Atwood has a lot of live up to with Oryx and Crake, considering the striking originality (and raging success) of her previous novel of the future, The Handmaid's Tale. (One of my favorite books).
Oryx & Crake sets the stage by showing a scene of a future castaway, near-destroyed by the elements, in a state of filth and decay, living on the outskirts of an innocent tribe of beautiful, simple uncorrupted people.
A familiar scene, but here our narrator may be the last 'true' man on earth, and the innocent tribe a product of genetic experimentation.
The story is told in flashback, as the narrator's memories of growing up in the gated communties of wealthy but restrictive companies dealing with genetics research, selling false hope to the residents of the ever-more-dangerous 'pleeblands' outside, dealing with ever-more-common incidents of bioterrorism.
I'm personally not a huge fan of the kind of complex narrative structure that Atwood utilizes here, jumping from time to time, carefully revealing elements at critical junctures - but I can appreciate that in this work, it is very well-crafted and expertly done.
This scenario of the future's wealthy living in environmentally regulated compounds while the masses take their chances outside is really a standard by now... While I love this kind of post-apocalyptic stuff, I kept getting a sense of deja-vu at many of the scenes...
The main fear that Atwood plays on here is that of scientific research fueled only by the bottom line, selling unsafe and unneccessary products to people without any sense of ethics. (The frightening bleakness of this vision is only enhanced by the amusing and pun-like names of the corporations and products). It is also about the potential for destruction enabled by brilliant minds who are all too subject to human frailty, whether that be fueled by interpersonal relationships or twisted ideals.
A feature of the book is that the narrator, like most individuals in reality, doesn't know everything. To the end, some things elude him. He doesn't understand everything. (Which by extension, means that the reader won't understand everything - much like in reality, where sometimes you can only guess at a person's motivations for what they do.) And it also features one of those (to me, intensely annoying) 'thought-provoking' endings where you don't know what's going to happen, so you have to consider the implications of all the possibilities. (But I just go - "argh! SO what happened!?")
Still, this is a well-done, thoughtful work, which I would highly recommend.
LOVED this book. LOVED IT! This has become one of my favorite books of all time. The story is fantastic, and I could not put it down. At least 3 of my friends have also read it and give it 5 of 5 stars. Keep an open mind and just be entertained by the storyline and the characters. I will not tell you more, you just need to read it.
Up-front confession: I am a total Atwood fan. I love dystopian literature, and her female characters are so eloquently drawn. I was therefore confused and appalled to discover that I just didn't like Oryx and Crake. I didn't hate it, but I didn't like it either. First, it largely revolves around Jimmy (Snowman) and Crake, both of whom are men. Part of the reason I read Atwood is that I trust her to write engaging female characters in stories other than chicklit. Oryx and Crake entirely fails to deliver on that. Additionally, the emotions behind the events are badly drawn or are unrealistic. Some people enjoy a dry "then these events happened" read, but I'm not one of them. Thankfully, I read Year of the Flood first, so I know that Atwood switched back to her usual style.
I really liked this book, but it was a little different than other books I read. It's set in the future and is told in flashbacks but the beginning is a little confusing as to what is going on. The end brings everything together and that is why I gave it 5 stars. The world they live in is terrible and depressing, but so interesting. Atwood creates a wonderfully creative world and inventions of different animals, ideas, and people. The story hits some nasty subjects, like child prostitution and Atwood doesn't shy away from giving details. Despite that I still liked the book and look forward to reading her other books.
In this dystopian science fiction novel, the end of the world comes through biotech. I've read all of Margaret Atwood's early novels and short stories. The funny thing is how much continuity there is between Life Before Man and Oryx and Crake. The same sense of the grieving fugue state of the protagonist, the crumbling of the boundaries of the civilized world and the desire and fear of reversion to a state of nature, but this time with scary bio-engineered animals and people!
