Twenty years ago, I considered Margaret Atwood to be a demigod; I reverentially devoured all her books. If there had been an Atwood holy site, I’d have made the pilgrimage (as I’ve done with Prince Edward Island and Haworth). Alias Grace, Blind Assassin, The Robber Bride, The Handmaid’s Tale are still up there as some of my all time favourite books. Then came Oryx and Crake, which Atwood assured us was not science fiction, but rather ‘speculative fiction’. All the same, I was left unmoved by it. In fact, I felt decidedly let down by it. So I consciously (and somewhat painfully) turned away from any Atwood books that followed.
For me, Hag-Seed was like coming home. From the opening paragraph I knew I was back in the literary arms of the Atwood I had once known and loved: ‘Felix brushes his teeth. Then he brushes his other teeth, the false ones, and slides them into his mouth. Despite the layer of pink adhesive he’s applied they don’t fit very well’. I loved this book because of the wonderful writing and clever storytelling, but also because it showed me that Atwood and I do have a future together after all.