From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Handmaid's Tale
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Nobody does dystopia like Margaret Atwood. She brilliantly conjures an apocalyptic world populated by scary crossbred beasts (wolvogs and pigoons!), a race of genetically resilient humanoids, and a guy called Snowman, who may be the last living human on Earth thanks to a human-made plague. His reflections on the tawdry world before it collapsed and his inept attempts to survive the bigger mess the planet has become manage to be both horrible and hilarious. Atwood’s achievement is showing the dangers of humankind’s self-inflicted horrors. Her warning hits like a hammer: Nothing, not even science, will save the human race once we lose touch with all that makes us humane.
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.
Read all of Margret Atwood’s books.
Oryx and Crake
This book is more specifically speculative fiction, very well-researched, and something you might read in a college course. I recommend it to those looking for a hefty read. The writing style fits the narrative really well. It is dystopian and dark, so not for the faint of heart, and impressively progressive for being published in 2003.
Content warning: this story contains child trafficking, cursing, and a cliffhanger.
Strange and gross.