Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

This entry is part [part not set] of 3 in the series MaddAddam Trilogy
3 Treasure Boxes - Very Good Book
3 Treasure Boxes – Very Good Book

Book Review of Oryx and Crake: 3 Treasure Boxes
First Book in the MaddAddam Trilogy
Publisher: Random House Audio, Listening Length: 10 hours and 29 minutes (464 pages), ASIN: B00009OYYN

The world as we know it has been deliberately destroyed by an epidemic, and genetically modified “superior” humanoids have been invented. These new people call themselves “Crakers,” and only one other person seems to remain, Jimmy. Now he is known as Snowman, and he is crazy. He has also become a God figure for the new human race.

Margaret Atwood is a famous Canadian writer born in 1937, and she has written numerous books, short stories, books of poetry and essays. She has won more than 55 awards, both Canadian as well as international. Oryx and Crake is speculative fiction and the story is told in a first person narrative by the main protagonist, Snowman. He is also known as Jimmy. The story starts in a post-apocalyptic world with Snowman living alone and yet somehow connected to a group of human-like creatures. As Snowman stumbles through his life, the events that lead up the ruination of the world are slowly revealed through flashbacks.

This was an interesting look at what potentially could happen if and when humans start to modify human, animal and plant genetics without any code of ethics. It shows what could happen if people and corporations believed they had the power to act as God.  This is a rather dismal view of humanity and the misuse of power, but the characters are really well drawn and fascinating.

I recommend this book as a very good read. This is a standalone story with a satisfying if somewhat open ended and yet unique ending that leaves the reader thinking. It allows the reader to draw his/her own conclusions.  The ending leads nicely into the next book in the series, The Year of the Flood which was written after Oryx and Crake but with events that occur simultaneously.

Questions to ponder:

    • What did you think of the ending, and what do you think is the next step for mankind in this story?
    • Do you feel that our current human genetic research is good or bad?
    • How far should human genetic research and manipulation go?

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2 thoughts on “Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood”

  1. These are some interesting questions, especially about research into human genetics. Without a doubt and lot of good comes from this research, but the potential for disaster is frightening.


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