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The Heart Goes Last


3.38  ·  Rating details ·  57,186 ratings  ·  6,579 reviews
Margaret Atwood puts the human heart to the ultimate test in an utterly brilliant new novel that is as visionary as The Handmaid's Tale and as richly imagined as The Blind Assassin.

Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of an economic and social collapse. Job loss has forced them to live in their car, leaving them vulnerable to roving ga
Kindle Edition, 292 pages
Published September 29th 2015 by Anchor (first published September 24th 2015)
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Stefspad I've read a lot of Margaret Atwood, and this one was my least favorite. Please try some of the others suggested... She's worth it.…moreI've read a lot of Margaret Atwood, and this one was my least favorite. Please try some of the others suggested... She's worth it.(less)
Lc Not cheated so much. Writers don't exactly get rich writing. I don't mind buying the whole book as long as it contains more than what I've already rea…moreNot cheated so much. Writers don't exactly get rich writing. I don't mind buying the whole book as long as it contains more than what I've already read in the four part serial. I love and will read any fiction written by Margaret Atwood. (less)

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Average rating 3.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  57,186 ratings  ·  6,579 reviews

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Be careful what you wish for:
“What if we get rejected?”
“What if we get accepted?”
When ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise.

Cecily wished for the latest Atwood. Starting a new Atwood is a treat, especially one hot off the press. She has enjoyed nine* Atwoods over the years, all very different, but all excellent. Cecily’s not initially sure quite what to expect with this one, other than speculative fiction, with a dystopian twist, but she trusts Atwood with this genre.

Then again, there was
Elyse  Walters
I loved the beginning of this story. I was hooked. Stan and Charmaine were living in their car -
married- having lost their jobs.
I was also wondering when the bomb was going to explode, as I read several negative early-reviews, from trusted friends.
NO BOMB FROM ME.... I liked this book! I had fun! Sometimes it took me a couple of times to re-read sentences to attach my own imagination ( and my own understanding), to what was going on in a section of the book - but I caught on.
Honestly, I had l
A new Margaret Atwood!!!!


A new Margaret Atwood!!!!!


A new Margaret Atwood!!!!!


A new Margaret Atwood!!!!


A new Margaret Atwood!!!!!

Amalia Gkavea
‘’Someone’s accepting it, Stan thought. You can bet they are. If there’s money in it.’’

Stan and Charmaine are married, young and hopeful. However, a devastating economic crisis has taken away their jobs and their home. All they have left is an old car that has become their place of residence and is actually the opposite of a shelter. Violence reigns, people sell baby blood for money and the couple has seemingly no escape until Charmaine sees an advert for a new project called Positron. They’re
Glenn Sumi
May 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
Margaret Atwood’s new novel depicts another dystopia, but this one has a lighter tone than The Handmaid’s Tale or the MaddAddam Trilogy.

After all, it features life-size sex dolls and groups of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley impersonators. Plus: it’s partly set in Las Vegas! But there’s definitely a sinister underbelly to this world that, as in the best speculative fiction, says a lot about problems in our current one.

After an economic collapse, 30-something couple Stan and Charmaine are reduce
1.5 stars

There's not much more depressing from a reader's standpoint than watching one of your favorite authors tank spectacularly. I was cautiously optimistic that the uneven, rocky start of Margaret Atwood's The Heart Goes Last was just a momentary hiccup, that she'd figure out what kind of kind of book she was writing (dark, broody dystopia? or comedic farce?) and redeem herself from literary aimlessness.

Alas, twas not to be. What started with a compelling premise and biting social commenta

Hey look! It's Margaret Atwood does the Stepford Wives! Hilarity and perversity ensues! But with an underbelly of nastiness that will make you examine your darkest desires! Your commitment to your significant other(s)! Your notions of free will and (ugh!) what it means to be happy! Happy at last! Smile goddammit!!!

I had a lot of fun reading this one, probably because it's easy to tell while reading it Atwood had a lot of fun writing it. It's the best kind of satire, one that doesn't take itself
This is awkward to admit, but I'm not really sure what to make of this book.

