Title: Oryx and Crake
Author: Margaret Atwood
Summary (Source): 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.
Review: Oryx and Crake started out really slow for me. Whether that was my reading slump or a fault of the book, I couldn’t tell you, but the first 100 or so pages felt like they dragged. There is quite a bit of setup to the story, which on most days wouldn’t seem slow, but in the middle of a reading slump seem tedious. In order to show how Crake became the mastermind of some sort of crazy world, you have to start with Jimmy and Crake as kids, and that part of the story is really more about setting up what kind of society these characters are functioning in.
But once the book got some momentum and began to explore the central relationships of the book — Jimmy/Snowman and Oryx and Crake — it starts to play on Atwood’s biggest strength, her ability to absolutely nail writing about people and how they connect with each other. Although Oryx and Crake is a sort of sci-fi/dystopia book, the focus on people and their relationships was the part I loved most.
One of the reasons I admire Atwood so much as a writer is that she writes books that have stellar plot lines that suck you in and won’t get go and that make you feel smarter having finished them. She balances that excitement/intelligence line so well, and Oryx and Crake is no exception. I can’t wait to grab a copy of the second book in the Madd Addam trilogy, The Year of the Flood.
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