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Oryx and Crakeby Margaret Atwood
Reading a dystopian novel that so closely matches the current political and cultural situation seems like an exercise in depression, yet part of the truly visceral response to this novel seems due to the realization that it could so easily happen in real life. Oryx and Crake are two larger-than-life characters who are connected to Snowman, the narrator of this post-apocalyptic story. The unraveling of their story and the crisis at the culmination of it are a testament to Atwood's talent. Bleak, uncomfortable, and eerie, Oryx and Crake is a cautionary tale of science and progress. Atwood's Year of the Flood is a companion book, and, when read together, they show a deeply layered picture of a frightening world.
"The genre of doom-laden futuristic fiction has its share of classics ? such as H.G. Wells's The Time Machine, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, and George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four ? and these works are now joined by Margaret Atwood's splendid novel." Richard A. Posner, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)
Synopses & Reviews
A stunning and provocative new novel by the internationally celebrated author of The Blind Assassin, winner of the Booker Prize.
Margaret Atwood's new novel is so utterly compelling, so prescient, so relevant, so terrifyingly-all-too-likely-to-be-true, that readers may find their view of the world forever changed after reading it.
This is Margaret Atwood at the absolute peak of her powers. For readers of Oryx and Crake, nothing will ever look the same again.
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 humor, 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.
"[I]ngenious and disturbing....A landmark work of speculative fiction, comparable to A Clockwork Orange, Brave New World, and Russian revolutionary Zamyatin's We. Atwood has surpassed herself." Kirkus Reviews
"Towering and intrepid....Atwood does Orwell one better." New Yorker
"Set in a future some two generations hence, Oryx and Crake can hold its own against any of the 20th century's most potent dystopias — Brave New World, 1984, The Space Merchants — with regard to both dramatic impact and fertility of invention, while it leaves such lesser recent contenders as Paul Theroux and Doris Lessing in the dust." Washington Post
"Atwood has long since established herself as one of the best writers in English today, but Oryx and Crake may well be her best work yet.... Brilliant, provocative, sumptuous and downright terrifying." Baltimore Sun
"A book too marvelous to miss." San Diego Union-Tribune
"Rigorous in its chilling insights and riveting in its fast-paced 'what if' dramatization, Atwood's superb novel is as brilliantly provocative as it is profoundly engaging." Booklist
"[R]iveting, disturbing....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." Publishers Weekly
"Her shuddering post-apocalyptic vision of the world . . . summons up echoes of George Orwell, Anthony Burgess and Aldous Huxley. . . . Oryx and Crake [is] in the forefront of visionary fiction." Seattle Times
“Brilliantly constructed. . . . Jimmy and Crake grip like characters out of Greek tragedy. . . . Atwood herself is one of our finest linguistic engineers. Her carefully calibrated sentences are formulated to hook and paralyse the reader.” Daily Telegraph
“Atwood does not disappoint.” Dallas Morning News
“Biting, black humor and absorbing storytelling.... Atwood entices.” USA Today
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.
About the Author
Margaret Atwood is the author of more than thirty-five works of fiction, poetry, and essays, published in more than forty countries. Her most recent works include the Booker Prize-winning novel The Blind Assassin and Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing. Ms. Atwood lives in Toronto.
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