Msmurphybylaw's Reviews > Oryx and Crake

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
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's review
Oct 16, 10

it was ok
bookshelves: bioengineering, dysmyopia, library, cootsiewootsie
Read from September 14 to 21, 2010

I read Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood simultaneously which worked for me because they are companion pieces. They are written basically in the same time frame from different character's points of view. They are not sequels so they do not have to be read in any order. Some disagree. I could careless how you read them.

After shutting the book on Jimmy the Snowman saves the world, I ruminated for a few hours and wondered how could I find a dystopian story about the end of our world where slums and corporate compounds are separated by extremes and a new breed of humanoid has been developed to replace us ghastly humans so . . . mundane.
I realized pretty quickly why this story had very little energy; it lived in the superlative and its characters where extremes. Humanity and nature can be extreme, but we are built microscopically and interact through subtlety. This book is missing that. It is missing natural balance and human nuance.
Dystopia is messy and ugly and humans have fallen into marginalizing themselves, yes. The human condition can lend itself for some fantastic end-of-the-world reading, but what makes megalomaniac-scientists, child pornographers, human traffickers and sloth-gods interesting is that they interact with and struggle with marginal normal-every-day-Joes. These everyday humans do things that would conflict with the bad guys aforementioned. They are loving parents, teachers, accountants, librarians, truck drivers, crossing guards and loads of other people who still carry a torch for their loved ones, even if it is just a match stick. Not enough fire in this story to keep my attention.
Dystopia needs polarization to be effective but when carried to the extreme, it looses its struggle and passion, so this book was quite a let down.

I do realize that Atwood's was probably making a point that no one cared any more and that all of humanity had gone down the shitter. Are we really so bad? If so, how dismal and it was prosaically banal that I had to trudge through some near four hundred pages and not find a single marginally balanced character to reflect just how treacherous those nasty ones were. That is truly problematic for the story line isn't it? God save us all if Jimmy the Snowman is the only one left to save the day.
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Reading Progress

09/19/2010 page 224

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