Lisa's Reviews > Oryx and Crake

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
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Mar 04, 11

bookshelves: fiction

Snowman is possibly the last human on Earth, living among the ruins of humanity with strange people known as the Crakers. However, Snowman’s life wasn’t always this way; he used to be Jimmy, an ordinary man living an ordinary life. As Jimmy sets out to scavenge for more supplies, he thinks back on how the world got this way; about his best friend Crake, and his own role in the end of the world.

As Jimmy reflects on his life, the reader learns of a terrifying world dominated by massive biotech companies. The industry has abandoned all sense of ethics, caring only about short term profits with no thought on the rest of humanity or long-term impacts. The privileged employees of these companies large live in luxurious gated communities, while the general population faces disastrous climate change, food shortages, and overpopulation.

Jimmy grows up within the corporate compounds to become just as heartless as the companies themselves. Along with his best friend, nicknamed “Crake,” Jimmy amuses himself with horrifying websites depicting public executions, suicides, and child pornography. It is on one of these pornography websites that Jimmy first espies the green-eyed Oryx, whose image haunts Jimmy throughout his life. Although such entertainment appears to be the norm for Atwood’s moral-less society, it is easier to pity Snowman and the other main characters rather than sympathize with them.

Despite delving into the tragic lives of Jimmy and Oryx, Atwood maintains a great sense of humor throughout the story, much of it coming from the various products of genetic engineering. Although largely impossible to produce with today’s technology, it is not hard to imagine demand for such creatures. I could see myself wanting an adorable pet rakunk (racoon/skunk hybrids), although I’d pass on the disgusting horror that are “ChickieNobs.” At times funny, tragic, and even a little scary, Oryx and Crake is a fantastic read.
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