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Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Margaret Atwood (Author)

Series: MaddAddam Trilogy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
17,054539303 (3.94)2 / 1203
Oryx and Crake is at once an unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey--with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake--through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining.… (more)
Title:Oryx and Crake
Authors:Margaret Atwood (Author)
Info:Seal (2004), Edition: 1st Edition, 464 pages
Collections:Your library

Work Information

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (2003)

  1. 281
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  5. 195
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  6. 151
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  9. 91
    A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. (Oct326, goodiegoodie)
    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)
  10. 70
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  12. 50
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  19. 10
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English (522)  Spanish (3)  Swedish (3)  Dutch (2)  German (2)  Finnish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (536)
Showing 1-5 of 522 (next | show all)
One day, something is going to be the end of the world as we know it. Superbacteria and/or a global plague. Nuclear war. Heck, maybe the zombie apocalypse. But why not climate change? In Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake, it's climate that creates the void into which increasingly powerful corporations pour themselves. Soon, the divide between the haves and the have-nots becomes even more literal, with the highly-educated few retreating into city-esque complexes created and owned by business interests, while the masses are walled off into their own zones. Jimmy is born into privilege, to a mother and father who are good worker bees, and it is in the compound school that he meets Glenn, who becomes his best friend...and who ends up changing the world beyond what anyone could have imagined.

As an adult, Jimmy has renamed himself Snowman (after The Abominable), and as far as he knows, he's the last "real" human left alive. There's a group of genetically engineered people, the Children of Crake, but they're not the same. He's left alone, in a devastated world, with only his memories and his guilt over the role he played in it all. These memories make up the bulk of the book, with very little actually happening in an actual plot sense. Jimmy does venture back to the last place he lived in search of food and sunscreen and medicine, which forces him to confront what happened with Glenn, who became Crake, and the beautiful, reserved Oryx, who was involved with them both. How they died, and how the virus that wreaked havoc on the rest of the world was released.

It's a character study as much as a work of speculative fiction, and that's really Atwood's strength anyways. She loves to dig into the ways our little flaws can set in motion events that spiral out of control, to take the tensions underlying society and drag them up into the open. I find it really interesting that this book was written in 2003, the year I graduated high school, because so much of it seems to apply to the kinds of debates that continue to be relevant even now: just because we have the technology or knowledge to do something, does that mean we should? How do we weigh morality? Whose morality gets weighed? The writing date of the book does mean there are some things that come off anachronistic (she posits a world focused on disc-based storage, in which email is a primary communication method), a lot of it is startlingly prescient.

Clearly I liked it, but it was not without failings. The biggest, for me, was its lack of developed female characters. Jimmy's mother is intriguing, but we see relatively little of her and through mostly his eyes, reflecting on the way her choices impacted him. Oryx remains to the reader just as mystifying as she largely is to Jimmy, and while I could see Atwood intending this as a statement of how men tend to project their own stories only the women they claim to love (Jimmy is convinced he knows parts of Oryx's past, which she herself denies), I wish we'd gotten more of her perspective. And as much as I enjoy character-driven novels, I wish it had been structured differently, so that it was taking place in the present rather than largely in the past. These are relatively minor issues, though. On the whole, this book is fascinating and thought-provoking and one I'd recommend widely (though maybe not younger/less sophisticated teenagers). ( )
  ghneumann | Jun 14, 2024 |
Whomever payed attention to the last 3 years and ever had the change to read Oryx and Crake will certainly notice the familiarity between Atwood's sharp depiction of a pre- and post-apolitical world and the world of today. Going back to a naive 2005 when I first read this book, I imagine if Atwood's dystopia lies in the realm of prophecy, analytical prediction or just a pure and vivid fantastic fiction. One thing is for sure, the naive fascination and deep admiration for her work that I felt as a first time reader remains untouched despite the sight of a future that looks each day more like fiction. ( )
  P.C.Menezes | May 15, 2024 |
Sometida a los estragos de una terrible plaga; la humanidad afronta una azarosa huida hacia adelante. En esta primera entrega de la trilogía de MADDADDAM ?que se completa con El año del Diluvio y Maddaddam?; Margaret Atwood nos invita a adentrarnos en un futuro tan verosímil como inquietante. Conocido como Jimmy antes de que el planeta se viese asolado por una serie de desastres naturales; Hombre de las Nieves llora la pérdida de Crake; su mejor amigo; y de la esquiva Oryx; de quien ambos estaban enamorados; mientras lucha por sobrevivir en soledad sobre la faz de la Tierra. A merced de los elementos; acechado por los recuerdos y sin más compañía que la de los Hijos de Crake; esos seres de ojos verdes que lo consideran una especie de profeta; Hombre de las Nieves se pregunta cómo ha podido cambiar todo en tan poco tiempo y emprende un doble viaje hacia su pasado y hacia la burbuja de alta tecnología creada por Crake; el lugar donde empezó todo. La crítica ha dicho... «Un retrato feroz de la globalización y de un mundo que se desgarra por sus costuras ecológicas ( )
  AmicanaLibrary | May 13, 2024 |
I finished this book in under 5 hours, it was amazing and completely absorbing and this wasn't even the first time I've read it. It's such a scary realistic view of what our future could be. I loved it. ( )
  Linyarai | Mar 6, 2024 |
It seems like it took forever to finish this book. I've only read one other book by Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale), so I decided to check out some more of her writings. I was very disappointed in this one. I thought it was poorly written & the ending was just terrible. ( )
  thatnerd | Mar 2, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 522 (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 (35 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Atwood, Margaretprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chancer, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davids, TinkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drews, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Richardson, C.S.Cover designersecondary 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 into the air?
— Virginia Woolf,
To the Lighthouse
For my family
First words
Snowman wakes before dawn.
“I am not my childhood,” Snowman says out loud. — 4: Hammer ~ 68
“Your friend is intellectually honorable,” Jimmy’s mother would say. “He doesn’t lie to himself.”
— 4: Crake ~ 69
“Jimmy, Jimmy,” said Crake. “Not everything has a point.” — 4: Crake ~ 70
If he wants to be an asshole it’s a free country. Millions before him have made the same life choice.
— 4: Crake ~ 72
When did the body first set out on its own adventures? Snowman thinks; after having ditched its old travelling companions, the mind and the soul, for whom it had once been considered a mere corrupt vessel or else a puppet acting out their dramas for them, or else bad company, leading the other two astray. — 4: Brainfrizz ~ 85
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Oryx and Crake is at once an unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey--with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake--through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining.

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