Oryx and Crake (Paperback)
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Pigs might not fly but they are strangely altered. So, for that matter, are wolves and racoons. A man, once named Jimmy, lives in a tree, wrapped in old bedsheets, now calls himself Snowman. The voice of Oryx, the woman he loved, teasingly haunts him. And the green-eyed Children of Crake are, for some reason, his responsibility. 'In Jimmy, Atwood has created a great character: a tragic-comic artist of the future, part buffoon, part Orpheus. An adman who's a sad man; a jealous lover who's in perpetual mourning; a fantasist who can only remember the past' - Independent 'Gripping and remarkably imagined' - London Review of Books
Virago Press Ltd
Publisher and industry reviews
'Atwood at her best - dark, dry, scabrously witty, yet moving and studded with flashes of pure poetry. Her gloriously inventive brave new world is all the more chilling because of the mirror it holds up to our own' Lisa Appignanesi, The Independent Magazine 'Atwood herself is one of our finest linguistic engineers. Her carefully calibrated sentences are formulated to hook and paralyse the reader' Saturday Telegraph ' Oryx and Crake is a parable, an imaginative text for the antiglobalisation movement' Observer 'enlivening, deadpan wit and the mix of empathy and insight she always brings to her characters... Saturated in science, the novel is simulatneously alive with literary resonances... This superlatively gripping and remarkably imagined book joins The Handmaid's Tale in the distinguished company of novels that look ahead to warn us about the results of human short-sightedness.' Sunday Times 'A success and a breakthrough ... Who would have guessed she could do male teenagers so brilliantly, or produce such a fast-paced thriller? And that she could so smoothly integrate these effects with a tightly worked out and intellectually gripping sci-fi mystery?' Elaine Showalter, London Review of Books 'A fable of genetic engineering set in an indeterminate future. One of the book's strengths is the way in which this future only gradually comes to seem less like our own time, and the experiments that result in global catastrophe seem plausibly connected to what we read in newspapers...Atwood has an advertiser's eye for naming, and her coinings make the novel glitter.' Erica Wagner, The Times 'A complex and effective exploration of a futuristic nightmare.' Boyd Tonkin, The Independent 'The Canadian master's most successful venture into the near future since The Handmaid's Tale.' Fiachra Gibbons, The Guardian 'A novel that absolutely sizzles with ideas ... A writer of supreme literary intelligence.' Nigel Reynolds, The Telegraph 'a triumph of intelligence and imagination working in sizzling cooperation' - Peter Kemp, Sunday Times 'an intellectually refined hybrid of philosophical ideas (subtle, Beckett-like intimations of language itself shuddering to a halt) and prophetic vision, full of chimerical beasts and feverish imaginings in which we see our own world through a glass darkly' Sunday Times 'Troubling and lyrical, Atwood stays faithful to her trademark futuristic infatuations, while neatly critiquing the status quo.' Daily Telegraph '"In the beginning, there was chaos..." Margaret Atwood's chilling new novel Oryx and Crake moves beyond the futuristic fantasy of her 1985 bestseller The Handmaid's Tale to an even more dystopian world, a world where language--and with it anything beyond the merest semblance of humanity--has almost entirely vanished. Snowman may be the last man on earth, the only survivor of an unnamed apocalypse. Once he was Jimmy, a member of a scientific elite; now he lives in bitter isolation and loneliness, his only pleasure the watching of old films on DVD. His mind moves backwards and forwards through time, from an agonising trawl through memory to relive the events that led up to sudden catastrophe (most significantly the disappearance of his mother and the arrival of his mysterious childhood companions Oryx and Crake, symbols of the fractured society in which Snowman now finds himself, to the horrifying present of genetic engineering run amok. His only witnesses, eager to lap up his testimony, are "Crakers", laboratory creatures of varying strengths and abilities, who can offer little comfort. Gradually the reasons behind the disaster begin to unfold as Snowman undertakes a perilous journey to the remains of the bubble-dome complex where the sinister Paradice Project collapsed and near-global devastation began. This, Atwood's 11th novel, confirms her as one of our most contemporary novelists. Darkly humorous and icily prescient, Oryx and Crake shows a writer deeply concerned with the stark moral issues facing the human race, and accords a glimpse of a future that lies all too uneasily within reach.' - Catherine Taylor, AMAZON.CO.UK
UK Kirkus review
In this book, Atwood returns to the territory she explored so effectively in The Handmaid's Tale, only this time the threat is much greater. In a future not that far distant from our own, the consequences of man's intervention in the natural world have become all too apparent. The precise nature of recent events remains unclear for much of the book but from early on it is apparent that some kind of biotechnological disaster has occurred, leaving the narrator, Snowman, who in another world was known as Jimmy, as possibly the last human on earth. But Snowman is not alone, sharing with the mysterious green-eyed Children of Crake the land on which the tree that is now his home stands. The book alternates Snowman's bleak present-day existence, foraging for food and clad only in a sheet, with scenes from his past, showing how the dream of a brave new world went horribly wrong. It's also a love story: of Snowman's yearning for his long-vanished mother; for Oryx, a woman he first saw on a child porn internet channel, and for his brilliant but dangerous best friend, Crake. Growing up in a compound provided by his father's employers and designed to keep out the undesirables who live in the surrounding 'pleeblands', Jimmy finds life cold and confusing but his exhibitionism and humour earn him a few casual friends and when Crake joins his school he feels a new sense of belonging, although it is a relationship that is to have deadly consequences. Atwood is at her brilliant best when conjuring up these all-too-believable scenarios in worlds apparently only one small step away from our own. She clearly relishes the type of inventiveness required here, conjuring up a world of strange creatures and products, including the once useful and occasionally cute pigoons and rakunks, the BlyssPluss pill and the potentially sinister computer game Extinctathon. It makes uncomfortable but compelling reading. (Kirkus UK)
About the author
Margaret Atwood is the author of more than thirty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. The Handmaid's Tale, Cat's Eye and Alias Grace have all been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and now Oryx and Crake for the 2003 Booker prize. She has won many literary prizes in other countries.
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