This September, Margaret Atwood will publish a new novel called The Heart Goes Last. The book marks the celebrated Canadian author’s first stand-alone novel in 15 years. Bloomsbury will release Heart on September 24 in the U.K., while Penguin Random House will release the title in the U.S. (under the Nan A. Talese/Doubleday imprint) and Canada (under the McClelland & Stewart imprint) on September 29.
The novel is set in the same near-future universe as Atwood’s Positron series of four short stories, released exclusively as e-books. The most recent Positron installment, which was published under the same name as the upcoming novel, came out in 2013.
The Heart Goes Last tells the story of Charmaine and Stan, a couple living in their car and surviving almost entirely on tips. Their lives take a drastic turn, however, when they sign up for a “social experiment” that provides them with jobs and a home. The caveat, though, is that the couple must do a stint in a prison cell every second month, while an "alternate" pair occupies their house. According to the publisher, Charmaine and Stan become obsessed with their alternates, and "the pressures of conformity, mistrust, guilt and sexual desire begin to take over.”
Atwood’s most recent book was Stone Mattress, a short fiction collection released in 2014. Her last stand-alone novel was The Blind Assassin, which won the Man Booker Prize in 2000.