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.
"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)
Atwood does her usual great job of not only telling a gripping tale, but of cautioning us about the costs of technology in terms of not only the effect on our planet, but also on our society. I haven't been this concerned about our future since I read Nature's End back in the 80's.
The story takes place in two times, one the "present" day, sometime in the not too distant future, and the other outlining how things got to where they are. The latter is told very close to a linear fashion, but Atwood mixes things up to match up with the present day story.
Campbell Scott (son of George C.) is disarmingly laid back in his reading, but I felt he captured the inner thinkings of Jimmy/Snowman perfectly. He is a very consistent reader, important as the book has several repeating themes.
I liked the book well enough that I stopped listening about 1.5 hours from the end, and started over to hear it with my wife on a recent car trip. It held up incredibly well, and in fact I found my enjoyment increasing as I was able to note foreshadowing I'd missed in the first listen.
Some have said the ending fizzles, but in truth the back story comes to a very satisfactory conclusion, while the current story ends with a moral dilemma. Some don't like books that don't end with a tidy bow, but I'm not among them. I was quite pleased with the ending overall, the only book I've read recently with an equally satisfying ending was Gaiman's American Gods.
The writing is tight and consistent, the reader does a great job, and the story is tense and rich in plot and characters. Highly recommended for anyone who likes a good story or is concerned about the costs of genetic engineering.
I am an attorney and author in Jefferson City, MO.
Every once in a while an author comes along with an exceptional command of the language and a full understanding of what it takes to create the future based on threads of the past. This is one such book. Drawing on the rapidly evolving science of genetics and genetic research, Oryx and Crake revolves around a time in the future when the world has gone suddenly and powerfully wrong.
If you require an author to lay things out chronologically, be prepared to be disappointed. The book jumps its point of view from present to past, and often without a clear description of which is which. But it requires the listener to pay close attention.
The theme of the book is the basis for human and social interaction focusing on the relationship between sex and population, genetically engineered food and starvation. The subthemes running through the book (e.g., radical environmental groups) are almost as disturbing as the subject matter is interesting.
I loved this book, and I am not one to much like science fiction. But this book is as much a portrait of modern day corporate america as it is a projection of the future.
If you read through this book and are not engrossed and overcome at some point by the possibility of a world as described, then you are not paying close attention.
I thoroughly recommend this book.
Like many Canadians, I was "forced" to read Margaret Atwood books in high school. Sorry to say but I found her work boring, long-winded and depressing. It is also fair to say, Ms. Atwood does not like happy endings either.
I am thrilled to report Oryx and Crake is merely "depressing". The author succeeded in creating a realistic and rich image of the future gone bad. Depressing? Yes - as it should be.
Several reviewers have noted that the "flashbacks" in this book were distracting. I found them facinating. My challenge thoughout was to answer (as early as I could): "how did things get this way?".
Other have complained that the ending was weak. Perhaps it could have been more complete. But maybe the book ended on the first page. The future of the protagonistic "Snowman" may be less important than his legacy that will realized through his adopted "children".
I give the book 4/5 because of all the Atwood books I was forced to read 20 years ago. One mark off for past pain and suffering :-)
A brilliant work of science fiction by Margaret Atwood. This story is a future vision based on the evolution of genetic sciences. It revolves around two childhood friends, Jimmy and Glenn, later "Snowman" and "Crake," and their mutual obsession with a beautiful Asian girl, named "Oryx." The character development is superb, particularly that of Jimmy/Snowman, and Oryx. Every word in this story is important; there are no wasted moments. This novel elevates the form of science fiction to a new level. I highly recommend this audiobook.
This is truly Atwood at her finest. I typically prefer to read such gems curled up on the couch, but I'm very glad I picked this one in audio format. Campbell Scott's reading is perfect, bewitching the reader right into the story.
I love Margaret Atwood as an author and was looking forward to reading another one of her books, even though the book title seemed a little odd. Also, the subject matter seemed a bit of a departure, but then I remembered The Handmaids Tale -- a fictional account of the future – and it is one of my very favorite books by Margaret Atwood
When I finished with Oryx and Crake, I was going to give it 4 stars, even though I loved it. However, it's been about 4 weeks since I finished and I STILL think of it's contents and portrayal of the future – news stories I hear and read, speeches from officials, CEO’s, etc., all make me think about this book! I think about How This Could Really Happen and, in fact, it seems we are on our way already -- and that it's not a far fetched concept at all. I think it’s an important book to read and it’s enjoyable to boot. Anytime one thinks about a book or movie long after it’s over, it deserves the higher mark!
This is a dark and absorbing listen that calls to mind other poetic dystopias: Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy and The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk. I'll listen to it again. This is a book that haunts.
This is a well-written "end of the world as we know it" book that reminds me of 1950's science fiction. Those old sci-fi tales warned of the dangers of the new atomic age while this author envisions a future where genetic engineering has gone wild.
I don't object to the non-linear time line of the book and I don't agree with those that feel that the ending is a mystery. Careful readers will pick up on the big clue Atwood gives us at the end.
Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake is a grim, depressing tale of well laid plans and good intentions going horribly awry. Snowman / Jimmy narrates an account of multiple, unrelated genetic engineering attempts to improve man combined with unchecked global warming leading to unsustainability for the human race. Jimmy, who may be the last remaining human lives with "meta-humans" that represent various attempts to overcome increasingly hostile conditions, relates the history in a series of flashbacks. Jimmy chronicles all the missteps along the way that caused the eventual plague that brought mankind low. While Jimmy was not directly involved, he peripherally participated.
The sci-fi elements mostly relate to genetic engineering that forms the bulk of intentional human transformation. The broader theme of the tale is one of powerful technology colliding with more traditional human response to change. The Luddites and anti-Luddites combine in a toxic soup that spells disaster for mankind resulting a world populated with semi-intelligent, but physically adapted proto-humans and Jimmy. There is nothing upbeat about the tale; man's hubris is simply on display.
The narration is quite well done given that the whole story is itself written in the narration mode.
this is a great book, very well researched and presented. I remember when this first came out there was a web link to info regarding her research and it was rather disturbing how little she altered things. she said she took existing conditions, (like religion in Handmaid) and extrapolated some possible progressions in the near future regarding food and genetic engineering and the internet etc. She was rather accurate in some ways and this is a great book, with lots of excellent word play too regarding names of companies and games and websites and many related developments have actually occurred recently and are becoming of concern. best of the trilogy.
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