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Oryx And Crake (The Maddaddam Trilogy) Paperback – 29 Aug 2013
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The writing is spare. The structure is tight. The observation of the human condition is both profound and impish. Character is crucial. The issues are huge and we feel the weight of them. Finally, it leaves the reader on a cliff-edge the like of which I have never encountered elsewhere. It was nominated for the Man Booker. I think it should have won (Anita Mason Guardian)
The outrageous imagination of Margaret Atwood has never been better. Dark, witty, scary and very credible, this is a mystery, an adventure story, a page-turner and a brilliant novel. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize.See all Product description
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The narrator is good at separating the character voices and is easy to understand, though I did find his voice for Oryx a little irritating.
The plot is brilliant once you get into the world Atwood creates. Initially I found it slow to get started but all the detail in the beginning is important to the story later. I found certain parts gripping, like when Snowman gets trapped in the tower after the storm - so much so that I found myself loitering outside work to hear what happens next. It made me really want to start reading the second book straight away!
I love the way that the novel flit's back and forth in time, threading the whole story together from both ends. The characters are great and well written - it centers around Jimmy/Snowman, but all other characters are well explored and tyou get a real feeling for how & why they end up as/where they do. The descriptions of the future presented here are disturbing, but also it is easy to see how you could get to there from here. This is presented as a credible near-future vision, which makes it all the more scary.
So, I liked it very much and I recommend it. I will add that this is the first of a trilogy and I have to say that the second book MaddAddam did not grab me quite as much, but worth giving a go also if you want to continue the story (albeit via a different set of characters).
Oryx and Crake reads like an alien play set in world of ecological and human devastation where the results of scientific experiments threaten survivors. It is the most abstract book of the trilogy. When I first read it, Margaret Atwood was still working on the second and final parts. I remember not being able to wait until I could follow up on this strange, cruel story. We don't know much about the world in this book, other than it has become hostile and frightening but right from the start we do identify and care for Snowman, the main character and the human condition he portrays. It's one version of our future and I itched to know how we got there. If you like science fiction and can suspend your need to have a full explanation as to why each thing happens, do read this book. The issues Margaret Atwood raises are significant and relevant to our lives today - some you'll find more difficult to accept than others but Atwood's writing is so seductive, she can challenge us and make us think about what is happening in society whilst immersing us into an absorbing fictional world
However as with Angela Carter I have a problem relaxing with the book and loving its voice as the style is a knotted rope of nouns that makes me feel like I am reading German and TV advertising or worse: a German TV advert! It is noun after noun, with phonetic catchiness ("Rejoovenate" etc) which to a European other language native speaker looks like an ugly barrier but also like computer programming code. Sci FI used to be beautifully written and have longer - deeper-meaning bearer- sentences but since the US TV communication mode took over all forms of oral communication in English speaking countries, most sci fi and dystopian futuristic novels are written like a script skeleton, like a bare structure for a literary writer to re write. I am aware that after reading Primo Levi, Aldous Huxley, Arthur Rimbaud and Alain Fournier and also the great Rene Barjavel, contemporary English -language sci FI or fantasy literature looks brutally or economically written when in fact Atwood has as much talent as all these writers, it is just the literary standards of the market that dictate this (to me, dry and short) style.