Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction are some of my Literary Interests





Saturday, November 6, 2010

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood  (2003, 426 pages)

Oryz and Crake by Margaret Atwood  (1939, Canada) is the fourth  of her works that I have read and posted on so far.   I first read The Handmaid's Tale which like almost everyone else I loved.     Then I read her retake on the story of Odysseus from the point of view of his left at home wife, The Penelopiad.    I liked it a really lot but most bloggers were mixed in their reaction to it.     I then moved  onto one of her "normal" works of fiction, Cat's Eye.   I thought it was OK but had it been my first Atwood I would probably have waited a while to read more of her work.   
Oryz and Crake will not be every one's post apocalyptic  genetically engineered cup of  root bark tea.    We hope the tea will help us fight off the virus, released by accident from a research lab,  that has killed off almost all of humanity.     We found the ingredients scavenging through what was once a great city.     I agree with Mrs B of the Literary Stew who says it may be better to not know too much about this book and the world it depicts before you plunge into it.    E. L. Fay of This Book and I Could Be Friends has done a wonderful post on the book in which she explains enough of the plot action that will allow one to see if the book might interest them.

Some might find this book a little much.    Some might find it a little silly.  Some people are going to stop reading this book well before midpoint.    I think you have to enjoy post apocalyptic fiction and be happy to read a book and enjoy the beauty of the language without stressing too much over whether or not you have clear cognitive understanding of the plot action.     I really enjoyed the book for the skill with which Atwood constructed an alternative future earth.     The language of the book is very creative and imaginative.    There are lots of new earth creatures running around, lots of dangers and maybe a delight or two. If  Vienna sausages  made of soy beans that have been in the can twenty years after the expiration date sound like a great treat to you then you will be at home in the world of this novel.    One advice I would give new entrants into this world is to forget about having a pet dog!.    Oryz and Crake is part one of a planned trilogy.    The Year of the Flood (2009) is part two and part three has yet, as far as I know, to be written.   There is no sense of a cliff-hanger at the end of Oryz and Crake.     What the books have in common is that they are set in the same alternative future.   I have a copy of The Year of the Flood and hope to read it soon.    If you are looking for a first Atwood, then I would say read The Handmaid's Tale.  If you like that a lot and you like speculative fiction (meaning fiction set in a world based on Earth but altered somehow) then give Oryz and Crake a shot.    Before you read the book I also suggest you read the posts of Mrs B and E. L. Fay to get a further idea of what the book is like.  

Mel u

12 comments:

Suko said...

I have Oryx and Crake on my TBR shelf and plan on reading it in the not too distant future. I didn't realize it was part of a trilogy set in an alternative future until venturing here. Great review!

Jo said...

Interesting review! I actually like this book a lot, and have read it more than once (just thinking about it brings back the whole "bucket o'nubbins" phrase into my mind). But I agree that not everyone will love the book, even if they like other books by Atwood. The Robber Bride is another one by her that I've read many times -- but I never warmed to some of her other books.

Mystica said...

I've only read The Handmaids Tale and that kept me on the edge of my seat never knowing how it was going to turn! I'd like to take a shot at this. Thanks for the post.

Jessica said...

I really liked this one and I do have Year of the Flood on my shelf but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. Handmaids Tale was my first Atwood!

parrish lantern said...

I've just finished reading a short story of hers, called Homelanding which intrigued me enough to find out more & amazingly here you are with more. So I'm of to the library & thanks to yourself & the gods of serendipity.
Parrish.

Becky (Page Turners) said...

I love all things Atwood I have to admit. Some I like more than others, the handmaids tale didn't do it for ke but that might be becaus it was a set text at school. I loved oryx and crake but at times I found it a little frustrating becase I just really wanted to know what was happenng.

I recently finshed the year of the flood and I loved it, better than oryx and crake. I think it's worth reading them close together. By the time I'd read the year of the flood I UAE forgotten a lot of oryx and crake

Jenny said...

After I read Year of the Flood, I went back and read Oryx and Crake again. It is amazing how many little details are in each that inform the other. She's working on the third, which will focus on MaddAdam.

In my opinion, nobody does dystopia like Atwood. And Year of the Flood gets funnier as times get more desperate, which I wasn't expecting at all!

ds said...

I enjoyed Oryx and Crake very much, but it is tough to get me to not enjoy anything Margaret Atwood has written (although I agree with you about Cat's Eye). Did not know The Year of the Flood was part two of a trilogy, much less that this book was part one. Must find Flood directly!
Thank you for the review, Mel. Insightful and honest as always.

emeire said...

I enjoyed Oryx and Crake, but I prefer The Year of the Flood. Thing is, I read them at great interval and my plan is to read them both again just before the third one comes out.
I am a huge Atwood fan and I find her dystopias really good, yet, they are not my favourite Atwood novels. It is difficult to pick one but I would put The Blind Assassin on top of the list, probably followed by Alias Grace; fantastic reads (although it takes a little while to get into them)!
Em

emeire said...

I enjoyed Oryx and Crake, but I prefer The Year of the Flood. Thing is, I read them at great interval and my plan is to read them both again just before the third one comes out.
I am a huge Atwood fan and I find her dystopias really good, yet, they are not my favourite Atwood novels. It is difficult to pick one but I would put The Blind Assassin on top of the list, probably followed by Alias Grace; fantastic reads (although it takes a little while to get into them)!
Em

Avid Reader said...

Great review. Oryx and Crake was my first Atwood and I didn't love it. I later read The Haidmaid's Tale and I definitely wish I would have started there, it's wonderful!

SusieCat said...

When I listened to an interview with Atwood about Year of the Flood, the fact that it was closely related to Orxy and Crake was not mentioned, just that there were some characters in common (or maybe I missed that parat). Most trilogies are sequential, but the first two books of this one (and if the last is about MaddAdam it also) are about the same events seen from different perspectives. One should definitely read O&C first!