Thursday, February 24, 2011

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (CBR-III #12)

Cannonball Read III: Book #12/52
Published: 2003
Pages: 374 (4,479 total so far)
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

This is the second Margaret Atwood book I've read (the first was The Handmaid's Tale) and I seem to have the same reaction to her books. The premise sounds promising, but I keep putting it off. When I finally get around to reading it, it starts off slow and throws you right in the middle of some world you know nothing about. The rest of the book slowly gives you the bigger picture until it abruptly ends with no real resolution. At the beginning, I want to give up, but by the end I am completely drawn in and end up loving it.

Oryx and Crake is oddly named because the title characters are actually secondary characters. The main character (our narrator) is a man called Snowman. He lives on a post-apocalyptic earth with a group of genetically modified people he calls "Crakers".

The entire book is mostly flashbacks of Snowman (back when he was known as Jimmy). Jimmy grew up on a Compound where his parents worked at splicing animals together and doing various other experiments for financial gain. Most of the rest of the world lives in the pleeblands, where crime runs rampants. We follow Snowman through his life and his relationships with his best friend Crake and his lover Oryx as he uncovers for us the horrifying truth as to who the Crakers are and why there are no more humans.

I don't want to give too much away, because the beauty of this book really lies on how everything is eventually brought together in the end. It's a little slow at first, but once I got into it a little further, I couldn't put it down.

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