Oryx and Crake Paperback – 30 Mar 2004
|Paperback, 30 Mar 2004||
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“Towering and intrepid. . . . Atwood does Orwell one better.” —The New Yorker
“Atwood has long since established herself as one of the best writers in English today, but Oryx and Crake may well be her best work yet. . . . Brilliant, provocative, sumptuous and downright terrifying.” —The Baltimore Sun
“Her shuddering post-apocalyptic vision of the world . . . summons up echoes of George Orwell, Anthony Burgess and Aldous Huxley. . . . Oryx and Crake [is] in the forefront of visionary fiction.” —The Seattle Times
“A book too marvelous to miss.” —The San Diego Union-Tribune
“Majestic. . . . Keeps us on the edges of our seats.” —The Washington Post
“A compelling futuristic vision. . . . Oryx and Crake carries itself with a refreshing lightness. . . . Its shrewd pacing neatly balances action and exposition. . . . What gives the book a deeper resonance is its humanity.” –Newsday
“[A] stunning new novel–possibly her best since The Handmaid’s Tale.” –Time Out New York
“A delightful amalgam for the sophisticated reader: her perfectly placed prose, poetic language and tongue-in-cheek tone are ubiquitous throughout, as if an enchanted nanny is telling one a dark bedtime story of alienation and ruin while lovingly stroking one’s head.” –Ms.
“Truly remarkable. . . . As fun as it is dark. . . . A feast of realism, science fiction, satire, elegy and then some. . . . Atwood has concocted here an all-too-possible vision. . . . [She is] a master.” –The News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina)
“A roll of dry, black, parodic laughter. . . . One of the year’s most surprising novels.” –The Economist
“Sublime. . . . Good, solid, Swiftian science fiction from a . . . literary artist par excellence.” –The Denver Post
“Dances with energy and sophisticated gallows humor. . . . [Atwood’s] wry wit makes dystopia fun.” –People
“A crackling read. . . . Atwood is one of the most impressively ambitious writers of our time.” –The Guardian
“Gorgeously written, full of eyeball-smacking images and riveting social and scientific commentary. . . . A cunning and engrossing book by one of the great masters of the form.” –The Buffalo News
“A powerful vision. . . . Very readable.” –The New York Times Book Review
“Brilliant, impossible to put down. . . . Atwood . . . is at once commanding and enchanting. Piercingly intelligent and piquantly witty, highly imaginative and unfailingly compassionate, she is a spoonful-of-sugar storyteller, concealing the strong and necessary medicine of her stinging social commentary within the balm of dazzlingly complicated and compelling characters and intricate and involving predicaments.” –The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Original and chilling. . . . Powerful, inventive, playful and difficult to resist.” –Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Brilliantly constructed. . . . Jimmy and Crake grip like characters out of Greek tragedy. . . . Atwood herself is one of our finest linguistic engineers. Her carefully calibrated sentences are formulated to hook and paralyse the reader.” –The Daily Telegraph
“Atwood does not disappoint.” –The Dallas Morning News
“Gripping. . . . Bursts with invention and mordant wit, none of which slows down its headlong pace. . . . Atwood is in sleek form. . . . [Her] prescience is unsettling.” –St. Petersburg Times
“Biting, black humor and absorbing storytelling. . . . Atwood entices.” –USA Today
“Compelling. . . . Packed with fascinating ideas. . . . Her most accessible book in years, a gripping, unadorned story.” –The Onion
“This superlatively gripping and remarkably imagined book joins The Handmaid’s Tale in the distinguished company of novels (The Time Machine, Brave New World and 1984) that look ahead to warn us about the results of human shortsightedness.” –The Times (London)
“Absorbing. . . . Atwood ahs not lost her touch for following the darker paths of speculative fiction–she easily creates a believable, contained future world.” –Seattle Weekly
“Engrossing. . . . A novel of ideas, narrated with an almost scientific dispassion and a caustic, distanced humor. The prose is fast and clean.” –Rocky Mountain News
“Riveting and thought-provoking. . . . Keen and cutting. . . . [Atwood] has grown into one of the most consistently imaginative and masterful fiction writers writing in English today.” –Richmond Times-Dispatch
From the Inside Flap
With the same stunning blend of prophecy and social satire she brought to her classic The Handmaids Tale, Margaret Atwood gives us a keenly prescient novel about the future of humanityand its present.
