Tuesday, 22 October 2013
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Wow, what a book! Oryx and Crake had me captivated from the opening chapter and honestly, I was simply stunned by just how good and clever it was. I could not read it fast enough and I couldn't stop thinking about the dystopian society Atwood had created, even when I wasn't actually reading it. Take my word for it, this is an amazing, amazing book.
What makes it so good is that Atwood combines the cleverness of her dystopian society and apocalypse with a fast moving plot (that's only revealed in fragments) and interesting characters. Little clues are sprinkled throughout the chapters and it's only when you get near the end and everything comes together that you realise just how clever the whole thing is. There's a lot of dystopia around at the moment, but you'll be hard pressed to beat the dystopian society that Atwood creates. I can believe that bio-technology will lead to us altering the genetic make-up of different creatures and even creating new ones altogether. The role of the internet in society has been carried to the extreme, to the point where live executions, assisted suicide and child pornography are all readily available. As sad as it is, this isn't too much of a stretch to believe either. I can also believe that the privileged classes would increasingly segregate themselves in a more violent world, leaving the poorer elements of society to suffer in isolated areas. Atwood's dystopia is mighty depressing, but it's just believable enough to make it genuinely scary.
Crake is a fabulous character too. We see him through Jimmy's rather gullible, easily led eyes, so the clues to his real personality and motivations are few and minor. Jimmy is a good main character in the sense that he is easy to relate to, as he isn't a distant genius like Crake. Although Oryx doesn't necessarily add too much to the plot, the information about her past is fascinating and helps to build up our vision of the society.
What I am basically saying is that if you haven't read this book, you need to! It took me two days and I would have done it in one, given the opportunity. I have already informed my husband that I will be most disappointed if The Year of the Flood and Madaddam are not in my stocking come Christmas Day! Go and read this book!
Source: Personal Copy
First Published: 2003
Score: 5 out of 5