Nominated by:

Linc Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

Bibliotheek Gent, Belgium

Redbridge Libraries, London, UK

Limerick City & County Libraries, Ireland

Publisher of nominated edition:

Bloomsbury, UK

Little, Brown Book Group, UK

The Heart Goes Last

Margaret Atwood      

 2017 Longlist

A sinister, wickedly funny novel about a near-future in which the lawful are locked up and the lawless roam free.

Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of economic and social collapse. Living in their car, surviving on tips from Charmaine’s job at a dive bar, they’re increasingly vulnerable to roving gangs and in a rather desperate state. So when they see an advertisement for the Positron Project in the town of Consilience – a ‘social experiment’ offering stable jobs and a home of their own – they sign up immediately. All they have to do in return for this suburban paradise is give up their freedom every second month, swapping their home for a prison cell.

At first, all is well. But slowly, unknown to the other, Stan and Charmaine develop a passionate obsession with their counterparts, the couple that occupy their home when they are in prison. Soon the pressures of conformity, mistrust, guilt and sexual desire take over, and Positron looks less like a prayer answered and more like a chilling prophecy fulfilled.

About the Author

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than forty works, including fiction, poetry and critical essays, and her books have been published in over thirty-five countries. She has won many literary awards and prizes.

Librarians’ Comments

A scary story about a young couple who join a socio-economic experiment. They get a nice job and a beautiful house if every other month they voluntarily go to prison. They become obsessed with their alternate and get into a spiral of infidelity and blackmail.

Margaret Atwood’s book is a compelling story that manages to be both thought-provoking and enjoyable. It is laced with sardonic wit and shows a writer with flair for creating a narrative that engages and delights the reader.

Atwood springs a surprise with her serio-comic dystopia set in the near future. The Heart Goes Last fuses genres gleefully and is strong on ironic parody and social satire.

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