Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

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Rate: 4/5


Medium: Book


Overview (No Spoilers): It has been several days now since I finished Oryx and Crake and I can’t stop thinking about it or resolve my feeling regarding this novel. First and foremost, I would have never been introduced to this book, except through the blogging world and for that I’m incredibly thankful. Patrick, of the blog gamobo, reached out to me and proposed that we do a book exchange in which we recommend titles to each other, as such, he suggested that I try Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood and it should be no surprise that I threw out the title Red Rising by Pierce Brown. You can find Patrick’s review here.

Looking back to our initial emails, Patrick and I first decided to do a book recommendation back in late June. Such is life, that I’m only now getting to read Oryx and Crake, and as usual, I don’t know what took me so long to work this book into my schedule because the  concepts and attention to detail found in this novel fit perfectly into the mold of books that I love. This novel starts off as a bit of mystery, following the narrative of Snowman, who is the reluctant caretaker of a primitive new species of human called the Crakers. Slowly, through subtle clues and frequent flashbacks the reader begins to piece together that Snowman, previously known as Jimmy, comes from a time before Crakers and a time before civilization has completely collapsed. From a time where science was on the brink of creating immorality and slicing together animals to create creatures out of a mad scientist’s fantasies, e.g. a snake/rat or a snat. As the story progresses, we learn more about Snowman’s, i.e., Jimmy’s, history and the mystery surrounding these Crakers, until the flashback within the story reaches its climax much to the distress of the readers. Overall, Oryx and Crake offers a though provoking glimpse into a futuristic world with skewed scientific morals and ethics. I absolutely loved the intermingling of the narrative from a primitive, present day world and the flashbacks to a dystopian-based, crumbling society and the mystery surrounding the events, which must have unfolded to make the two worlds one in the same. I’m eagerly looking forward to picking up the next book in the series, The Year of the Flood!


Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):

  1. Did Oryx know what Crake was up to? Did she know the role that Crake was going to use her? Did Crake know about her relationship with Jimmy or did he encourage it?
  2. Was Oryx actually the girl that Jimmy and Crake saw in the video? Did Crake accidentally find her or was it more intentional?
  3. What happened to Jimmy’s father? What happened to Jimmy’s mother after she left? What did she find out about that made her leave? Was Crake’s family’s death also intentional?
  4. How will the Crakes adapt to other human interaction? Will they survive without Snowman? Will Snowman find the other humans?
  5. Why didn’t Snowman take the wind up radio or try harder to reach out to the voice he heard? I feel like the curiosity would have consumed me in that situation!

 

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32 comments

  1. Ha! It’s been 2 years since I’ve read this book and I still think about it on a regular basis :). And what did happen to Jimmy’s mother?! I still have to read Year of the Flood, but I heard the characters in it are totally different. Love this review and hope you’ll get to part deux asap 😉

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  2. This isn’t my favorite Atwood novel (that would be The Blind Assassin), but it is haunting and scary, especially given our current political climate. The Year of the Flood brings it full circle, exploring civilization’s collapse from the viewpoint of ordinary people, including several known to Jimmy. I look forward to your thoughts on it and the third book!

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      • I wish I’d read the two closer together, to be honest. I read Year of the Flood several years after Oryx and Crake and by the time I read the second novel I barely remembered what happened in the first (which is a bit of a shame because the two storylines converge in Flood). I have started the third novel but haven’t finished it yet. Anyhow, go clear your head, but don’t wait too long! 🙂

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      • I read the three back to back. But sometimes I think I should have stopped right at this one. It’s that way complete on its own. And the series, although quite good all through, does sometime disappoint. Especially in the third book. Oryx and Crake is just fabulous.

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  3. I enjoyed reading your review! I loved this book so much when I read it several years ago and have recommended it to everyone since. Unfortunately, Year of the Flood failed to captivate me because most of it deals with an entirely new set of characters, and even the third book in the trilogy left me feeling lackluster. Somehow nothing can compare to Oryx & Crake and all of the questions and thoughts it left me with.

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    • I agree. O&C is almost perfect. I found the last book a drag, trying to artificially tying all the loose ends. The plot was tortured. Although I still like what she’s done with the series as a whole. The thing is, one can stop at O&C without loss of anything. But if one reads YOTF, one has to read the last one for completeness, and end up being disappointed :).

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  4. Oryx and Crake was the first Atwood novel I ever read, and none of her other works have been able to compete in my eyes. I still haven’t made it to Year of the Flood because I’m a little afraid I won’t like any of Atwood’s books as much as I’ve liked this one.

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  5. Margaret Atwood is definitely my favorite living author. I love that you and others are discovering her works. The remaining two books in this trilogy answer some of your questions and will generate new questions, but I found that I did not need all of the ends to be tied up neatly in order to feel 100% satisfied with the story. Happy reading.

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  6. If you haven’t read The HandmId’s Tale, I would definitely recommend it. Stands up more than thirty years after it was written as a compelling critique of societal diminishment of women. Also demonstrates Atwood’s love of language and awareness of its power.

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  7. It is odd, loving Margaret Atwood as much as I do, that I have not read all of her books yet. I always fear that none will live up to The Handmaid’s Tale, which for me is an utter classic. I’ll have to pick this one up now. Did you know she has a new one out this last month? It’s called Hag-Seed, a retelling of The Tempest. I’m on the wait-list at the library!

    Liked by 1 person

    • These have been the only two books I’ve read of hers. I’ve heard wonderful things about The Handmaid’s Tale and need to pick it up! I’ve seen people blogging about Hag-Seed now that you’ve pointed it out. Hopefully you get to read it soon!

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  8. Loved your review. Will soon start reading Oryx and Crake and the Year of Flood. I personally did not know that these two were a part of the series. My personal favourites are The Handmaid’s Tale and The Blind Assassin, but I really love all her books which I have read so far.

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