The Heart Goes Last takes place in a near-future dystopia where the economy has collapsed and with it has fallen all societal order. Stan and Charmaine are forced to live out of their car, subsisting off of Charmaine's meagre waitress salary, always moving to fend off thieves and gangsters and rapists that will attack any working vehicle. When Charmaine sees an advertisement for a new life in the symbiotic prison/tow
Dec 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What starts off as inspired dystopic horror, a parable or metaphor for the ages, heartbreakingly bleak, soon after delves into bleh. The title tells all: the taut & pretty perfect prose of Atwood (sorry lame musicians & beadyeyed actors, THIS is Canada's BEST export) has heart until it just doesn't. The beating is thus finished, the rigor mortis sets in within moments....

This--her latest*--may just be my least favorite of hers. (Horrors!)

*not current
Diane S ☔
Not rating this. There is not much more I can take of this. Pages and pages of the sex lives of the four main characters, Enough is enough already. I'm done. Started out promising and than slid down from there. Maybe die hard Atwood fans will think differently.
Jul 09, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
When Gregor Samsa wakes up to find himself transformed into an insect, or when the unnamed narrator of The Committee eats his own arm after a harrowing ordeal with Egyptian bureaucracy, I believe the stories, absolutely. I feel along with the characters - no matter how bizarre the scenarios may be - because they feel human, living in altered worlds that nevertheless hold up a mirror to this one.

The bizarre premise and the weird scenarios in The Heart Goes Last are, as another reviewer calls them
Emily B
This wasn't a bad idea for a novel, however it didn't reach it's full potential. It just did not compare to some of Atwood’s other novels in terms of plot and depth. ...more
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘The Heart Goes Last’ is Margaret Atwood’s darkly comic dystopian satire. It’s a story of extreme social engineering which feels at first very light, somewhat populist in nature – the narrative initially feels almost predictable, however…

Margaret Atwood is not an author who disappoints, neither is she one who writes safe and predictable novels. Although the setting and initial premise here does initially feel as though we know where she is taking us, this is certainly not the case. Neither is At
Nov 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow - this book was weird! But, very interesting an unique. Throughout the whole thing it kept changing directions so I never knew what was coming. But, it was not in a big plot twist sort of way, it was in a "how is that monkey going to get to New York? Oh, he is going to ride a turkey that is a disabled war veteran" sort of way. (if what I just wrote makes sense to you, then I am not explaining it very well)

If you like weird tales with a few laughs and a lot of head scratching, this is the boo
Althea Ann
Jun 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'The Heart Goes Last' balances on a tightrope between humor and horror - and manages to ride its unicycle all the way across.

The sharp social satire begins with Charmaine and Stan, a married couple, victims of the recession, who have been reduced to living out of their car. They haven't quite hit bottom: Stan hasn't agreed to go work for his criminal brother, and Charmaine isn't yet turning tricks at the seedy bar where she has a couple of afternoon shifts. But they're close.

Then, they see an o
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
What did I just read? Dystopian/black comedy? I know this book has gotten mixed Goodreads reviews. But I just kind of loved this.
Ron Charles
Margaret Atwood has long been a wry, incisive prophet. From “The Handmaid’s Tale” to her “Oryx and Crake” trilogy, she’s exposed our current ills by peering down the path and discerning perils fast approaching.

In that time-traveling mode, I’ve just returned from next Tuesday and can report that her upcoming novel is a silly mess.

Several chapters of “The Heart Goes Last” appeared a few years ago in serial form on Byliner under the title “Positron.” At the time, Atwood told NPR that she was inspir
Atwood’s previous project was the Maddaddam trilogy; while there are still dystopian elements here, she is blending speculative elements with realist social commentary in a way that makes me hope she is leaving the overt absurdity of her sci-fi scenarios behind. I didn’t dislike the Maddaddam books per se, but nor did I feel that it was necessary to turn Oryx and Crake into a trilogy, especially when the two following novels only re-examined events from different perspectives, filling in backsto ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is going to be a difficult review for me to write. First of all, you should know that I love Margaret Atwood, from her poetry to her literary novels to her dystopian novels. I consider Oryx and Crake as one of my favorite reads and one of the novels I recommend most to people who either read science fiction and need a bridge to "regular" literature and vice versa. I quit a book club over that book, Margaret!

