Should call this life before Maddaddam which is the name of her latest novel and one I am dying to read. Life Before Man is one of her early novels. It is a narrative tale – not much plot. The novel relates the thoughts and actions of three characters over about 2 years. There is Elizabeth – who has been damaged in her childhood and whose lover has just killed himself, Nate – her estranged husband and Lesje his soon to be lover. There are no laughs to be found in this book – it is all a bit dreary. The Elizabeth character is particularly hard to like. Should we make concessions because of her childhood? Not me, I just don’t like her.
So why would you read it? Margaret Attwood is a great writer. Her prose is wonderful and her characters are very real. You can be a voyeur here and look into the lives of these three people – kind of see what makes them tick. I say kind of because I’m not sure they know themselves. Pretty much like all of us.
If you are looking for plot driven novels this may not be for you but as a narrative driven novel this is pretty outstanding.
Here’s a quote:
“They meet in church basements and offer bandages to those wounded by the shrapnel of exploding families.”