Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Atwood Pulls All Stops for The Year of the Flood

According to the Toronto-based design company she worked with, Margaret Atwood wanted an extraordinary Web site to help promote The Year of the Flood, out this September from various publishers around the world.

“She has created a heightened sensibility in the book of everything in the natural world,” Scott Thornley of Scott Thornley + Company told Design Edge Canada. “She wanted a site that would represent that but she also wanted to move it beyond being just about the book.”

In The Year of the Flood we’re back in a dystopic world similar to the one Atwood created for 2003’s wonderful Oryx & Crake. But, by all accounts, the view this time is a more gentle one. From the Web site:
Adam One, the kindly leader of the God’s Gardeners -- a religion devoted to the melding of science, religion, and nature -- has long predicted a disaster. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women remain: Ren, a young dancer locked away in a high-end sex club, and Toby, a former God’s Gardener, who barricades herself inside a luxurious spa. Have others survived? Ren’s bio-artist friend Amanda? Zeb, her eco-fighter stepfather? Her onetime lover, Jimmy? Or the murderous Painballers? Not to mention the CorpSeCorps, the shadowy policing force of the ruling powers... As Adam One and his beleaguered followers regroup, Ren and Toby emerge into an altered world, where nothing -- including the animal life -- is predictable.
The site Thornley and company created for Atwood includes several interactive elements and represents the publication of the book in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. More countries will be added as time goes on.

But though the Web site is thorough and impressive, it’s just the tip of the promotional iceberg for The Year of the Flood. Atwood herself is tweeting, blogging (“Favourite question afterwards: ‘Is there a plot?’ Ah yes. There is always a plot.”) and has even written an hour-long theatrical performance complete with original score.
The Year of the Flood Web site is here. The Design Edge Canada piece is here. January Magazine’s review of Oryx & Crake is here. Our 2000 interview with Atwood is here.



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