This is one of my favorite books. If you liked The Handmaid's Tale, then pick this one up as well. It has the same flavor and feel as Ms Atwood takes us through what happened to the world and why angry, frustrated Snowman is the only real human left on it. I've read this book several times, before I passed it on to a friend, as this is a story meant to be shared. Thoroughly impressed, I'll be buying another copy because this story is one I keep coming back to.
I am a HUGE Margaret Atwood fan, but this book was disappointing. Very bleak outlook on the future of the human race and the human psyche, set in the aftermath of the virtual extinction of the species. The protagonist is the friend of a mad scientist who created the perfect race, then died to a plague. He serves as the teacher and guide of this new race in this post-apocolyptic world.
The author spins a depressing view of a world not too unlike the one in which we live. Snowman, formerly known as Jimmy, has lost his best friend, Crake, and the woman they both loved, Oryx. This post-apocalyptic vision recalls to us the visions of other authors - Aldous Huxley and George Orwell among them. Will our world spin out of control due to technological development that creates new life forms? Snowman believes that he is alone with a group of physically enhanced people who know no rules, no terror, no religion, no life at all like his own. His job is to survive and teach these people how to live in a radically altered environment. Will he succeed? Is he truly the only survivor of an unchanged human? Most intriguing tale! Read it and discover story for yourself.
This is an excellent but disturbing novel about the fall of mankind as a result of our own stupidities. It's bioengineering that does us in, but there's also mention of ecological change and cultural degradation. Atwood's vision of the future is very, very dark.
Also note that this cannot be called an easy read. Just about every degrading human behavior is discussed and put on view. In her world, it's all used for entertainment, even of the young, so be prepared for some disturbing ideas.
It's a well written, thought provoking work, and definitely worth the time. Recommended!
This could be tomorrow's history written today. It is a well-known, if often ignored, fact that what we do today impacts the future. Growing up Jimmy was under-appreciated. He received little encouragement and little was expected of him. So how did he become Snowman, an ordinary human of whom great things came to be expected, specificately by his best friend, Crake, and illusive love, Oryx.
What becomes of Jimmy/Snowman and the turn of events that bring him to that place is what Margaret Atwood writes about so well. There are really only three words I can say, READ THIS BOOK!
Margaret Atwood continues her excellence at weaving a believable story from unbelievable events. Having read "The Year of the Flood" before this book, I was interested to learn more about Oryx and Crake (the characters). I was not disappointed, and many events in this book helped me to understand the former book (which follows this one). Imagination and likable characters add to Atwood's ability to move a story foward quickly, while the events themselves are moving slowly. Amazing story line. Future events not so far from how our actual world is evolving draw you in, and the lone character in this novel keeps you interested with his past thoughts and memories.
Jama H. reviewed Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 1
While I really ejoyed Atwood's Handmaid's Tale, this post-apocolyptic tale was less appealing to me because the two main characters are such unlikeable jerks (and I usually love a good post-apocolyptic story). I found the sequel to this book, In the Year of the Flood, to be much more enjoyable, and I was glad I read Oryx and Crake first because of the way they're interrelated.
I can't say I loved this book, despite my adoration of Margaret Atwood. It was so disturbing and such a bleak depiction of a completely believable and not very distant future that it left me apprehensive. It stays with me, though so that months later I can't get it out of my mind. I think it serves the purpose of great writing in that it provokes thought and shakes up the reader's comfortable complacency. I highly recommend it for readers who like a challenge.
Daniel M. reviewed Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, Bk 1) on
I'm somewhat of a connoisseur of post-apocalyptic fiction, most of which is terrible. Atwood's Oryx and Crake is a fine example of the genre at its best, a believable hypotheses, sympathetic characters, and a compelling storyline. This is a very dark tale, so it's definitely for the tenderhearted.
This is the first book I ever read by Margaret Atwood. It was a great story, well-arranged and flowed nicely. I will likely read more from her in the future, though I don't feel a 'burning need' to acquire all her novels.
