Review of Margaret Atwood’s The Heart Goes Last


I reviewed Margaret Atwood’s most recent novel The Heart Goes Last for the Sydney Morning Herald, which you can read here. To be honest, it was a difficult review for me to write; I was disappointed with the book although I fully expected to love it. Margaret Atwood is actually one of the writers who inspired me to write myself – I have a vivid recollection of reading The Handmaid’s Tale and having an “ah-ha” moment. It was one of those occasions when I realised that the key to writing well was the way in which details were brought to life and this is one of the reasons I’ve always admired Atwood’s work.

I do feel obliged to point out that many other reviewers have responded more positively to this book than I did. In particular, I think there is something to be said about Mat Johnson’s take on the book in the  New York Times – that Atwood has so fundamentally changed the genre of speculative fiction, it’s easy to now read her work without appreciating how truly innovative it is.

I still have no doubt I’ll read and enjoy her next novel, which I’ve read is loosely based on The Tempest.

Published by gretchenshirm

Sydney writer and critic. Author of Having Cried Wolf.

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