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.