Oryx and Crake is the first book in the Maddaddam trilogy by Margaret Atwood. I have previously read The Year of the Flood (the second in the trilogy, with Maddaddam being the third) and was pleased to discover that I was not disadvantaged by reading the publications in a somewhat inverted order as I was keen to continue with the series.
In the beginning of Oryx and Crake we meet Jimmy (AKA Snowman) who is alone but for the ‘Children of Crake’, a race of human like beings. The novel slowly reveals how Jimmy came to be in his current plight and holds the reader’s interest with seamless transitions been past and present.
Interwoven with this is the unconventional friendship and love triangle between Jimmy, the elusive Oryx and the brilliant, yet eccentric Crake.
The prose is at once beautiful and despairing and the author provides a stunning depiction of an all too imaginable future, a future which includes animal splices, the stark contrast between highly secured residential communities and the ‘pleeblands’, and a world ravaged by natural disasters.
I was left wanting a little more insight into the characters of Crake and Oryx but this may have taken away some of their allure.
I thoroughly enjoyed both Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood and am looking forward to reading the final instalment.
“Oryx and Crake is at once an unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey – with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake – through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining.”