Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Heart Goes Last (Positron, #4)” as Want to Read:
The Heart Goes Last (Positron, #4)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Heart Goes Last

(Positron #4)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  1,137 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
The internationally bestselling diva of dystopias is back with a new installment of Positron, her darkly comic Byliner Serial about life in a Big Brother America of the near future.

In the seemingly well-adjusted world of Consilience, it's dawning on the residents that they've thrown away the keys to more than their ragged former lives outside the high walls of their gated
ebook, 56 pages
Published May 2013 by Byliner Serials
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Heart Goes Last, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Heart Goes Last

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Rating serial fiction always feels incomplete somehow. Unlike short stories, they aren't finished works, it's more like rating individual chapters. The previous three outings in this series have also felt incomplete and I rated them accordingly. This though, is the first chapter where it's starting to feel like the plot and the characters are actually building towards something more than just that chapter's events. None of our characters really feel like heroes at this point, but they're what At ...more
Sarah Jane
Nov 17, 2015 rated it did not like it
Very disappointing.
This might just be the most frustrating serial fiction ever. Not because of how it's written, but because of the publication schedule. This is most certainly not the end of the story, but there's no release date on episode 5, and this one came out over a year ago.

The premise behind Positron is a near-future dystopia, where people deep in debt voluntarily go into prison for six nonconsecutive months a year. The other six months, they spend in suburban paradise. Stan and Charmaine are happy with t
Grace Harwood
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is another fantastic and eagerly awaited instalment in the Positron series. My only real criticism is that I'm becoming increasingly impatient for the next chapter to come out - I don't suppose it will be for a long time now and I read this one in a frustratingly short time. I've got to say that everything by Margaret Atwood is a real treat to read and NEVER lasts me as long as I want them to; however, this instalment will see me nicely through to her new novel coming out at the end of Augu ...more
Jana M
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
This slender book is a relatively quick read, but it is refusing to go quietly back on the bookshelf.
The story line starts off deceptively simply and its characters are relatively boring everyday couple
who suddenly find themselves in a desperate situation that could happen to anybody in their
circumstances. they take a solution offered to them ,which sounds too good to be true and ....
Nothing is as it seems.
the simple story line changes into a Rubic cube.
Atwood is a master puppeteer, ruthlessly
May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1-kindle
This series makes me feel all Dickens-era old-fashioned, having to read installment by installment. I liked this section a lot - the prostibots are interesting and it's set up the next section nicely.
May 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I hate that it's a serial...the anticipation of the next chapter is killing me...this is one of the best books I've read in a long time.
Jul 11, 2013 rated it liked it
I hope this series goes on forever.
Apr 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Ok, this is the fourth in the Positron series and I'm hooked. Margaret Atwood has done it again!
Mary Keen
Nov 15, 2017 rated it did not like it
Listened on a trip, so can't remember exact details and dates --just that it started out interestingly, but got so dark and hopeless that no point to keep going. Finished about 3/4ths.

I tho't Handmaidens' Tale was good and made sense, but this title just didn't seem worth reading. I think it's part of a series, so glad I didn't keep going hoping to reach a conclusion.

(SPOILER) --I did wonder why they didn't somehow sacrifice and figure out a way to go west, where economic conditions were said to
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this as a stand alone even though it is #4 in a series. Excellent dystopian novel.
Hiba Ibrahim
Dec 31, 2017 rated it liked it
It was such a wonderfully weird book that I couldn't put down. I enjoyed the characters and Atwood' s style of writing. It wasn't life changing but sometimes a book doesn't need to be.
Sue Roux
Feb 19, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fangs for the Fantasy
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Things have gone absolutely to hell. Banks are collapsing, there's little food security, homes are being foreclosed on and unemployment has skyrocketed. Stan has always been steady, especially in comparison to his career criminal brother Conner. He has a job, a reliable wife and house which repairs and values. It's the typical middle class existence. When Stan is fired and his wife is laid off, Stan quickly discovers that security is only illusion. Stan and Charmaine end up living in their car, ...more
Jul 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-books, 2013
Margaret Atwood excels at dystopia, and her internet serial Positron is a worthy addition to her ouvre. The first four episodes have been published as Kindle and Byliner singles, although it's not clear how many episodes Atwood will ultimately publish. Given that it's a serial, I'll refrain from talking much about the plot.