Initially, this was suggested to me as a 'post-apocalyptic style survival story', and in that area it disappointed. Very little was about survival, it was more of a character-growth/discovery/acceptance; which was still good, just not what I expected.
Atwood is definitely a good writer, however I would have liked to have seen more character development and background. For example, Oryx was just a bit too much of an unrealistic being, and little of Crake's history alluded to his seemingly sociopathic tendencies. Otherwise, definitely a good read, very interesting, and quite the possible future were our ethics compromised more than they already are.
Sorry, Ms. Atwood. I love many of your stories, such as Handmaid's tale. You are an excellent story teller, and dystopian tales entertain me to no end. However, this was just not my cup of tea. I found it uncomfortable, jerky, and distasteful. I gave up after about four chapters - boo:(
Although I have always been an enormous Margaret Atwood fan, I feel that her writing becomes more and more honed and beautiful with each successive book. If you are a fan of The Handmaid's Tale you will be absolutely floored by this book.
Excellent Atwood-- reads so quickly, and so well, you're swept into this futuristic world she created. Read Orwell's 1984 and this book, and you'll see that both belong in the same class of literature. Some twisted humor in it too-- just well done.
This is my first Atwood book. I had no real expectations, as I'd never read/ seen anything of hers. I saw bits and pieces of the movie "The Handmaid's Tale," but never got around to reading it. Now I think I'll look for it here, if only to hope for a better ending than this one.
Oh, don't get me wrong. No question, this woman's got game, she can write. She sets the scene and sucks you in, wondering how all this came about. You can't help but dive in and keep on reading. Why is Snowman essentially alone? Why are the young humans so primitive and ignorant of everything? From end to end, Atwood keeps the hints just teasing enough for the reader to compel himself to see one more page, because surely that'll make things clearer.
And somehow, it does. Civilization reverts back to the stone age in a series of logical events. But every answer seems to bring up two more questions, until this literary chain reaction... goes dud in the denouement. And by that I mean, literally, the final pages. I had no problem with the revelation as to how everything came about. I was just a bit let down on the ultimate fate of our protagonist.
Go ahead- read the book- I do actually recommend it. Just don't be surprised if Snowman's final resolution causes a meltdown of expectations.
I really enjoyed this novel -- there's a great dystopian world, which we first visit after a large-scale apocalypse has taken place. The setting and events leading up to the disaster are very believable, and the science is realistic without drowning the reader in technical details. This is a black comedy, with Atwood planting her tongue firmly in her cheek as she describes the end of the world -- sounds strange, but it really works here. Her later book "The Year of the Flood" is a sequel to this title. Very highly recommended, particularly for fans of sci-fi and post-apocalyptic fiction.
This is a futuristic tale that shows a world made bizarre by science, all in the name of benefiting mankind in some way. It has been compared to Orwell's 1984 and Brave New World. It is frightening to realize that so much of the technology available today is mentioned as a possible springboard towards the "improvements" brought about then. They clone animals, and also splice different species together to make a better, more productive animal, without the shortcomings of the originals. They are able to do this with plants as well. And then they take on Man himself, attempting to create a perfect species... Told by Snowman as he is now, in the future, in flashbacks and memories of his relationships with Crake and Oryx, the two most important people in his life. This book is haunting, and my mind returns to it frequently. D.
I read that Atwood has stated that every genetic innovation that appears in this book has already been invented and could exist now. She shows a possible future that has been created "rationally" to conform to human greed and perceived need.
I loved the book it's unique and novel, but that cuts both ways.
It wasn't engaging to me for the first 50 pages or so. It's told as flashbacks, and at the start I just didn't care too much, it unfolds slowly (and then speeds up) and it's just weird. Hard to know how to classify it. It's not post-apocalyptic, but it is. It's not science fiction, but it is. It's not political commentary, but it is. Stick with it, you will like it.
What I like it that it's intellectual, it makes you think about things that perhaps you wouldn't normally consider, or that you don't want to consider.