What is it? Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
What is it about? 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.
Liked? Oryx and Crake is the single best execution of proper world building I have ever read in a post-apocalyptic/dystopian novel. It just plops you down inside the world and forces you to accept the world it. There are so many things about this novel to love. It’s pacing, word choice, setting, themes, just everything. From now on I’m pretty much going to recommend this to everyone constantly. It has romance, action, fear, and a fantastic plot. It causes you to think and it makes you fear for the future. I love how you can’t quite trust the narrator, how the ‘why’ behind it all is still hidden, that the very definition of humanity is altered. I loved all the science and twisted allusions. Just fantastic.
Problems? It took me a long time to read, which is partly my fault and partly because Oryx and Crake is so different, the first one hundred pages are just really strange. You (the reader) must accept the reality of Snowman’s world immediately.
Quotes? “When any civilization is dust and ashes, art is all that’s left over. Images, words, music. Imaginative structures. Meaning - human meaning, that is - is defined by them.”
Recommend? Absolutely. Yes. Please. And I would recommend you read it and pass it on to a friend, because the questions it raises are so universal and you will just want to talk about Oryx and Crake. A word of caution, I would not let anyone under the age of 16 read this (the cover art for the hardback has naked people on it, so it’s not like you won’t know what you are getting into). This is one of those books that makes me want to immediately reread it, share it, and ponder it over and over. It’s that good.