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Oryx and Crake

by

Oryx and Crake Cover

 

Staff Pick

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.
Recommended by Dianah, Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"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

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"[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

Review:

"Towering and intrepid....Atwood does Orwell one better." New Yorker

Review:

"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

Review:

"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

Review:

"A book too marvelous to miss." San Diego Union-Tribune

Review:

"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

Review:

"[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

Review:

"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

Review:

“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

Review:

“Atwood does not disappoint.” Dallas Morning News

Review:

“Biting, black humor and absorbing storytelling.... Atwood entices.” USA Today

Synopsis:

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 23 comments:

Kathryn Linthicum, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by Kathryn Linthicum)
I know that this book has been out for a while, but I just discovered it. I'm a total dystopian fangirl, and Oryx and Crake definitely stood out in my mind as one of the best I have ever read. I love the combination of science, psychology, and imagination that creates the world. Already I'm devouring the second book in the MaddAdams trilogy. I can't seem to get this book out of my head, in all of the best ways. I would say more, but I'm not into spoilers. Definitely the best book I read in 2012.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Zulaikha, December 21, 2012 (view all comments by Zulaikha)
One of the (many) things that has always struck me as ridiculous about the concept of creationism - sorry, sorry, "intelligent design" - is the idea that an infinitely kind and intelligent god designed human beings, and yet this is the best he could do. Give me some ultimate power, and I could design a better species. One not so prone to runny noses and cancer, for starters. One where the trachea and esophagus don't share an opening - that might cut down on that pesky "choking" thing. And, you know, maybe weed out those genes for sickle-cell anemia, autism, SIDS, and myopia. That's just off the top of my head, and I'm far from being infinitely kind or intelligent.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
Penni4, May 5, 2012 (view all comments by Penni4)
I Love this book. So much that I am reading it again and cannot wait for the 3rd book in the series to be finished and released. Read Dianah's Staff Pick of this book it is a good depiction of the story that lies ahead. Do you like dystopian novels? Do yo want to be entertained and also slightly frightened by the closeness to reality it could be? Get this book now and then get Year of The Flood.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 23 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385721677
Author:
Atwood, Margaret
Publisher:
Anchor Books
Subject:
General
Subject:
Science Fiction - General
Subject:
New york (state)
Subject:
Science fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Science / General
Subject:
Science Fiction and Fantasy-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20040331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
8.06x5.22x.85 in. .62 lbs.

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Related Subjects

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Featured Titles » Literature
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Oryx and Crake New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$15.95 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Anchor Books - English 9780385721677 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

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.

"Review A Day" by , "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." (read the entire New Republic review)
"Review" by , "[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."
"Review" by , "Towering and intrepid....Atwood does Orwell one better."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "A book too marvelous to miss."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "[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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , “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.”
"Review" by , “Atwood does not disappoint.”
"Review" by , “Biting, black humor and absorbing storytelling.... Atwood entices.”
"Synopsis" by , 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.
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