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3.7 out of 5 stars
Oryx and Crake: A Novel
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Simply put, I loved ORYX AND CRAKE! Despite Atwood's grim futuristic plot of 'science gone mad' I found it difficult to put this book down. The first person narration of Snowman (Jimmy) jumps between the present (a bleak world existing primarily of him and the Crakers) and the past (events leading up to the destruction of humanity) as the details of the plot are uncovered. I most enjoyed Atwood's fresh writing and awe-inspiring imagination. Although I am not a fan of the science fiction genre I loved reading about Snowman's interpretation of the end of society. Of course ORYX AND CRAKE contains many cautionary tales against gene splicing, corporations, and the power of the Internet (why aren't there any 'happy' books of the future?). Despite Atwood's bleak and dark vision of the future there is much to extract, as science can't eliminate human love and desire. The relationships between Crake, Jimmy, and Oryx are mysterious and convoluted and I wanted to learn more. I appreciated Atwood's ability to tell this tale without filling in all the details for the reader. Much is left to the reader's imagination and I wasn't annoyed by this at all. Without risking giving away anymore of the plot I will end this review by stating that I was left greatly satisfied by ORYX AND CRAKE. I remains a gem on my bookshelf.
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If there were more than 5 stars available, this book would have received all of them.

For those readers who are seeking identity with a given character or are needing each character to be fully developed, this is not a reality based book. You have to realize that this is a text of symbolism, not a 'fact and event' piece of fiction and, being so, it is what the text fully symbolizes and not the depth of the characters that really matters. The author has put out all the necessary factors to not only have this be a riveting story in its own right, but a possible foreshadowing of the future which may lie before us. The elements are the artificial defining of citizenry through intellectual abilities, the physical vs. rational potions of society, the power and control of the drug and biological companies and what happens when a mentally imbalanced person is placed in administrative charge of reality.

The book will leave the astute reader with a series of questions that he/she must ask about the life they see around them. Are we doing everything possible to not put humanity in a similar situation? How would I have done things differently if I were the Snowman? and What qualities did the Crakers exhibit that should be encouraged in our society? These are but a few. Read and enjoy..........
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on November 27, 2009
"Oryx and Crake" is an amazing, thought provoking piece of literature. This book was wonderful not only for its addictive plot, but also for the philosophical questions it raised regarding an 'ideal' human nature. I had read "The Year of The Flood" previous to this and thought that the book was an absolutely amazing piece of driven, purposeful literature, but "Oryx and Crake" is truly the better of the two books. Initially, I thought that "Oryx and Crake" was not going to compare to "The Year of The Flood" because the latter book seemed so intricate and weaving, but as more was revealed to the nature of 'Paradice' and the creation of a 'perfect' being, I found that "Oryx and Crake" addressed pressing issues of existence more contemplatively, though, admittedly, not directly. If you are looking for a book where everything is black and white, this is not it, and in literature things rarely are. Read this book if you wish to be intellectually challenged, but at the same time wish to read something that isn't dry or out of touch with contemporary ethical and moral issues.
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on June 25, 2003
This is a highly creative and fascinating novel from Atwood, and quite a departure from her previous works. In this great exercise of speculative fiction, biotech has run amuck and the worst unintended consequences have come to fruition. One man's megalomaniac drive to improve the human condition through biotech alteration has led to the downfall of civilization, with rampaging viruses and feral designer animals destroying a dysfunctional corporate-controlled society. Atwood is clearly using this far-fetched but still ominous storyline to comment on the biotech industry and the desires of a few profiteers to control the biological destinies of millions of people, plus the coming domination of human rights by corporate profiteering in general. Sometimes this commentary is a bit heavy-handed, but the story remains fascinating and chilling. Atwood's writing style is poetic and spooky, while her main characters are fully developed but remain intriguingly mysterious. This will prove to be one of the most haunting, stirring, and innovative new novels of the year.
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on June 23, 2003
I believe that novel is good when I get to the final page and let out a wistful sigh. A novel is great when I read voraciously until the last chapter and then purposefully set the book aside, prolonging the end of our relationship for just a few more hours. That is precisely what I did with Oryx and Crake.
There is something about a Margaret Atwood novel that grips me. Her imagery is superb. She writes sentences that are so musical, so perfectly picked, that I find myself reading lines over and over, savoring every word. Her pose is gripping and poetic
To date I have read five of her books, including The Handmaid's Tale, which I still consider to be her finest. I do not see Oryx and Crake as sequel to the Handmaid's Tale, but it is an equally compelling story. In a time filled with Monkey Pox, SARS and instant gratification, it easy to envision a future that looks much like Jimmy's world (before he becomes Snowman). I would argue that if some readers find some of the book's action predictable, then Ms. Atwood has done her job. A dystopia should feel like an inevitable conclusion, as it is based on the conditions of the present leading toward frighteningly pessimistic future.
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on April 29, 2004
Let me begin by saying I read a lot. And most of the books I read have been largely forgotten a week after the last page has been turned.
I don't think this one will be.
ORYX AND CRAKE is a dystopian tale set at some unspecified date not long after 2020. Atwood does a fantastic job of extrapolating trends of today: fear of growing old; genetic manipulation; crass commercialism; the divide between rich and poor; a myriad of others--all woven into something that is by turns alarming, depressing, darkly funny, even tear-jerking in places. You won't soon forget this book, and the more imaginative will suffer nightmares.
Many have compared this to A HANDMAID'S TALE. The two are alike only on the surface, and, not to malign what many consider to be Atwood's finest work, I believe ORYX AND CRAKE packs more affect and effect into its punch.
Read this book.
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on January 21, 2013
Shortly before "Oryx and Crake" I've read "Player Piano" by Kurt Vonnegut; the setting of both novels is quite similar, but where Vonnegut draws the picture in, say, 2 dimensions, Atwood makes it full 3 dimensions, and with colors and smell and music. Vonnegut gets cynical and sarcastic and that doesn't help him in getting the real human nature out. But Atwood is not led away by her own problems or emotions; she seems to actually love human beings. And thus she got the human condition so right, it's even scary. I can't agree more - this is not 'science fiction', this is speculative fiction. It's things as they already are, only helped a bit into the future.
Also, it's impossible not to fall in love with either Oryx or Crake. I think I fell in love with both of them.
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I loved this book. I'm not sure why people tend to give it a bad rating or bad review. Sure, it has flaws, but like every other piece of literature Atwood has written, it is beautiful, it is stark, and it is a well written book. I loved the characters, who were unique to me, and I didn't at all find the plot stale. As a "what if" novel, know what you're getting into before you buy this book; You might not like it because it's NOT like other Atwood books, but that's precisely why I LOVED it; She shows a depth here that other authors cannot pull off. If you dont like these kinds of books, then dont buy these kinds of books, but don't blame Atwood for writing a terrific sci-fi "what if" novel.

[...]
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on March 31, 2010
This book was recommended to me by a friend, and I LOVED it! Atwood is at her best in this original piece of literature. Set in a pseudo-post-apocalyptic setting, this novel is filled with dark humour and a plot line with twists and turns. The characters are well developed, and even the less likeable characters are understood.
FYI- this is not a happy summer beach read- if you want an interesting, seemingly not too-far-off themed read, then this is the book for you. If happy is what you're looking for then DO NOT read this book.
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on June 18, 2003
I've never read any of Atwood's books before but I've read plenty of science fiction. Usually others depict the future as having complex technology, androids, etc but this book is quite different. I like how her future is more of a "improvment in DNA" kind of future. Well this review is pointless but all I can say is, this is different from any book I've ever read and I've enjoyed it tremendously. :)
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