The Heart Goes Last - Margaret Atwood

The Heart Goes Last

By Margaret Atwood

  • Release Date: 2015-09-29
  • Genre: Adventure
Score: 3.5
From 241 Ratings


Margaret Atwood puts the human heart to the ultimate test in an utterly brilliant new novel that is as visionary as The Handmaid's Tale and as richly imagined as The Blind Assassin.

     Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of an economic and social collapse. Job loss has forced them to live in their car, leaving them vulnerable to roving gangs. They desperately need to turn their situation around—and fast. The Positron Project in the town of Consilience seems to be the answer to their prayers. No one is unemployed and everyone gets a comfortable, clean house to live in . . . for six months out of the year. On alternating months, residents of Consilience must leave their homes and function as inmates in the Positron prison system. Once their month of service in the prison is completed, they can return to their "civilian" homes.
     At first, this doesn't seem like too much of a sacrifice to make in order to have a roof over one's head and food to eat. But when Charmaine becomes romantically involved with the man who lives in their house during the months when she and Stan are in the prison, a series of troubling events unfolds, putting Stan's life in danger. With each passing day, Positron looks less like a prayer answered and more like a chilling prophecy fulfilled.


  • Gets very strange

    By BerlinBeatz
    Loved this book, initially. Couldn’t put it down. Then about 3/4ths of the way through it gets too weird for me. Was disappointed. Oh well!
  • Eh.

    By //snickerdoodle
    There’s a half-baked message in here somewhere, but it’s never fully realized.
  • Atwood’s Still Got It

    By Isisunit
    I would like to thank Doubleday Books & NetGalley for granting me a copy of this e-book to read in exchange for an honest review. Though I received this e-book for free that in no way impacts my review. Goodreads Teaser: "Living in their car, surviving on tips, Charmaine and Stan are in a desperate state. So, when they see an advertisement for 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 suburban paradise is give up their freedom every second month – swapping their home for a prison cell. At first, all is well. But then, unknown to each other, Stan and Charmaine develop passionate obsessions with their ‘Alternates,’ the couple that occupy their house when they are in prison. Soon the pressures of conformity, mistrust, guilt and sexual desire begin to take over." Margaret Atwood delivers another novel of deep interest and entertainment, which will leave the reader contemplating so many things long after they've put the book down. Stan and Charmaine are you're typical middle-class Americans. At least they used to be until everything fell apart. Watching how they each dealt with the daily pressure of finding themselves adrift in a world they no longer recognize is almost like staring into a mirror out of the corner of your eye. You can imagine yourself in their shoes and wonder how you'd be reacting to their situation. I found Charmaine to be a slightly annoying ninny. She's constantly quoting her grandmother, and the quotes are all just ridiculous platitudes. She avoids anything dark or depressing, shoving all her bad memories into a place she never ventures. Her perpetually upbeat attitude in the face of extreme uncertainty annoyed me, and left me wondering about her husband Stan since he signed on for a life with this ray of blinding sunshine. Yet Stan was a more relatable character for me. He is more upfront and honest about his thoughts and feelings, even if only to himself. Yet sometimes he overloads and does lash out, which makes sense in the story and helped make him feel more realistic than Charmaine to me. The pacing and arc of the story was smooth, attesting to Atwood's innate storytelling skills. While this book isn't as clearly dystopian as some of her other stories, it's heading that way, which makes it all the more frightening because what she created feels far to close to real for me. The messed up world she envisioned feels as if it's only a few steps away from where we stand now, and there are so many people ready to step in and create their own personal playground out of the entire world. Although this tale reads as fiction, it certainly touches on highly charged current events, bringing things to light that engenders serious thought. Despite the fictional aspect of the story this is in many ways a very thought provoking novel, and one that will linger in my mind for some time to come. But then that has always been the case with books by the eminently talented Margaret Atwood.
  • The Heart Goes Last

    By Utah Cathy
    My husband and I took turns reading the chapters aloud to each other. From the beginning we were hooked. Stan and Charmaine's struggle to survive in an a decaying society, and then struggling again in "utopia", left us unable to put the book down. What a creepy world. We are now looking for other Margaret Atwood books to read.
  • bitterly disappointing

    By Hi I am Bob Didly Bob
    After reading the sample, I was quite intrigued and went ahead and bought the book. Huge mistake!!! The characters just became silly and stupid as did the general plot. Atwood has fallen quite a bit since The Handmaids Tale. This book is so utterly bad in so many ways.
  • The heart goes last

    By BAH66
    Poorly written. If it was a good story I would say it needs editing but I don't think anything could save it
  • Cardiac Failure

    By Seneca's Dad
    I expected much more from Atwood than she delivers in this novel. A potentially interesting concept in the beginning quickly devolves into an opportunity wasted. Characters lack depth or interest, and plot is downright silly. Halfway through, the reader wishes for that injection we're supposed to find so ghastly. The concept, a future America, destroyed by market collapse, in which the ninety-nine percenters live among unspeakable horrors, might have borne better fruit than this. "Possibilibots"? Really? Unless Atwood's opinion of the 99% is that they're no more interesting than Stan and Charmaine. Injections for everyone!
  • Had potential, but didn't live up to it

    By Hkd61
    The beginning of the book had potential. It was based on an intriguing concept, but by the middle it disintegrated into silly. By the end I was only reading in the hopes it might redeem itself, but it only got worse.
  • Dumb

    By Sunshine2759
    I mean the title, "Dumb," literally. I feel like I have been in the mind and company of low I.Q.s. Main characters are ridiculously stupid in thought and action. The story could have been interesting but lacked depth. What a waste of time and money!