A choice of freedom and free will

The Heart Goes Last
By Margaret Atwood
McClelland & Stewart
Soft cover, 380 pages

What began as a short story for this Canadian iconic writer turned into a few more episodes and then a novel. It’s the story of an urban couple, Stan and Charmaine, during a national economic collapse that has left people living in the streets and struggling to survive. The young couple was living in their old Honda, trying to avoid the rampant street gangs and ferret out enough food, when they heard about the gated community of Consilience.

Hoping this new community would solve their problems, they sign away their rights to ever leave and agree to the conditions that would offer them a house to live in and food to eat. One month of their time would be spent at this home and at a job that was selected for them, while the other half would be spent in a segregated jail called Positron in the community and performing another type of work.

This arrangement works fine for a while until certain events unfold and the couple begins to realize the type of work they are involved in. Eventually, the lack of free will and the constant monitoring take its toll and they are placed in a situation where they must choose between the life at Consilience and freedom.

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