Sunday, March 16, 2014

Oryx and Crake (by Margaret Atwood)

This is one of my "clear off the shelf" reads, as I've had it for a while. Mild spoilers below; I won't spoil any of the excellent twists.

I think it was recommended to me as having an unreliable narrator; Snowman isn't exactly unreliable, he just withholds the full story until the end. There's clearly been some type of catastrophic apocalyptic event, and Snowman's struggle to survive (reminiscent of The Road) is juxtaposed with the story of his history. Atwood presents an incredibly inventive dystopia, with corporations playing god, splicing animals together and creating genetic superhumans, and we all know it's headed somewhere extremely bad. It is extremely blackly funny at points, but goes to some dark places too, like websites that have live streams of executions, suicides, stuff that's too horrible to even spell out.

The world Atwood creates is all too plausible, with the effects of climate change, the rich/poor divide, the desire for youth, the strength of corporations, all going to extreme conclusions. It reminded me of The Road, as I said above, and also Gravity in terms of its question of what there is for Snowman to live for once everything is gone. Also the Sonmi sections of Cloud Atlas, since there are some dystopican similarities. And it was a page-turner for sure. There are apparently two other books in the series, and now I want to read them, so my efforts to reduce my to-read list have apparently backfired on me with this one.

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