I was excited about Positron when Margaret Atwood was first publishing it in serial
Will Ansbacher
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, oh-god, sf
Oh, man; this has to be one of Atwood’s weakest novels, and one that doesn’t really deserve a (view spoiler)
It starts out promisingly, in a dystopian near-future, the kind the Atwood does so well: Stan and Charmaine are a down-and-out couple who’ve lost their jobs and home and are living in their car. It’s a mean world where banks and industry
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddy-read, read-2019
WTF this was so fucked up but really not in a good way???
Me reading this book:

Maybe I'm just too dumb to get the deeper meaning behind this but I found it really disturbing and strange! All the sexism was just so bad and while I think I know what Atwood wants to say, I think she just couldn't communicate it as good as in the Handmaids Tale.


Buddy read with the best buddy read partner hehe 😌
Mar 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious Post Apocalyptic Parody of Consumerism

The Old Girl's Better than Ever

Some writers fade as they age.

Not Margaret Atwood.  If anything, she gets sharper as she gets older.  

Her outrageous creativity and wicked sense of humor are front and center  in her latest novel, a romp through post-Armageddon North America.

Plot Summary

Charmaine and Stan are barely surviving in the post apocalypse Northeast.  (I think the collapse is ecological and economic rather than military, but it doesn't matte

This title features on my Worst of 2015 list!

Actual Rating 1.5

The Heart Goes Last had some really interesting story elements and plot points going for it.

The main characters, Stan and Charmaine, are living in their car after economic collapse, with the money from Charmaine’s bar job their only form of income. They both used to have steady jobs, a nice home, and a bright future. They wanted to have children some day.

But now they have to pull strings in order to shower, an
Sep 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
new Atwood = joy so huge I am terrifyingly contagious w/ it

I mean yes of course I loved this because I love Margaret Atwood more than anything anything anything (except for one or two things). But I don't think it's one of her best. It feels very rushed, very surface — like a preliminary sketch that hasn't been fully filled in, especially at the beginning. I'd have liked more buildup, more poorness and sickness desperation, so that we are more convinced when our heroes (?) make the decision to [
Mar 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Then he’s unconscious. Then he stops breathing. The heart goes last.”

A wacked, absurd novel that becomes obvious satire as the novel continues. As I read this book, I initially took it very seriously, trying to connect with the characters, understand motives, etc. However, by the end with the organ harvesting, blue bears knitting by inmates for the pedophiles, sexbots, green man group, Elvises and Marilyns it became obvious that the book is entirely satirical and meant to be comical. It also se
Atwood writes very believable dystopian worlds—this one is set after a global economic meltdown where things are getting pretty desperate for regular people, those who are currently being politically courted & labelled as “middle class.” Stan & Charmaine are living in their car, struggling to survive. Stan hasn’t yet knuckled under & joined his criminal brother’s enterprise and Charmaine is still waitressing and resisting the idea of turning tricks on the side for extra income. As a last resort, ...more
I am so uncomfortable with the idea of rating an Atwood book 2 stars but I feel like I have to given my experience with this novel. I typically love Atwood's novels - but this just didn't live up to my expectations. The premise is good - I love how Atwood views dystopian situations and I think this particular premise had a great deal of promise. And the book began quite well - I was engaged, interested and it was very readable. But, at a certain point, the novel went off the rails and just never ...more
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
In the near-distant future, Stan and Charmaine are living in a world where the economy has crashed, violence and crime are at an all-time high, and there doesn't seem to be a way out. Once upon a time, Stan and Charmaine had decent jobs, a house they could barely afford, and a seemingly happy marriage. When the economy crashed, they lost everything and now live out of their car. One night, while working at a bar, Charmaine sees an advertisement for a life changing opportunity--move to the town o ...more
Leah Craig
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joanne Harris
Another marvellous Atwood novel, accessible on so many levels. The (unsettlingly prescient) futuristic plot is filled with asides to folk-tales - Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast - with a running CLOCKWORK ORANGE motif. Marvellous; grim; funny; dark. And sadly, all too plausible...
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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)
  • The Heart Goes Last (Positron, #4)
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