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Oryx en Crake by Margaret Atwood

Oryx en Crake (2003)

by Margaret Atwood, Tinke Davids

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,792309259 (3.96)2 / 900
Title:Oryx en Crake
Authors:Margaret Atwood
Other authors:Tinke Davids
Info:Amsterdam : Bakker; 373 p, 22 cm; http://opc4.kb.nl/DB=1/PPN?PPN=24584810X
Tags:Booker Prize Shortlist, Dystopia, Genetics

Work details

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (2003)

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    Oct326: Both post-apocalyptic novels, Atwood's one is satyric and sarcastic, and skilfully projects some trends of current society in a not-too-far future, suggesting that they can lead us to catastrophe; while Miller's one is very sad, even tragic, deeply pessimistic about humanity, which it describes as inherently stupid and evil, and inevitably bound to repeat its mistakes and destroy itself.… (more)
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English (298)  Swedish (3)  Finnish (2)  Spanish (2)  Danish (1)  All languages (306)
Showing 1-5 of 298 (next | show all)
Addictive and winding, this is one of those books which will suck you in within pages, leaving you unable to stop and still wondering why. Atwood's winding structure is a labyrinth of grief, discovery, and the dangers of technology and so-called progress, and while her characters may be difficult to fully engage with or relate to, they are as believable as they are realistic to the world she creates. All together, this novel is a stunning journey into a future which seems all too possible, humorous and heartbreaking as it may be.

One warning: as the first book in a trilogy, this novel doesn't hold as much closure as many readers (including myself) would hope for. The writing and the story are enough to pull me in for the second work in the series, but I'm not thrilled that the story here didn't end on a clearer note or hold a more insular narrative. It may be worth noting that, were the second book not already in stores, I'm not sure how long the story would stick with me and pull me back in after a wait for publication. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Apr 24, 2014 |
As good as science fiction gets: plausible, (therefore) scary with an important warning. Heartbreaking. Compelling read. ( )
  ghefferon | Apr 19, 2014 |
Scary because it is so very close to actuality. ( )
  LisaFoxRomance | Apr 6, 2014 |
This was my second reading of the book, and it was just as good, maybe even more, the second time. It's a book that almost instantly pulls me in, and is a book that has me wanting to read it, and the other two in the trilogy in a sitting, because of the excellent writing and story.

The writing in this book is solid, especially considering there's so much technical and scientific terms. I find in some books similar to this, which have heavy amounts of new technology, items, animals and basically anything futuristic, it can be bogged down with terms, names and definitions of what everything is and how it fits in. Atwood manages to bring in all of these things, both interesting, and frightening, and wove it into the story wonderfully. The amount of detail to pull the reader in, yet the amount the author allows the author to imagine was done almost flawlessly.

The story and how it brings the reader to the end was spectacular. Even knowing the end result, I was still completely drawn into the book. Surprisingly, I remembered a lot more than I originally thought and yet I was still just as engrossed into the book the second time as the first. Snowman, I think the second reading helped me a lot with getting into the mindset of Snowman and the whole psychology behind his character. He's a lot more complex than he originally seems especially after the second read, I picked up on a few things here and there. And while he's not a character I could say I loved, I do want to read more about him and his story. I also loved the conclusion of the book, and while I have to wait until the third book to find out exactly what will happen, I think it was a very fitting ending.

Overall, the book was a fantastic book, one of my favourites and now has me wanting to re-read The Year of the Flood and finally reading MaddAddam.

Also found on my book review blog Jules' Book Reviews - Oryx and Crake ( )
  bookwormjules | Apr 4, 2014 |
Oryx and Crake is the story of Snowman who lives alone in a post-apocalyptic world where the coastal cities of North America are under water, and strange animals roam free. Flashbacks show us how Snowman came to be the last survivor of his kind after an epidemic killed the rest of the human race. At first, I must say that I was a little put off by the main character and narrator, Snowman. I didn’t particularly like him: he is an anti-hero, full of flaws. He is lazy and cowardly, and he doesn’t have much qualms about betraying his friends. But then, as the story progresses, I couldn’t help but wonder what I would have done in the same situation. And the scary part of the book is that Margaret Atwood based her speculative fiction on real breakthroughs in genetic engineering. So the future of Oryx and Crake might become our future in a few decades…

To read the full review, please go to my blog (Cecile Sune - Book Obsessed). ( )
  cecile.sune | Apr 2, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 298 (next | show all)
Oryx and Crake is a piece of dystopian fiction written from the point of Snowman (known as Jimmy in his former life) – the last human left on Earth. At least, he believes he’s the last human left on Earth until the end of the book.

