From The Telegraph:
Margaret Atwood’s smiling face is extraordinarily close to mine. A fraction of a second later and it is further away, held at a different angle. I did not see it move. “I am talking to you remotely because we are social beings and we like to interact,’’ she says. “We like to look at other human beings a lot. Magazines, newspapers, video conferencing, television… spying.’’ We are conversing via a large screen, while an ocean apart; she is in Toronto where it is 6am. The image on my screen is not continuous; rather, it is like a fast sequence of still photographs. Atwood, her eyes bright and humorous, appears very much at ease with the whizz-bang technology.
The uses of technology figure large in her new novel, The Year of the Flood; it is a richly imagined vision of the near-future and is a sister volume to an earlier Booker-shortlisted work, Oryx and Crake. Indeed, some of the characters overlap. Here, through the eyes of two female characters, Toby and Ren, we learn of the days that lead up to a horrible pandemic that ravages humanity – forget coughs and sneezes, here people melt. There is enviro-religion, overweening science, hideous sex clubs, nightmare food, grotesque cosmetic surgery. And there are also bees.