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The Heart Goes Last

This work of speculative fiction by Margaret Atwood was published in 2014.

Margaret Atwood

Several years after the world's brutal economic collapse, Stan and Charmaine, a married couple struggling to stay afloat, hear about the Positron Project in the town of Consilience, an experiment in cooperative living that appears to be the answer to their problems — to living in their car, to the lousy jobs, to the vandalism and the gangs, to their piled-up debt. There's just one drawback: once inside Consilience, you don't get out.

After weighing their limited options, Stan and Charmaine sign up, and soon they find themselves involved in the town's strategy for economic stability: a pervasive prison system, whereby each citizen lives a double life, as a prisoner one month, and a guard or town functionary the next. At first, Stan and Charmaine enjoy their newfound prosperity. But when Charmaine becomes romantically involved with the man who shares her civilian house, her actions set off an unexpected chain of events that leave Stan running for his life. (From McClelland & Stewart)

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From the book

Sleeping in the car is cramped. Being a third-hand Honda, it's no palace to begin with. If it was a van they'd have more room, but fat chance of affording one of those, even back when they thought they had money. Stan says they're lucky to have any kind of a car at all, which is true, but their luckiness doesn't make the car any bigger.


From The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood ©2015. Published by Doubleday.

Author interviews

Margaret Atwood talks to Shelagh about her latest novel, The Heart Goes Last, and about the projects she has on the go, including a novelization of Shakespeare's The Tempest. 10:25