Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Heart Goes Last’ is in true Atwood style a chilling dystopic novel charged with super creepy and yet imaginable situations. If like us you devoured the first season of The Handmaid’s Tale (based on Atwood’s novel of the same name) and were left wanting more then this is a great read to fill the gap as we wait patiently for series 2.

I stumbled across this one somewhat randomly at the library which we’ve recently rediscovered so I just want to take a moment and reflect on how awesome libraries actually are. After years overseas being very dependent on old mate Kindle, it was refreshing to walk in and peruse all the nice lovely books sitting there waiting to be read… for FREE! Our local also comes with killer views over Auckland and I can see myself praying that baby stays quiet while we soak up the vista from the kiddies section on the top floor.

Anyway enough day dreaming about what maternity leave will probably not be like and back to the book! The world that Atwood depicts in The Heart Goes Last is grim (no surprises there). People are living in cars (sound eerily familiar?) and sleeping with one eye open so they don’t get robbed in the night by wandering looters. Homes have been abandoned, jobs are scarce and hope is lost as the world suffers – enter The Positron Project.

Season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale is rumoured to be released in April 2018. Blessed day.

The Heart Goes Last focuses on one couple – Stan and Charmaine – who enter the project with optimistic hopes and a fair amount of emotional baggage in tow. They seem like an ordinary couple with the usual petty gripes and all their dirty laundry really comes out in the wash as we get to know them more. I don’t want to spoil the story so won’t say too much but their relationship is certainly tested during their time in the project.

The project offers couples the chance to live in a house again with full time employment and protection from the horrors of the outside world. The only catch is you have to spend half of the year in prison… yeah it’s quite a big catch. This allows the project to be profitable with prisoners creating goods from the inside. To keep costs down further, while one couple is doing time another couple comes to inhabit their house and the pairs swap after their time in prison is done. This causes some real dramas for Stan and Charmaine but I’ll shut up now before I ruin the story. On the surface prison life doesn’t seem as bad as facing the reality outside the project but as the story progresses we find that not all positron jobs are created equal… Charmaine’s in particular.

Unlike The Handmaid’s Tale, there is a lot more light relief and humour throughout The Heart Goes Last but as with all Atwood novels there’s still that eerie element of ‘something like this could happen if we keep going the way we’re going’ message.  I loved it and if you’re a bit of a dystopia fan then you can’t really go wrong with this book. Here’s hoping that some telly producer reads it soon as this would be just as good as The Handmaid’s Tale if it were made into a mini series.