A stunning and provocative new novel by the internationally celebrated author of The Blind Assassin, winner of the Booker Prize.
Margaret Atwood’s new novel is so utterly compelling, so prescient, so relevant, so terrifyingly-all-too-likely-to-be-true, that readers may find their view of the world forever changed after reading it. This is Margaret Atwood at the absolute peak of her powers. For readers of Oryx and Crake, nothing will ever look the same again.
The narrator of Atwood's riveting novel calls himself Snowman. When the story opens, he is sleeping in a tree, wearing an old bedsheet, mourning the loss of his beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. He searches for supplies in a wasteland where insects proliferate and pigoons and wolvogs ravage the pleeblands, where ordinary people once lived, and the Compounds that sheltered the extraordinary. As he tries to piece together what has taken place, the narrative shifts to decades earlier. How did everything fall apart so quickly? Why is he left with nothing but his haunting memories? Alone except for the green-eyed Children of Crake, who think of him as a kind of monster, he explores the answers to these questions in the double journey he takes - into his own past, and back to Crake's high-tech bubble-dome, where the Paradice Project unfolded and the world came to grief.
With breathtaking command of her shocking material, and with her customary sharp wit and dark humour, Atwood projects us into an outlandish yet wholly believable realm populated by characters who will continue to inhabit our dreams long after the last chapter.
Atwood has visited the future before, in her dystopian novel, The Handmaid's Tale. In her latest, the future is even bleaker. The triple whammy of runaway social inequality, genetic technology and catastrophic climate change, has finally culminated in some apocalyptic event. As Jimmy, apparently the last human being on earth, makes his way back to the RejoovenEsencecompound for supplies, the reader is transported backwards toward that cataclysmic event, its full dimensions gradually revealed. Jimmy grew up in a world split between corporate compounds (gated communities metastasized into city-states) and pleeblands (unsafe, populous and polluted urban centers). His best friend was "Crake," the name originally his handle in an interactive Net game, Extinctathon. Even Jimmy's mother-who ran off and joined an ecology guerrilla group when Jimmy was an adolescent-respected Crake, already a budding genius. The two friends first encountered Oryx on the Net; she was the eight-year-old star of a pedophilic film on a site called HottTotts. Oryx's story is a counterpoint to Jimmy and Crake's affluent adolescence. She was sold by her Southeast Asian parents, taken to the city and eventually made into a sex "pixie" in some distant country. Jimmy meets Oryx much later-after college, after Crake gets Jimmy a job with ReJoovenEsence. Crake is designing the Crakers-a new, multicolored placid race of human beings, smelling vaguely of citron. He's procured Oryx to be his personal assistant. She teaches the Crakers how to cope in the world and goes out on secret missions. The mystery on which this riveting, disturbing tale hinges is how Crake and Oryx and civilization vanished, and how Jimmy-who also calls himself "the Snowman," after that other rare, hunted specimen, the Abominable Snowman-survived. Chesterton once wrote of the "thousand romances that lie secreted in The Origin of Species." Atwood has extracted one of the most hair-raising of them, and one of the most brilliant.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Loved this book. A little slow at first but then I really got into it about 1/3 through. Good science fiction novel. Scary. With modern-day prophetic possibilities!
A different angle.
I had to read this book for my english class summative. Before this book, I was never the type to go out of my way to read a book. I was very lazy to start reading it, but once I had only three days left until it was due, I couldn't help but feel guilty if I were to use spark-notes. The nights were hellish but it was so worth it.
Though slow at times, it was a perfectly good book until I got to the end. Immediately got the sequel. I was so glad that it wasn't another "romance" novel that just covered that part up with an interesting introduction.
My view on many things have changed from this book, and solidified my faith in some of my theories. Reading this was somewhat of a curse though, my career plan was going toward either sciences or arts. Oryx and Crake just lost my hope for being in the sciences. Though interesting, it looks pretty ugly for scientists.
An excellent story of a frighteningly possible future
Although I found a few chapters a bit dragging at approximately the one third mark, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This is the first of Atwood's books I've read and I was not disappointed.
The characters, we're well established and although the central character, Jimmy/Snowman was not the type of person I would generally root for, I felt he was a product of his time and environment. I would have liked a bit more granularity in the history of Oryx. Her tragic childhood was well detailed but her later years, specifically how she was able to overcome the tragedy of her adolescence was entirely absent. I suppose the lack of information does give her a certain mystique.
I do enjoy an open ending, however the ending of this story did feel a touch too abrupt. Up next, The Year of the Flood.