Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

I finished reading Oryx and Crake maybe a month ago. It was the only title on my challenge list that I'd been dying to read, but I'd picked this book up a few months ago and just couldn't continue to read it. But I tried again, and the timing was right. I've only read this and The Handmaid's Tale by Atwood, but she has quickly become one of my favourite authors in the way her stories develop, the character's voices, her style of writing - it's all very beautiful and I am in awe of her.

I find it very difficult to summarize the plot, so I leave amazon to do that for me:

In the beginning, there was chaos..." Margaret Atwood's chilling new novel Oryx and Crake moves beyond the futuristic fantasy of her 1985 bestseller The Handmaid’s Tale to an even more dystopian world, a world where language--and with it anything beyond the merest semblance of humanity--has almost entirely vanished.
Snowman may be the last man on earth, the only survivor of an unnamed apocalypse. Once he was Jimmy, a member of a scientific elite; now he lives in bitter isolation and loneliness, his only pleasure the watching of old films on DVD. His mind moves backwards and forwards through time, from an agonising trawl through memory to relive the events that led up to sudden catastrophe (most significantly the disappearance of his mother and the arrival of his mysterious childhood companions Oryx and Crake, symbols of the fractured society in which Snowman now finds himself, to the horrifying present of genetic engineering run amok. His only witnesses, eager to lap up his testimony, are "Crakers", laboratory creatures of varying strengths and abilities, who can offer little comfort. Gradually the reasons behind the disaster begin to unfold as Snowman undertakes a perilous journey to the remains of the bubble-dome complex where the sinister Paradice Project collapsed and near-global devastation began.

This is a very chilling and upsetting story about the uses and abuses of science in regards to genetics, which isn't a subject I'm very familiar with (and Atwood doesn't, thankfully, spend a lot of time on the actual science-y bits) but the disasterous outcome of the novel seems entirely within our reach.


Chris said...

I just finished this book as well and I'm definitely going to read some of her other books!

Wendy said...

This was the book that made me an Atwood fan. I'm not a huge Dystopian I didn't expect to love the book as much as I did. I figure any writer who is so talented that she can transcend the genre in which she writes, is one worth reading!