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Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
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Oryx and Crake (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Margaret Atwood

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11,210327251 (3.96)2 / 956
Member:exfed
Title:Oryx and Crake
Authors:Margaret Atwood
Info:Anchor (2004), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 376 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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 (315)  Swedish (3)  Spanish (2)  Finnish (2)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (324)
Showing 1-5 of 315 (next | show all)
well-written science fiction morality play. nothing spectacular but Atwood delivers believable and interesting characters and scenarios that challenge beliefs and ideas ingrained. the present tense is used to good effect to separate it from the flashbacks that Snowman, the protagonist, entertains. semi-satirical, the book also does not dumb down the story with exposition or hokey explanations. it let's you find out for yourself. like great literature, it asks big questions, it doesn't answer them. ( )
  keebrook | Mar 10, 2015 |
Snowman is possibly the last human left, though he isn't alone. He's the caretaker of a group of human-like creatures who have sun-resistant skin, who have been bred to need no love, war or religion. But through Snowman's stories, they are in awe of Crake, their maker. They also give thanks to Oryx, the woman who gave them the animals.
Snowman was once a man named Jimmy, and Oryx was a victim of child trafficking who eventually became Jimmy's girlfriend. Crake was Jimmy's friend since childhood, when they grew up in the same compound. Crake had always made Jimmy feel inferior, and as they grew older and went into different careers, Jimmy saw that Crake was a genius rising to the top of his science compounds, but Jimmy knew that Crake had less of a conscious than he let on. Dystopian and scary, yet a memoir of a life too. ( )
  mstrust | Feb 25, 2015 |
While I typically do not chooses to read dystopian novels, a few do attract me and considering I am a fan a Margaret Atwood's writing style, I finally read Oryx & Crake and was unable to set it down. I enjoyed learning about the current situation through "Snowman" aka adult Jimmy and flashbacks to his childhood, how he met Crake and Oryx and what led to where he was now. The last words made me yearn for more and I am now reading the second in the series, The Year of the Flood, more to come on that book shortly. I highly recommend anyone who has not yet read Oryx & Crake, it is rather addicting and Atwood’s writing style is as usual, beautiful and descriptive. ( )
  knittingmomof3 | Feb 22, 2015 |
Oryx and Crake is the first in a science fiction trilogy by Margaret Atwood about a future, almost post-apocalyptic version of the world. The story is told from the point of view of the main character, Jimmy, but the reader gets the story in a mix of descriptions of the present and memories from the past. In this way, the reader is left to piece together the history of a world where genetic engineering has run wild and social inequality is at an extreme. Jimmy grows up in the middle of it, and through his story of a miserable childhood, the best friend who is always there for him, and the love of his young life, he manages to show the reader why the apocalypse came about and how, against all odds, he managed to survive. It is wonderfully written, and leaves the reader wanting to know more about what will happen to Jimmy and the world he now lives in...and at the same time looking at some of the environmental and social issues in the world today and wondering if this is a possible cautionary tale about where we might be headed. ( )
1 vote GretchenLynn | Feb 12, 2015 |
I will start by saying that I love Atwood, and so far have not read anything from her that I did not enjoy. Oryx and Crake is no exception, and I look forward to the remaining two books in the trilogy.

I don't want to give too much away, as I personally enjoyed stumbling on the various details and plot twists. So in an attempt at being vague: we meet Snowman, the narrator and only known surviving human being after a disaster destroys mankind. He is tasked with the care of the "Crakers," genetically altered beings that are essentially evolutionarily perfect. Primarily through flashbacks, we slowly learn what has happened to the rest of the world, who these "Crakers" are, and what role Snowman, Oryx and Crake played in all of it.

While the plot is very good, the way Atwood portrays the technological advances of the "near future," and how they affect humanity, is my absolute favorite thing about this book. She creates a very unsettling and all-too-real dystopia... slightly reminiscent of A Handmaid's Tale. In typical Atwood fashion, the writing is excellent. Some people do find Snowman irritating (lazy, annoying), and I definitely see where they are coming from - but he didn't bother me as much as he bothered others.

If this sounds at all interesting...if you are a fan of Atwood, or if you enjoy a good dystopian novel.... pick this up! Looking forward to reading #2!

“All it takes,” said Crake, “is the elimination of one generation. One generation of anything. Beetles, trees, microbes, scientists, speakers of French, whatever. Break the link in time between one generation and the next, and it’s game over forever." ( )
  skrouhan | Feb 4, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 315 (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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Epigraph
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
Dedication
For my family
First words
Snowman wakes before dawn.
Quotations
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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)

Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwelmed by a plaque, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the only human left on our devastated planet, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. 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. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey, with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake, through the wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. As he scavenges and tends to his insect bites, Snowman recalls in flashbacks how the world fell apart.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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