Positron is set in a dystopian near future and is named after the prison at the centre of a new concept of closed community called Consilience (Cons + Resilience). The residen
Denise Mullins
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The dismal near future dystopia that Stan and Charmaine inhabit becomes the unlikely setting for the many darkly humorous moments in Margaret Atwood's "The Heart Goes Last". While readers naturally assume that the devil's agreement the couple sign to escape their precarious existence of living in their Honda will be fraught with unseen pitfalls, they seem oblivious. Were they really expected to pay close attention to pitchman Ed's introduction and terms to joining Positron? Readers are more like ...more
David Grieve
May 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another dystopian future thriller from Margaret Atwood. Lacks some of the depth of her other stories but is nonetheless an excellent, thought-provoking read.

Set in an era when parts of the US are suffering huge deprivation, with few jobs and lawless gangs a couple forced to live in their car can see no future, beyond her part time bar job. The an opportunity comes to join a closed community where the residents spend one month living in a modern town and working and the next month in prison, swap
Jun 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-fiction
A cuckold and a failure, Stan (now renamed with the doddering "Waldo" nomenclature) works on distributing prostibots, the only "women" over whom he has any control. The manufactured women, these "slut machines" like the "Jasmine" of his mind, are lifeless coquettes, ready for the all-out assaults on their no-no bits. But there's more going on behind the scenes, as the prostibots aren't quite real enough. Hitting the reset button on living women, erasing their minds and resetting them with a fixe ...more
Nov 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm a big fan of Atwood. This one was wonderful too, in its own way. The humor in it was unusual in my experience with this author, but there were laugh out loud moments
thrown into the mix. In this dystopian existence we see sexual obsessions catered to and manipulated in new ways.
I listened to this on a CD read alternately by a man and a woman for Stan and Charmaine - they made these characters come alive. I see now that this is a series, and that wasn't apparent to me from the information on t
Jun 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: dystopian
the latest installment in the Positron serials finds Stan and Charmaine dealing with their new positions in life. Charmaine is expected to mourn for Stan, who she thinks is dead by her own hand, while being hit on by the "big cheese" of Positron. Stan finds himself in on a secret mission to bring down the system and ends the installment packed away in a box of sex bots dressed as Elvis. very bizarre stories about Atwood's idea of a social experiment in which people live half their lives in jail ...more
Dec 19, 2015 added it
I had already read some of this novel. Atwood has done it again! She creates exquisitely provocative dystopias that speak to issues of contemporary life. Here, the catastrophic economic collapse has led to an insider/outsider solution that creates productive and protected lives for the initiates in a prison (figuratively and literally in this story--no missing Atwood's intent) from which there is no escape. The hero and heroine will thrive in the clockwork system only as long as they are working ...more
The latest chapter in Atwood's experiment with serialized fiction. I think the original may still be my favorite, but I am interested in where this is headed. Clearly, the next chapter will take place in Vegas, and I'm intrigued to see what that looks like in this universe. I like that this started out as a short story, then was marketed as a trilogy, and now we're headed for chapter 5 (which may be the long-awaited Moppet Shop).

Of course this is really just like a placeholder for me until I ca
These episodes continue to be far too short. I have an intense love-hate relationship with serialization but oh my god am I waiting for the next one in anticipation. (How did I go so long without realizing this was out already?)

That said! Not one of the best in the series, so far, but it continues to be intriguing and more than worth the time it takes to read them. There were a few things clicking more into place, and we're really getting somewhere after the general slowdown of the third install
Jul 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Another thought provoking instalment in Margaret Atwood's dystopian series set in a not too distant future. We watch Charmaine's growing realisation that Consilience is not all that it seems, and start to get a closer look at the growing resistance to the super-planned community. There is further examination of themes which have developed in the first parts of the series, and for such short episodes, a remarkable amount of character development.
Dec 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
I LOVE Margaret Atwood's work, and I think I've read everything she ever wrote. I read this book, and I love its commentary (quite droll) on what we will look away from, on sex, on feminism, on what it is to live the good life. YET, I really struggled in one big way: I did not find myself relating to a single character in the book. In fact, I pretty much disliked most of the characters. Atwood is one of the few writers who can keep me reading despite that.
Erin (PT)
It's so hard to say anything meaningful about these "episodes", since it's still a story in progress and, as yet, we have more questions than answers.

