Review of Margaret Attwood: Oryx and Crake

Oryx and CrakeMargaret Attwood
Oryx and Crake
[rate 3.5] Just above the average three-penguin, but not quite up to a four-penguin standard. Fans of Attwood, whilst enjoying this, won’t feel it is her best. People new to Attwood might be advised to read Blind Assassin or Robber Bride first to get a feel for her work.

This is another book recommended by Moose. Really should stop talking to that girl – she is being detrimental to my studies 😉 Anyhoo, those of you familiar with the Attwood canon of work will find all you are expecting in Oryx and Crake: dual story lines, messed up chronologies, with a post-apocalyptic setting remeniscent of Handmaid’s Tale. The chronology/story-line isn’t quite as confusing as Blind Assassin with it’s four (or five depending on how you count) parallel themes, but I prefered Assassin to this. Not that Oryx and Crake is bad, it isn’t, it is very good, especially at its chilling view of the near future and humanities downward spiral to self destruction, but I felt no connection to Snowman/Jimmy, and something was missing from the Children of Crake, so that I couldn’t picture them fully either. Perhaps that is the point?

I am musing out loud now, so forgive me if I ramble. The more I think on that last point, the unreality of the Craker’s, how they are missing something, perhaps that is Attwood’s point? Because the Children were designed to be a new (read better ?) form of humanity, with certain traits omitted, we just cannot identify with them. It is the very flaws omitted from the Children which make us human.

Hmmm, I am just talking out of my hat. The idea I want to express is on the tip of my tongue, but I can’t seem to put it into words right now. Don’t be surprised if this review isn’t rewritten a couple of times! As for the ending – pah! Left gloriously open so you can make up your own mind as to the fate of Snowman, humanity, and the Children of Crake, but I was left with a lingering sense of disapointment. Am I being too morbid in that I project fullscale destruction of the Children by the remaining humans? I can’t see the two groups living together somehow. Part of me wants a Planet of the Apes-type ending, where the Children reign supreme, but if war/strife/etc simply isn’t part of their makeup, how can that be? Or will the essential ‘humanity’ of the Children resurface. After all, they have started to make art…

I don’t know. Something was off about this one to me. It didn’t quite hit all the buttons I have come to expect Attwood to hit.

Now if you will excuse me I am off to read Blind Assassin once more to restore my faith in her skill. Not Handmaid’s Tale though, that just plain freaked the hell out of me.

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