Top positive review
42 people found this helpful
on 20 May 2003
This is the first time I've read a book by Margaret Atwood (my interest piqued by the intriguing cover) and I'm pleased to say it won't be my last.
This is a book that grabs your attention from the very first sentence and never lets go, dragging you further and further into the nightmare world of an all to possible near future. Who is the Snowman? Why is he alone? Who/what are the Children of Crake? The answers Atwood reveals slowly, as she describes a world not unlike our own - apart from the pigoons, wolvogs and rakunks and the fact that the midday sun can burn the skin from your back. The geological world has changed but the human world certainly hasn't. If anything, it's got worse. Technologies such as the Internet, GM food and genetic engineering are taken to their logical and depressing conclusions. Anyone familiar with 'Transmetropolitan' won't be surprised by the themes explored.
In terms of 'lone survivor in a hostile environment' genre, 'Oryx & Crake' shares similarities with 'I Am Legend' - Snowman (short for Abominable Snowman), sees himself as a creature of myth; the last human left alive. But unlike Matheson's book, the explicit reasons for the final catastrophe are revealed in a horrifying climax, the causes of which are slowly hinted at as the story unfolds through Snowman's memories.
Atwood's skill lies in taking what is merely theory now and having it treated as commonplace by her characters. The horror of the book lies in the fact that it could happen. In some instances events have already overtaken fiction and the seeds of our (possible), destruction have already been sown.
Not a preachy, or po-faced book by any means (there's a surprising amount of humour) but certainly one that makes you stop and think, with characters and events that will haunt you long after the final page. Thoroughly recommended.