Book Review

Book Review: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

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After everything that’s happened, how can the world still be so beautiful? Because it is.

Oryx and Crake is a novel written by Canadian author Magaret Atwood first published in 2003. It’s a futuristic novel and one which was described by Atwood as a “speculative fiction”. Set in a post-apocalyptic, unnamed location, this story circles around the life of the protagonist Jimmy and how an epidemic swiped all human race.

It’s a rather long read and the storytelling goes back and forth to the past and present. The present is the post-apocalyptic world that Jimmy lives in with mutated, human-like creatures that he likes to call “Crakers”. In this life, Jimmy is called Snowman. The past is the life he led from his childhood up to the time when the epidemic started -back when everything was normal for Jimmy.

His past is our future for his past life is all surrounded by innovation, scientific discoveries and human integration. His father was a scientist who developed pigoons – pigs implanted with human stem cells to grow certain organs that can be profited from. During his adolescent years, he met Crake whom he’s had high regard for and have easily become his only closest friend. Just like any other teen-aged boys, Jimmy & Crake have discovered porn and in those discreet moments they shared watching these films did he first catch a glimpse of Oryx in a child pornography film. It would be years later before they actually meet in person but Oryx’s face was imprinted in Jimmy’s mind since that first sighting.

After finishing both their studies, Jimmy and Crake went on with their separate lives and career. Crake being the more intellectual one go on and achieved greater heights in the science and technology field, while Jimmy was left living a mediocre life. They would later work in the same company (where Crake was a big shot) and there, Jimmy will meet Oryx for the first time in person. In this company, Crake created a wonder drug called BlyssPluss which promotes health and happiness, it basically makes life easier. The pill was internationally released and was very much wanted by most nations of the world. Little did they know that this same pill will create the epidemic that will wipe human race and cause massive chaos in the world.

I love Margaret Atwood for her vision of the future depicted in this novel. I like that this book can be witty one second and emotional the next. I love that in spite of the theme of the book being all about the future and latest innovations, she still managed to appeal to our hearts and emotions with Jimmy and Oryx’s love story. I loved how characters were introduced in the story and how they evolved individually. I’d rate this a 3 out of 5 stars for it could get a bit boring especially on those parts where innovation/inventions is the main focal of the plot. They said this is a love story but I did not feel like it was, as a large percentage of it is just about scientific discoveries and human advancements. That being said, Atwood could have focused more on the story of Jimmy and Oryx to balance the theme.

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