Pilar (also known as Eve Six or "The Fungus") is a character in Margaret Atwood's "The Year of the Flood."
Pilar is described as having an "old walnut" face and being brown-skinned by Toby. She specialized in the tending of bees and mushrooms. Pilar was full of bee lore and talked to the bees, believing that they knew they were loved by her and that the bees were messengers to the dead.
In terms of mushrooms, she described three types: Never Poisonous, Employ with Caution and Advice, and Beware. Pilar is associated with the celebration of Saint Euell (in Year Twelve) as Saint Euell also valued mushrooms and other types of fungus; Pilar led the Gardeners in a search for fungi in Heritage Park that year. Normally, Pilar was in charge of the mushroom booth at the Tree of Life; when she starts falling ill, Toby took care of her duties. In Year Twelve, after the mushroom beds in the Buenavista Condos are lost due to Burt's arrest, Pilar saved some fungi specimen and sets them up in the cellar of the Wellness Clnic.
Pilar was said to be suffering from a stomach virus; in actuality it's advanced and an incurable cancer. Crake as Glenn, smuggles in Pilar's biopsy samples to be examined in HelthWyzer West and delivers the results back in a pot of honey. She gives Toby her materials and a list to carry on her knowledge after she passes after which, Toby must destroy to keep secret. She had the amanita phalloides, or The Death Angel, to die and a poppy formula to lessen the pain. She passes off the title of Eve Six to Toby on her deathbed.
Pilar is composted in Heritage Park with an Elderberry bush planted on top of her.
- "Honey doesn't decay, as long as you keep water out of it: that's why the ancients called it the food of immortality." (96)
- "You can always tell the bees your troubles." (99)
- (to Toby): "They need to know you're a friend. They can smell you. Just move slowly. They'll know you next time. Oh - if they do sting, don't slap them. Just brush the sting off. But they won't sting unless they're frightened because stinging kills them." (99)
- (about Fallow state): "It's like going down the stairs and never coming back up. But the mushrooms can help with that." (100)
- "God wouldn't have made poisonous mushrooms unless He intended for us to use them sometimes." (101)
- "Everything's good. In the big picture." (146)
- "Nature never does betray us." (170)
- "This is my will. As we say, shrouds have no pockets - all earthly things must be passed from the dying to the living, and that includes our knowledge." (179)
- "Deathbed promises are sacred among us." (179)
- (Toby to the bees): "Pilar is dead. She sends you her greetings, and her thanks for your friendship over many years. When the time comes for you to follow her to where she has gone, she will meet you there." (181)
- ↑ Atwood, Maragret. "Year of the Flood." Anchor Books: New York.