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Publisher's Summary

The narrator of Atwood's riveting novel calls himself Snowman. When the story opens, he is sleeping in a tree, wearing an old bedsheet, mourning the loss of his beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. He searches for supplies in a wasteland where insects proliferate and pigoons and wolvogs ravage the pleeblands, where ordinary people once lived, and the Compounds that sheltered the extraordinary. As he tries to piece together what has taken place, the narrative shifts to decades earlier. How did everything fall apart so quickly? Why is he left with nothing but his haunting memories? Alone except for the green-eyed Children of Crake, who think of him as a kind of monster, he explores the answers to these questions in the double journey he takes - into his own past, and back to Crake's high-tech bubble-dome, where the Paradice Project unfolded and the world came to grief. With breathtaking command of her shocking material, and with her customary sharp wit and dark humour, Atwood projects us into an outlandish yet wholly believable realm populated by characters who will continue to inhabit our dreams long after the last chapter. This is Margaret Atwood at the absolute peak of her powers.
©2002 O.W. Toad, Ltd. (P)2003 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Absorbing...expertly rendered...Virtuosic storytelling [is] on display." (The New York Times) "Chesterton once wrote of the 'thousand romances that lie secreted in the Origin of the Species.' Atwood has extracted one of the most hair-raising of them all, and one of the most brilliant." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Doug on 07-21-03

Very Scary Stuff

Atwood does her usual great job of not only telling a gripping tale, but of cautioning us about the costs of technology in terms of not only the effect on our planet, but also on our society. I haven't been this concerned about our future since I read Nature's End back in the 80's.

The story takes place in two times, one the "present" day, sometime in the not too distant future, and the other outlining how things got to where they are. The latter is told very close to a linear fashion, but Atwood mixes things up to match up with the present day story.

Campbell Scott (son of George C.) is disarmingly laid back in his reading, but I felt he captured the inner thinkings of Jimmy/Snowman perfectly. He is a very consistent reader, important as the book has several repeating themes.

I liked the book well enough that I stopped listening about 1.5 hours from the end, and started over to hear it with my wife on a recent car trip. It held up incredibly well, and in fact I found my enjoyment increasing as I was able to note foreshadowing I'd missed in the first listen.

Some have said the ending fizzles, but in truth the back story comes to a very satisfactory conclusion, while the current story ends with a moral dilemma. Some don't like books that don't end with a tidy bow, but I'm not among them. I was quite pleased with the ending overall, the only book I've read recently with an equally satisfying ending was Gaiman's American Gods.

The writing is tight and consistent, the reader does a great job, and the story is tense and rich in plot and characters. Highly recommended for anyone who likes a good story or is concerned about the costs of genetic engineering.

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76 of 78 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By A. L. DeWitt on 08-22-03

Exceptional Vision

Every once in a while an author comes along with an exceptional command of the language and a full understanding of what it takes to create the future based on threads of the past. This is one such book. Drawing on the rapidly evolving science of genetics and genetic research, Oryx and Crake revolves around a time in the future when the world has gone suddenly and powerfully wrong.
If you require an author to lay things out chronologically, be prepared to be disappointed. The book jumps its point of view from present to past, and often without a clear description of which is which. But it requires the listener to pay close attention.
The theme of the book is the basis for human and social interaction focusing on the relationship between sex and population, genetically engineered food and starvation. The subthemes running through the book (e.g., radical environmental groups) are almost as disturbing as the subject matter is interesting.
I loved this book, and I am not one to much like science fiction. But this book is as much a portrait of modern day corporate america as it is a projection of the future.
If you read through this book and are not engrossed and overcome at some point by the possibility of a world as described, then you are not paying close attention.
I thoroughly recommend this book.

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39 of 41 people found this review helpful

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