I found the parts of the book describing Snowman’s journey to Paradice (the dome in the compound where Crake did his work) to be a lot less interesting than his recollections of his previous life as Jimmy. I loved reading about how Jimmy and Crake met, the little signs that Crake gave off as to what he might be planning and the direction his thoughts might take in the future (though Jimmy didn’t recognize these until it was too late), etc.

Crake is really the star of the show in this book in my mind – Jimmy simply acts as a vessel for us to learn about a character who is dead and who therefore cannot teach us about himself.

Snowman’s adventures in real time seem almost pointless to me. Why not dedicate the whole book to Jimmy’s friendship with Crake, with just a bit of general explanation as to what’s going on now? I think the present would have been much more interesting if the Crakers were explored more than Jimmy’s struggle to survive and come to grips with what Crake had done.

On the whole, however, I thought it was a great book.
Set sometime in the future, this post-apocalyptic novel takes scientific research in the hands of madmen to its logical and frightening conclusion. Inspiring readers to pay more attention to the world around them, Atwood offers cautionary notes about the environment, bioengineering, the sacrifice of civil liberties, and the possible loss of those human values which make life more than just a physical experience. As the novel opens, some catastrophe has occurred, effectively wiping out human life. Only one lonely survivor and a handful of genetically altered humanoids remain, and they are slowly starving as they try to adjust to their changed circumstances.
added by stephmo | editMostly Fiction, Mary Whipple (May 28, 2004)
In Margaret Atwood's first attempt at writing a novel, the main character was an ant swept downriver on a raft. She abandoned that book after the opening scene and became caught up in other activities, which she has described as ''sissy stuff like knitting and dresses and stuffed bunnies.'' That certainly does not sound like Ms. Atwood, who is known for the boldness of her fiction. Of course she was only 7 at the time.
added by stephmo | editNew York Times, Mel Gussow (Jun 24, 2003)
Margaret Atwood has always taken a jaundiced view of human nature. Back when her mordant observations about marriage and other relations between the sexes had her marked down as a feminist, she took pains to fire off several novels in a row featuring weak, manipulative, dishonest and outright bad women, partly to prove that her skepticism was distributed fairly. She has always been of the opinion that people are a mixed bag of the occasionally decent and the frequently mendacious and that there's not much anyone can do to change that fact.
added by stephmo | editSalon.com, Laura Miller (May 27, 2003)
Genetic tinkering. Rampant profiteering. A deadly virus that sweeps the globe. Are these last Tuesday's headlines or our future?

In Margaret Atwood's novel Oryx and Crake, the answer is both. For Atwood, our future is the catastrophic sum of our oversights. It's a depressing view, saved only by Atwood's biting, black humor and absorbing storytelling.
added by stephmo | editUSA Today, Jackie Pray (May 26, 2003)

» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Margaret Atwoodprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davids, TinkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drews, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scott, CampbellNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I could perhaps like others have astonished you
with strange improbable tales; but I rather chose to relate plain matters of fact in the simplest manner and style; because my principal design was to inform you, and not to amuse you.
- Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels
Was there no safety? No learning by heart of the ways of the world? No guide, no shelter, but all was miracle and leaping from the pinnacle of a tower in the air?
- Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
For my family
First words
Snowman wakes before dawn.
If he wants to be an asshole, it's a free country. Millions before him have made the same life choice.
Crake had worked for years on the purring. Once he'd discovered that the cat family purred at the same frequency as the ultrasound used on bone fractures and skin lesions and were thus equipped with their own self-healing mechanism, he'd turned himself inside out in the attempt to install the feature.
So Crake never remembered his dreams. It's Snowman that remembers them instead. Worse than remembers: he's immersed in them, he's wading through them, he's stuck in them. Every moment he's lived in the past few months was dreamed first by Crake. No wonder Crake screamed so much.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385721676, Paperback)

In Oryx and Crake, a science fiction novel that is more Swift than Heinlein, more cautionary tale than "fictional science" (no flying cars here), Margaret Atwood depicts a near-future world that turns from the merely horrible to the horrific, from a fool's paradise to a bio-wasteland. Snowman (a man once known as Jimmy) sleeps in a tree and just might be the only human left on our devastated planet. He is not entirely alone, however, as he considers himself the shepherd of a group of experimental, human-like creatures called the Children of Crake. As he scavenges and tends to his insect bites, Snowman recalls in flashbacks how the world fell apart.

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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:16 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Jimmy, perhaps the last living human unaltered by science, struggles for survival in a post-apocalyptic world as he tries to make sense of how everything went wrong, mourns the loss of his beloved Oryx, a girl he met through a kiddie porn Web site, and considers the role of his genius friend Crake who had been working on a formula for immortality at the RejoovenEsenseCompound.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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