Humanity here equals Snowman, and in Snowmans recollections Atwood re-creates a time much like our own, when a boy named Jimmy loved an elusive, damaged girl called Oryx and a sardonic genius called Crake. But now Snowman is alone, and as we learn why we also learn about a world that could become ours one day.
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Margaret Atwood prefers to call this 'speculative fiction' but I'll stick with the age-old tag of 'science fiction' - very different from more conventional stuff. Bio-engineering is indeed a scary concept with the potential to wipe out the world, and the author plays beautifully on these fears to take you on Snowman's journey.
Her premise that it takes just one generation to be skipped for man to lose all the knowledge garnered through millenia is frightening (and possibly true).
I found the book so gripping that I haven't been able to stop thinking about it at all.
The only reason I wouldn't give the book 5 stars is because I didn't care much for the invented company, animal, and product names - 'Chickienobs', 'Healthwyzer', 'wolvogs', and 'pigoons', seriously?
Nevertheless, Ms. Atwood can write! (And she certainly doesn't need my endorsement to prove that.) This is a story that pulls you in and sets your teeth on edge throughout. I can't wait to see what the second and third parts of the MaddAddam trilogy have in store.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
After a long series of flashbacks, the mystery is revealed. But by that time, I didn't care as much as I could have. I wasn't invested enough in the characters. I felt for Jimmy, who'd had a rough life. But since his primary trait was alienation, he never seemed to care much. Neither did I.
The plot in the present consisted mostly of Snowman trying to stay alive, half-heartedly mentoringthe Crakers (people genetically created by Crake) and avoiding gene-spliced animals. Snowman's actions served mostly as an excuse for flashbacks. But when the flashbacks caught up to the present and something was about to happen, the book ends.
There's no question Margaret Atwood knows how to write. Her style is magnificent. She weaves a beautiful word picture but never in a way that's obtrusive. And her world building in this story is fleshed out and believable. She can be a bit preachy. In The Handmaid's Tale, that preachiness bothered me, but at least I felt for the protagonist.
In Oryx and Crake, the author challenges us to take a look at our world today and argue that her bleak vision of the future is impossible. Could genetic engineering get out of control? Is western civilization shallow and materialistic? Are big corporations dangerously amoral? Sure. But this story ignores all positives. Whether her cynicism is justified or not, the mix of good and bad in humanity is what lets us attach our emotions to fictional characters.
Dystopian novels have the saving grace of a protagonist that struggles against a world gone awry. In a post-apocalyptic novel, hope has been lost, but we follow the protagonist as they trudge along bravely. Even a book as bleak as Cormac McCarthy's The Road is redeemed by the love of the man for the boy.
Oryx and Crake is a fine novel written with Atwood's admirable writing style. Her world building is solid. The mystery keeps you reading. But I was left wanting. If her main theme is that human beings suck, and we deserve to become extinct, it's disappointing.
The second book in this trilogy, The Year of the Flood,is supposed to be more hopeful. The blurb for the finale, MaddAddam, says: "this thrilling conclusion to Margaret Atwood's speculative fiction trilogy confirms the ultimate endurance of humanity, community, and love." I hope that's true. There was no sign of it in Oryx and Crake
December 26th update:
I finished the book last week and the ending was a real letdown. Nothing was concluded, no points were made, it was basically a come on to read the next book in the series, which the author said she originally had no intention of writing...She said that she got so many questions about the non ending she decided she had to write another continuation, come on, if that were true the story is even worse and I would have rated it 2 stars. I'm not going to wade through two more of these to get a story line. I'm disappointed.