.

    Finally, MaddAdam comes along, allow a final conclusion. It’s a slow beginning but it picks right up where both books left off. Picks it up
    and starts tying it together. Each strand has been previously addressed and now we’re hearing the stories. The stories of Zeb, the
    Stories of Adam, and the stories of Crake. We are finally getting all the little pieces to come to together and we start to have glimpses
    of what the whole picture really looks like. We’ve seen fragments, and some have been happy, others are sad, but we’ve been awaiting
    the full picture.

    MaddAdam is similar to Year of the flood in the way it’s broken apart by stories like YotF was broken apart by the feast days in Toby’s
    journal. I adore the idea of the folk tales, of the Crakes learning of themselves and of their world through these tales.

    Overall, this novel was wonderful, made me sob like a baby with Margaret Atwood’s amazingly emotional storytelling and reminded me
    why I love her books so much. This is a stratifying conclusion to the whole trilogy, and though it’s different, because it’s told by different
     people and in a different section of time, it still resonates clearly with both of the previous books, and keeps the story arch strong and
    consistent! I really loved it, and am prepared to start all over again so it doesn’t have to end.

    ** I was given this book through NetGalley as a reviewer. **

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2013

    Kick-ass Trilogy

    I read O&C while on vacation in June and got After the Flood when I got back, which I promptly devoured. It drove me nuts that I had to wait until Sept. for the third book! I've just finished it and it was AMAZING! I laughed, I, really! I'm going to read it all again from the beginning. And continue to annoy my friends by telling them to READ THIS TRILOGY!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 4, 2014

    Highly recommended trilogy

    Atwood is one of my favorite authors and this trilogy is one of her most amazing works yet. Some people are foodies - I guess I'm a wordie - and her sensitivity to the nuance of words and language and human nature combined with her ability to use this skill to say something thought-provoking and perspective-changing leaves me simultaneously awestruck and inspired to write. So seldom do I feel changed after reading something anymore. With her writing, I feel I evolve.

    That said, if you prefer tidy, uncomplicated stories with tidy, uncomplicated characters where the good guys always win and it is always clear who the good guys are - Atwood is not for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2013

    Part 3 of series

    Fantastic alternate reality book that integrates a lot of interesting environmental and scientific issues.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 17, 2013

    This book follows the same format as the other two before it.

    This book follows the same format as the other two before it. A story line which takes you back through the past of one of the main characters (Zeb in this case) mixed with the happenings of the present. I found Zeb’s story a bit more interesting than the rest but nothing that much more exciting that what was told in the past. All in all a good series which is interesting an a sci-fi way but if you’re looking for more of a post-apocalyptic read where you see the end of the world this isn’t really that type of book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 11, 2013

    Apoplectic Apocalypse - Part III!

    Love the series - must read them all! gimme more, more, more!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2013

    Terrific read...

    ... if a touch sad at the ending. I find it charmingly clever how Atwood creates a story about stories, and fits it, quite naturally, into a work of speculative fiction. This MaddAddam series finale does a great job of providing the reader closure, and is another fine example of the author's craft-mastery.

    Thank you, Ms Atwood.


    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 7, 2014



    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2014


    Best read I have had in long time. Thanks Leah.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2014

    Not enough pictures or info

    I got more information on youtube for free. There are semi-clear instructions for building a system but the few diagraims are not quality ones. I still need another book. Also, only 39 pages.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 23, 2013

    Perfect ending to the trilogy

    MaddAddam is a worthy ending to the trilogy begun with Oryx and Crake and continued with The Year of the Flood. The characters continue to develop, and you learn more about their histories. The Crakers move to a more central position in the story, and it becomes clear that the future will be determined by their trajectory. There is a central story thread, but around it is the question of what will happen to humanity. It left me wishing for the series to continue.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2013


    Not a typical Atwood read Too many characters and plots

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2013

    Worst Atwood novel ever

    Too much time spent going over the past and very little on going forward in the post devastation world. Disappointed, and I am a big Atwood fan. She coasted on this one.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2013

    Valerie wilson wesley


    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2013


    Goob jod

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 3, 2013


    I wasn't that impressed but I needed to know how it ended so i guess it was worth it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013


    So dissapointed. Feel like I waited forever for this to be released. Preordered the 1st day I could. Loved the first two (love all Atwoods books actually), but could barely struggle through this one.
    The never ending bear story? The entire back story on Zedd was soooo boring. Easily a chapter, but it dragged the entire book!
    Wanted to love it, sadly barely!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2013

    c gy


    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2013

    Another Great Tale

    Loved the others in the series. If O&C was slow to no disclosure this one is full disclosure. All the disperate parts are brought together. It's neat how the author is telling a story through characters telling a story and how its done from so many perspectives. The dialogs are fluid, believable and true to each character. I hope for the sake of the prior 1 star reviewer that I used words that didn't need to be looked up. I wouldn't want to have lost the ability to communicate and especially not creatively.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2014

    Have not read atwood for years and this mifgt be a golden oldie

    Please add first year hc published and genre combo though this is obvious sci fi / fantasy/alternate universe/ paranormal and include text pagecount. Last so called short story was first two chapters cliffhanger of a book. With nook the longer the blurb the shorter the tale page counter

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews

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