Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

I just moved.  Well almost two weeks ago.  But my Top Ten book is in a box somewhere still, with the rest of my books.  (currently residing in my living room).  Thanks to Dave, this entry is happening.

Oryx and Crake was listed by G.D. Gearino. 

This is the start of a trilogy of which I have not read the rest of, the third one just came out.  I read Oryx and Crake for the first time in approximately 2002, about the same time I read Atwood’s book Blind Assassin.  I loved Blind Assassin, but remembered not being as fond of Oryx and Crake.  I didn’t really remember anything about it, other than it was an “end of the world” story.  So, I decided to re-read it and see if I liked it better a second time around.  I did.  But it is still far from being my favorite Atwood book.

In Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood imagines a place where a breakdown of society happened in the past.  She details the dystopian society that sprung up because of that dissolution.  In Oryx and Crake, she has us at the end of an annihilation of the human species.  The narrator is Snowman, who feels he might be the last remaining human.  There are Crake’s children, but they are genetically created in a lab, removing many of the genes that were seen as causing most of the problems in humanity (for example:  the need for a theology has been removed from them.  They grow up ridiculously fast, to avoid the pesky childhood years.  Snowman is the narrator and at the beginning introduces us to Crake’s children, and we find out all the animals are Oryx’s.  Then in the next couple of chapters, we find that all of the animals around are actually genetic splices like the wolvogs, who look like dogs, and retain the ability to act like dogs, but use that behavior to lure victims in and then kill them.

The story switches back and forth between the present and Snowman’s past, starting at the age of five, all the way up to what happened to cause the end of the world and the children of Crake.  We find out that the genetic splicing started before Snowman (previously known as Jimmy) was born and his father was one of the scientist’s doing it. 

Atwood does a brilliant job of slowly peeling layers away as Snowman’s past is revealed and the events leading up to the present day.  You do keep turning the pages, wondering what is the next layer to the answer of the question “What happened?” 

I had quotes from the book to show this, but I am typing this on my laptop and between a slow internet connection and a falling apart keyboard, I am currently typing at 10 wpm (maybe 20) and constantly still having to backspace to correct when the spacebar does not work or the shift button sticks  or the word comes out all messed up.  So, since the last paragraph took me 5 minutes, and I currently want to throw my computer through a window, I am ending RIGHT HERE.

One response to “Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

  1. Pingback: Something a little different | Eleven and a Half Years of Books

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