The Heart Goes Last tells the story of a very possible, not-too-distant future and a married couple struggling to survive in a hostile world. In a world where they seem only to have each other and nothing else, secrets, betrayal and distrust bubble under the surface of a marriage in turmoil. A heart-wrenching story, the characters are relatable and flawed in their own ways, developing right before the readers eyes as they become more and more entangled in the world they find themselves in.

The book opens with a married couple, Stan and Charmaine, living out of their car. Their situation, however, is not an uncommon one, as it is revealed that the economy has all but crashed. Leaving the rich very rich and the middle class nonexistent, Stan and Charmaine struggle to find work, afford food and keep their marriage intact. Their dark days, however, are given a ray of light when Charmaine hears about a saving grace – The Positron Program. The Program guarantees a home, a job, food and security, but at a cost: Six months out of the year, the people of the town must spend their time in the prison located nearby.

The near-perfect life of the town of Consilience and the Positron Program hide more secrets though. And slowly but surely, Stan and Charmaine are each in turn pulled into a tangled web of lies and deceit – both about their town and about each other.

Margaret Atwood hits it out of the park with this novel. Not only does it raise questions about our society’s morality, but it feels personal. Charmaine and Stan’s troubles feel like they could be anyone’s – our neighbors’, our friends’, our own. By having the book narrated alternately by Stan and Charmaine, the reader sees their thoughts of each other and the secrets they keep. Full of plot twists and deception, this book keeps you on your toes and keeps you wanting more, all the way until the end.

MargaretAtwoodTheHeartGoesLast (1)


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