Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam Trilogy #1)
By Margaret Atwood
Summary: 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.
Source: I purchased a paperback
I read Oryx and Crake to fill the category in the Eclectic Reader Challenge for a novel that was shortlisted for the Man Booker Award. To be quite honest, I don’t typically enjoy books in that category because they are most certainly guaranteed to be boring and pretentious to me. Or wordy for the sake of being wordy. I’m just not a big fan of Man Booker Award Winning Novels even though I’m no stranger to thought provoking novels. But, like I anticipated, I didn’t enjoy Oryx and Crake. The premise was interesting, but the story was jumbled and a bit tough to get into.
I got the point of the book and the references and satire that the author intended. The overall plot was interesting, but a tad predictable in a few ways and a bit over the top. I felt like the fact that Crake was a violent and ingenious maniac was clear in early scenes, yet there were dozens of examples that served only to reinforce the point and felt like a waste of time. The science was extremely far fetched. The depravity of society was quite awful, but there were so many scenes depicting gruesome and horrible activities just to prove that fact over and over again.
Margaret Atwood is a hit or miss author for a lot of people and I think I’m in the minority when I say I’m not a big fan of this particular novel. It’s not that I miss the point, I just don’t think it’s a brilliant piece of storytelling. There’s an arrogance in the way she writes and I feel like if I said I didn’t like it, people would just assume I’m too dull or short sighted to truly appreciate it, as if any critique is a misunderstanding. One of the constant criticisms that dystopias receive is that they are so far fetched and ridiculous (which isn’t necessarily true), yet this is somehow a brilliant dystopia despite being even more far fetched than most dystopian novels.
Despite the many problems the world has, I am not so pessimistic as to think that the public executions and torture porn that the characters gaze at 24/7 online is in any way a cautionary tale about the dangers of the internet or the awfulness of society now. Yes, people are gross, but I just see this book, if it’s a critique on society than it’s a bit too far fetched and pessimistic for me and I’m a big fan of apocalyptic and dystopian societies. I didn’t connect with the characters or the story or even the overall message.