I still feel like this lacks the lived in feeling and verisimilitude of Atwood's other works, but I am still willing & interested to see where it goes and it does finally feel like things are going somewhere, even if the pawn-like nature of our two POV characters gives us no real indication of where.
Jul 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Man, this series is so gripping I don't know what to do with myself. I hesitate to give it a higher score, simply because I feel no empathy with the characters nor do I identify with their problems and emotions. This is quite common for me when I read distopia novels; I often find myself in a kind of wide-eyed horror, unable to look away.
This installment took me way too short of a time to read! I wish there had been more, and I am looking forward to the sequel!
Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The fourth episode of Atwood's Positron series is perhaps the best so far. Both tense and languid as Charmaine and Stan adjust to the events previously as more and more intrigue is revealed in the depths of Consilence. With a growing sense of paranoia and bewilderment, the separated husband and wife must try and make sense of the seemingly more and more bizarre craziness that has become there lives.
May 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Things are getting REALLY intense now in Positron (or a mystery location). I'm a bit alarmed that Margaret seems to have written the first for novellas quite quickly but hasn't added to it for a while. Hope there's something in the pipeline! Please don't leave us dangling, Ms Atwood! I saw that there is one called The Moppet Shop on Goodreads, but I have not been able to find it... Keen to find out what happens to Stan and Charmaine!
Dec 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Another quick chapter in the ongoing, episodic Positron series. Not a lot happens in this episode; things are kept more or less in stasis, but this lull gives Atwood a chance to further flesh out her world. While the observations are not wholly original (sex robots!), they're still interesting within the context of the story, and this episode does set the stage for what could be a very eventful episode 5 (and beyond). Episode 5 is not out yet, but I look forward to reading it.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Stones
  • The End of the End of Everything
  • BioShock Infinite: Mind in Revolt
  • Don't Eat Cat
  • Bad Seeds: Evil Progeny
  • Spock Reflections
  • The Mammoth Book of Alternate Histories
  • Archangel Protocol (LINK Angel, #1)
  • Dead Island
  • Put What Where? Over 2,000 Years of Bizarre Sex Advice
  • The Judas Rose (Native Tongue #2)
  • Ectopia
  • The Lamp at Noon and Other Stories
  • The Paying Guest
  • Star Trek: Strange New Worlds II
  • Zombie Tales from Dead Worlds
  • Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome (Lock In, #0.5)
  • The Evil Within
Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master's degree from Radcliffe College.

Throughout her writing career, Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and honourary degrees. She is the author of more than thirty-five volumes of poetry, childr

Other books in the series

Positron (5 books)
  • I'm Starved for You (Positron, #1)
  • Choke Collar (Positron, #2)
  • Erase Me (Positron, #3)
  • Moppet Shop (Positron, #5)

Fiction Deals

  • Mercy Among the Children
    $14.99 $1.99
  • American Street
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Stillwater Rising
    $4.49 $1.99
  • Lark Song
    $4.99 $1.99
  • In Twenty Years
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Winter Men
    $3.49 $0.99
  • The Daughters of Palatine Hill
    $4.99 $1.99
  • A House for Happy Mothers
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Love Poems (New Directions Paperbook)
    $11.95 $2.99
  • The Drowning Guard
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Anathema
    $3.49 $0.99
  • Neverhome
    $12.99 $2.99
  • Sinner: A Paradise Novel (The Books of History Chronicles)
    $11.49 $3.99
  • A Promise of Hope (Kauffman Amish Bakery, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • 'Round Midnight: A Novel
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Ulterior Motives (Sun Coast Chronicles, #3)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Prisoner B-3087
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Midwife's Revolt (The Midwife Series, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • A Place of Peace (Kauffman Amish Bakery, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Beekeeper's Promise
    $4.99 $2.49
  • The Two-Family House
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Where Do I Go? (Yada Yada House of Hope, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Bloodletter's Daughter
    $4.99 $1.99
  • A Gift of Grace (Kauffman Amish Bakery, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Luxe (Luxe, #1)
    $3.74 $0.99
  • A Dream of Home (Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Thing About Jellyfish
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Broken Angels
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Lioness of Morocco
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Girl from the Savoy
    $10.74 $1.99
  • The Inexplicable Logic of My Life
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Wish
    $5.67 $2.99
  • Treason: A Novel
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Wednesday Wars
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Red Mountain
    $4.99 $1.49
  • She Who Remembers
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Hearts of Resistance
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Nantucket Nights
    $8.99 $2.99
  • The Midwife of Hope River: A Novel of an American Midwife
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Life and Other Near-Death Experiences
    $4.49 $1.99
  • Where Hope Begins
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Somewhere in France: A Novel of the Great War
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Skin
    $1.99 $0.99
  • Endangered (Ape Quartet, #1)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Inamorata
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Penmarric
    $17.99 $1.99
  • A Life of Joy (Kauffman Amish Bakery, #4)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Poisonwood Bible
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Hippopotamus
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Cometh the Hour (The Clifton Chronicles #6)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Question of Red
    $3.99 $1.99
  • A.D. 30 (A.D., #1)
    $7.99 $3.99
“Powerful but insecure men don’t take well to rejection. Rage could result.” 5 likes
More quotes…