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Oryx and Crake | [Margaret Atwood]

Oryx and Crake

As the story opens, Snowman is sleeping in a tree, mourning the loss of his beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. 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, 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.
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Publisher's Summary

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. This is Margaret Atwood at the absolute peak of her powers.

©2002 O.W. Toad, Ltd.; (P)2003 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Absorbing...expertly rendered...Virtuosic storytelling [is] on display." (The New York Times) "Chesterton once wrote of the 'thousand romances that lie secreted in the Origin of the Species.' Atwood has extracted one of the most hair-raising of them all, and one of the most brilliant." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Robert Valrico, FL, USA 03-24-04
    Robert Valrico, FL, USA 03-24-04 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Dull"

    First, I listened because I had paid and then I finished to be able to give credible warning. This book is not recommended.

    The characters are as empty and scorched as the twisted, sickened wilderness they inhabit. Morality and hope are both drowned in Atwood's a new world of overpopulated, super-sexual, genetically modified madness. The keys to wealth and power are in genetic engineering and materialism has taken over society. However, this reality and the inscrutable, wooden characters that inhabit it exist only in the memory of a sad, stupid man who has survived the viral apocalypse brought on by his friend Crake to end the horror that humanity has made of itself. He is charged with shepherding Crake?s children who are derived from humans, engineered to live without suffering, malice or need for predation.

    To call this science fiction is a misnomer. It?s a grim, amoral fantasyland made vaguely credible by the unfathomable potential that laymen see in today?s biology and in the ills of our own society. Similarly, the characters are never fully made real, being nearly as incredulous as the premise. They are only hollow expressions of what Atwood seems to think is the logical extension of today?s culture and values?just as poorly justified as the scientific future that makes the society possible.

    The worst horrors of materialism and sexuality are put on display for us in this sort of false-color picture of our future. The great Crake manages to snuff it all out, perhaps permanently, and to create a nobler innocent form of humanity in the process. Genesis rewound. Would such a genius be ignorant of evolution-?the survival of the fittest--that this mechanism would destroy his creation? It?s doubtful. Did he ever show any disposition to hate the society that made him in the first place? Barely. These sorts of questions will plague the thoughtful reader thru ought the story, leaving it a limp, maddeningly inept fantasy.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura La Grange, IL, USA 03-13-04
    Laura La Grange, IL, USA 03-13-04 Member Since 2000
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    "Near Miss"

    This book contains a lot of very interesting ideas, but they are not woven together into a compelling story line. The end in particular left me feeling annoyed at having spent hours waiting for the book to develop on its early promise. With a good editor, this book could have been exceptional.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chryshien Monmouth Junction, NJ, USA 11-20-03
    Chryshien Monmouth Junction, NJ, USA 11-20-03
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    REVIEWS
    1
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    "What a Book!"

    This book captured my attention from beginning to end. The author provided just enough description and life to each main character and scene without overdoing it. I must say this book somewhat frightened me due to the (strong) possibility that the world could actually evolve into the type of place the author so thoroughly described.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg Granada Hills, CA, USA 09-24-03
    Greg Granada Hills, CA, USA 09-24-03
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
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    "Entirely intriguing!!"

    Even for the non sci-fi fan this book is captivating. Unpredicitble twists and turns, fantastically written characters. A wonderful read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yvonne cloquet, MN, USA 09-23-03
    Yvonne cloquet, MN, USA 09-23-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Oryx and Crake"

    Although I enjoyed the book it did not flow as well as it could have. Parts seemed disjointed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gavin mount hermon, CA, USA 09-18-03
    Gavin mount hermon, CA, USA 09-18-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Terrific"

    This will not disappoint - great book, and a great job by Campbell Scott in dramatizing it. I liked the way they flagged the ending, so the listener could "feel" the last page between their fingertips, which I find very rewarding. I can only imagine this, but I think the experience of listening perhaps would even equal the experience of actually reading it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ellen Spertus 09-16-03 Listener Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent science fiction"

    I almost didn't listen to this book, since I'd been disappointed by other Atwood novels mislabeled (in my opinion) as science fiction, such as The Handmaid's Tale and The Blind Assassin. Oryx and Crake is real science fiction -- fascinating and chilling -- with the added benefit of being written by a skilled novelist, giving far better characterization than usually seen in science fiction. Atwood is much less heavy-handed with her feminism than in her other novels, making this more effective and thought-provoking. The reading is excellent, conveying the sardonic humor and despair of the main character as well as the varied personalities of supporting characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom Saint James, MO, USA 08-14-03
    Tom Saint James, MO, USA 08-14-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Oryx and Crake"

    This a fantastic journey into the future from Margaret Atwood. The leap from present day into 20 or 30 years down the road is both logical and frightening. The 3 main characters are well developed throughout the book and when the get to the final chapters, you probably won't be able to stop listening. If you like science-fiction with a large dose of reality, you will like this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie Cayce, SC, USA 08-13-03
    Stephanie Cayce, SC, USA 08-13-03 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very good"

    Well, I truly did enjoy this book. It was weird, spooky, and rather fascinating. Good narration, great characters (though I don't mean great morals!), and good plot. Might be a little hard core--I found some of the stuff a little difficult to listen to because of how graphic it was, but overall very good. Didn't much like the ending--though I know you are supposed to use your imagination.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shawn Johns Island, SC, USA 08-12-03
    Shawn Johns Island, SC, USA 08-12-03 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Some Assembly Required..."

    This is an interesting book. It's an alarmist view of a future in which genetic engineering runs amok. I'm certain that the "no genetically engineered foods" activists will eat it up like candy.

    However, the book is disappointing in many ways. We are drawn into the this complex relationship between the three main characters and then left wanting when their relationship culiminates in a rather unfulfilling climax with only threadbare indications as to the underlying motivations of their actions.

    In the end the story just sort of trails off aimlessly, ultimately ending with a fizzle rather than a BANG. It's not a bad book but don't expect any grand revelations from Ms. Atwood. She obviously expects you to provide your own conclusions... Is this a literary choice, laziness or lack of imagination on the part of the author?

    You be the judge... as I said "Some assembly required..."

    Enjoy!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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