Sunday, November 08, 2009

Margaret Atwood

This weekend we saw Margaret Atwood read from her new novel, The Year of the Flood at DePaul’s Merle Reskin Theatre. It was so exciting to see her - she's one of my favorite authors and I think she's an absolute genius. The reading was very unusual - there was a choir and a small band and a group of three actors. Atwood and the three actors took turns reading from the text and the choir sang the songs that are part of the book.

The songs were of that rather horrible Sunday-morning-on-tv evangelical crap that's really cheesy and not what I'd call "good". I'm quite sure that the music was meant to be ironic because a certain faction of the characters are called God's Gardeners and I believe they're meant to have a sort-of extremist attitude which I'm sure Atwood doesn't let off the hook easily. She looked like an indulgent granny watching this rather rag-tag group of (I believe) DePaul students singing along to her verses. I really appreciated hearing the songs, even though I didn't enjoy the music, because it will be nice, when I read the book, to know what kind of sound they were meant to have.

I think it was a very clever idea to share the reading with the actors, giving the almost 70-year-old Atwood's voice a break. And, let's face it, not all great writers are great readers (although Atwood was very good - very funny, very dry, just like you'd expect.) The tour is going around the world, and actors and singers are found in each host city, making each performance unique. According to my playbill, all proceeds were donated to environmental groups.

Afterward she signed books - I'd taken my old Handmaid's Tale - my favorite book of all-time! and she signed it for me while I swooned.

I can't wait to get my copy through inter-library loan (I'm more and more opposed to buying books in hardback.) The idea of a waterless flood has been intriguing me.

1 comment:

Becky K said...

Have you read Oryx and Crake? I liked Oryx and Crake, but loved Year of the Flood. How cool you got to go and see her. I think it would be funny to hear what the songs sounded like; they were hilarious to read.

I wrote a review for Year of the Flood last week. Let me know what you think of the book once you've finished it.