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.
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.
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.
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 :-)
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 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.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
Nobody does melancholy like Atwood, along with pathetic sad and depressed people. A lot of the book is a guy in the future laying around remembering his depressed mother. Genetics plays a big role in the book, but it is not exciting genetics, it's things we should not have done or shouldn't do. Atwood is a brilliant writer, but she depresses me to the point of boredom in this book. Brings up some very important questions as mankind continues to develop genetically. What should we do and what should we not do? If you like sad, sad movies, you might love this.
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.
Richard Hammond: "Welcome to Jurassic Park!" ...
Dr. Ian Malcolm: "God help us we're in the hands of engineers." ..."Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could they didn't stop to think if they should."
Oryx & Crake is like looking at our world through a horribly warped window -- corporate communities, bioengineering, tissue regeneration, and wild hybrids like *pigoons*, *rackunks*, *wolvogs*, and the delicious *chickienobs* (if you've eaten chicken nuggets...you never will again). Atwood again makes a powerful eloquent statement that won't sit well with all readers. Reminiscent of reading Brave New World, Robinson Crusoe, The Last Man, and Matheson surely must have read this book to write his I Am Legend. The ending, so problematic to readers, reminded me of the last scene in Planet of the Apes -- adapted from the French novel by Pierre Boulle -- an impactful scene that left more questions than answers.
I'm convinced that what Atwood has in her office, next to her typewriter and pads of paper, that no other author has is a crystal ball. Written in 2003 (and short-listed for the Booker award) this novel still is frighteningly accurate and prophetic, and if you don't think so just research GMO's, *Frankenfoods*, global warming, or even dig into the Monsanto company (which seems to be represented here with *OrganInc Farms*). I found that the advantage to reading this book 10 yrs. after it was published is being able to read so many good reviews, ranging from 5* to 1*, and putting them in perspective. This is a novel that will impact people very differently, and while it wasn't my favorite Atwood book, it was intriguing and left me looking at the world differently, and I do recommend to readers that like a bleak, but intelligent apocalyptic experience. Thought-provoking look at science run totally amok, with a healthy dose of Freud's Eros and Thanatos thrown in just to mess with your head.
Dr. Ian Malcolm: ..."The complete lack of humility for nature that's being displayed here is staggering."
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