Sunday, April 20, 2008

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Rating: 9/10

Published: 2003
Number of pages: 436

Started: 6 April 2008
Finished: 12 April 2008

Summary (taken from blurb):

Pigs might not fly but they are strangely altered. So, for that matter, are wolves and racoons. A man, once called Jimmy, now calls himself Snowman and lives in a tree, wrapped in old bed sheets. The voice of Oryx, the woman he loved, teasingly haunts him. And the green-eyed Children of Crake are, for some reason, his responsibility.

A very enjoyable, yet disturbing, read that contains all the elements that earmark a terrific piece of dystopian literature. It brings to mind some of the greats (Huxley, Orwell) and is a credible take on a world in the near future in which science has gone too far. Any novel that makes you despair for the future of mankind has done a pretty good job, in my opinion.

The story begins with Snowman (aka Jimmy) who may be the last living person on earth (apart from the Crakers). The story jumps between past and present as Atwood slowly unveils the circumstances and events leading up to Jimmy's current situation. Oryx and Crake are mythologised by the Crakers and revered as gods, but the reader is privy to their all-to-human faults.

Margaret Atwood has clearly done a lot of research for this novel, and it shows. Along with the knowledge of genetic engineering, she has done a terrific job of bringing her characters to life. The more I think about this book, the more I realise what an incredible job Atwood did with it. Highly recommended.


downtown guy said...

That was one of my favorite dystopias that I've read this year. I really appreciated that she didn't sacrifice the science for the story, and she didn't sacrifice the story for the science.

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