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Oryx and Crake Paperback – March 30, 2004
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While the story begins with a rather ponderous set-up of what has become a clichéd landscape of the human endgame, littered with smashed computers and abandoned buildings, it takes on life when Snowman recalls his boyhood meeting with his best friend Crake: "Crake had a thing about him even then.... He generated awe ... in his dark laconic clothing." A dangerous genius, Crake is the book's most intriguing character. Crake and Jimmy live with all the other smart, rich people in the Compounds--gated company towns owned by biotech corporations. (Ordinary folks are kept outside the gates in the chaotic "pleeblands.") Meanwhile, beautiful Oryx, raised as a child prostitute in Southeast Asia, finds her way to the West and meets Crake and Jimmy, setting up an inevitable love triangle. Eventually Crake's experiments in bioengineering cause humanity's shockingly quick demise (with uncanny echoes of SARS, ebola, and mad cow disease), leaving Snowman to try to pick up the pieces. There are a few speed bumps along the way, including some clunky dialogue and heavy-handed symbols such as Snowman's broken watch, but once the bleak narrative gets moving, as Snowman sets out in search of the laboratory that seeded the world's destruction, it clips along at a good pace, with a healthy dose of wry humor. --Mark Frutkin, Amazon.ca --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2003, ORYX AND CRAKE is Margaret Atwood's most apocalyptic story to date. For those of you who have read THE HANDMAID'S TALE, ORYX AND CRAKE is a lot more grim and depressing, in terms of the plight of the human race. It may be a challenge for some to get through this book. Those who are fans of Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction, however, may embrace this novel as I did. It is probably one of the best novels written by Margaret Atwood.
There are two main themes in ORYX AND CRAKE. First, the novel takes place in the distant future, where global warming has changed the earth so much that the coastal cities no longer exist, and New York is now New New York. Going outside in the sun is a death sentence, so the wealthier areas of the world are protected under places known as compounds, although areas known as The Pleebands still exist, where people live and are still exposed to nature in all its glory.
The second major plot line has to do with three central characters. Snowman is the narrator, also known as Jimmy, who at the start of the book is the only known surviving human being on the face of the planet. The book starts off with Snowman sleeping in a tree, barely alive, knowing that he does not have too much longer to live. Food is scarce, the sun is so hot he has blisters all over his body, and the genetically engineered creatures the wolvogs and the pigoons that have escaped are now roaming the grounds.
While he tries to keep alive, Snowman also keeps watch over a group of humanoid creatures called the Crakers, named after his "best" friend Crake, who was somehow responsible over the creation of these people. These Crakers are supposedly the ideal humans.Read more ›
"Oryx and Crake" is technically a single-character novel; "Snowman" (or Jimmy) is the surviving human after a cataclysmic global disaster. He serves as a mentor of sorts to the strange yet harmless "Crakers," who have been so genetically altered that they resemble humans only in their basic appearance. Their blandness is so thorough that neither Snowman nor the reader can tell them apart. Through a series of flashbacks, Snowman describes his closest friends Crake and Oryx and their role in bringing the world to its present state; and he mockingly details his attempts at elevating them to the status of gods for the new species. Atwood doesn't really develop these two characters; instead she (through Snowman's eyes) presents only the basic, painful "truth" behind a new Genesis mythology.
The novel, one could argue, depicts a second character: the scientific community.Read more ›
Atwood definitely succeeds at creating a sense of place - a terrifying, overgrown world of characters split between the elite research facilities of Snowman's childhood and the dangerous "pleeblands" where average people live. I couldn't put the book down because I wanted to find how Snowman got to the place he was.
But the characters in this novel aren't fleshed out. At the end we are still left wondering about the motivations of Oryx and Crake and Snowman himself.
There is also a child pornography sub-plot that was kind of pointless. We are expecting a great denouement but get none. I was left wondering "so what?" Why was this tawdry industry explored if not to offer us some sort of meaningful criticism of it?
To a lesser degree, the same is true of the genetic modification theme. Atwood is clearly horrified by the dangers but also seems fascinated by the possibilities, and in the end the question is not entirely resolved.
While I enjoyed this book, it felt more like a tawdry paperback than a novel by one of Canada's foremost authors. I am shocked that of all of her novels, this one won the Booker Prize. If you want Atwood sci-fi read The Handmaid's Tale. And if you want a compelling, mysterious read try Alias Grace.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A fascinating and odd story with two great main characters. The post-apocalyptic world was well thought-out, and the story moved well except for two sections. Read morePublished 2 hours ago by Gina
Really well written. The difference between dystopian young adult fiction and grown up dystopian fiction tends to be that what's happening is much more plausible and also much less... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
What a tremendous story! A world so alien and yet so very easy to picture with characters who could be someone I knew! Always a pleasure to read anything my Margaret Atwood.Published 7 days ago by Kawshiki Nasser
One of the best books I have ever read. I heard a few of my friends didn't continue on in the series- but I highly recommend the set.Published 11 days ago by Loobytap
Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam #1)
by Margaret Atwood
One of my book clubs picked Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood for our April read, so I managed to... Read more
Atwood does dystopia like no one else can ... bleak, unromantic, without hope for the future. There's a lot going on in this book. Definite must-read.Published 15 days ago by James L. Webster
Excellent science fiction. So relevant to the revolution in genetic science going on today. Both the 'present' and the 'past' alternate in different chapters and keeps one guessing... Read morePublished 19 days ago by A. Hahmann
Surprisingly good condition and gret book! Happy that it is part of a trilogy.Published 21 days ago by Amazon Customer