Book Review: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

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Taking the crown as one of my all time favourite authors, Atwood’s weird and wonderful, dystopian looks at a could-be future always give you a sense of awe, fear and general what if when you are reading any of her novels.

‘Oryx and Crake’ is no exception as we follow the life of Snowman, a.k.a Jimmy, as the only human left on this abandoned and decaying planet. As Snowman, he is left as protector of a race called the Crakers, an artificial human made in a lab with all the bad and vulnerable bits of humanity taken out.

The Crakers were made by Jimmy’s childhood friend and talented scientist Crake, who uses his talents and freedom in a controlled, security driven environment to mess about with the very fabric of humanity. As we relive Jimmy’s life from childhood to meeting Crake to high school, college, former jobs, past lovers and more, we see why exactly he has become such a bitter man.

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Always in the shadow of his friend and now he is left to look after his creation whilst also struggling to survive in a world set out to kill him. Although the story may be weird and set in a future where segregation is key, science is everything and the world is on the brink of collapse; there is plenty to find here that makes the story of Jimmy readable and relatable.

His messed up parents and family life, his lack of talent, the flaws in his career, love life and personality and his love for Oryx. The girl he first saw on a computer as a teenager comes into his life when he is an adult and his love for her consumes him and it is that which creates severe consequences for everyone.

If you are a fan of dystopian fiction you will love this, but even if you aren’t you should give it a try. Atwood manages to make the most sci-fi and difficult of concepts easy to understand whilst also not alienating or patronising the reader throughout. You don’t need a plethora of scientific knowledge to read this and at its heart it is a well written story about a man who isn’t perfect, loves one woman too much and now happens to find himself as the last true human on planet Earth.

A wonderful book that will keep you hooked throughout with its colourful use of language and perfectly formed characters.

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