A stunning and provocative new novel by the internationally celebrated author of The Blind Assassin, winner of the Booker Prize
Margaret Atwood’s new novel is so utterly compelling, so prescient, so relevant, so terrifyingly-all-too-likely-to-be-true, that readers may find their view of the world forever changed after reading it.
This is Margaret Atwood at the absolute peak of her powers. For readers of Oryx and Crake, nothing will ever look the same again.
The narrator of Atwood's riveting novel calls himself Snowman. When the story opens, he is sleeping in a tree, wearing an old bedsheet, mourning the loss of his beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. He searches for supplies in a wasteland where insects proliferate and pigoons and wolvogs ravage the pleeblands, where ordinary people once lived, and the Compounds that sheltered the extraordinary. As he tries to piece together what has taken place, the narrative shifts to decades earlier. How did everything fall apart so quickly? Why is he left with nothing but his haunting memories? Alone except for the green-eyed Children of Crake, who think of him as a kind of monster, he explores the answers to these questions in the double journey he takes - into his own past, and back to Crake's high-tech bubble-dome, where the Paradice Project unfolded and the world came to grief.
With breathtaking command of her shocking material, and with her customary sharp wit and dark humour, Atwood projects us into an outlandish yet wholly believable realm populated by characters who will continue to inhabit our dreams long after the last chapter. This is Margaret Atwood at the absolute peak of her powers.
"A landmark work of speculative fiction, comparable to A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, BRAVE NEW WORLD, and...WE. Atwood has surpassed herself."
"In much the same way that she tried to satirize the condition of women in THE HANDMAID'S TALE, so Ms. Atwood tries in this volume to call attention to the dangers of science and technology run amuck. As she did in that earlier book, she has attempted in these pages to extrapolate surreal happenings from current developments. Cloning, fetal-tissue and genetic research, bio-engineering, the obsession with youth and the merchandising of beauty and health: such phenomena form the platform from which the Frankensteinian horrors in ORYX AND CRAKE spring. Unfortunately Ms. Atwood's brave new world never feels remotely plausible: it is neither fully imagined as a place with its own intractable rules and realities, nor is it a convincing sendup of contemporary life. Instead the book feels laboriously manufactured: a lumbering mutant, part Michael Crichton novel (minus the suspense), part back-to-nature screed against a fake, plastic society in thrall to money and looks. Ms. Atwood's vaunted storytelling skills, so nimbly on display in her 2000 novel THE BLIND ASSASSIN, have pulled a disappearing act in these pages; in their place are paint-by-numbers plot points and lots of stage-managed scenes....By the time we've plowed through ORYX AND CRAKE, we can only wish that Ms. Atwood had inserted Jimmy-Snowman into a different novel...."
Michiko Kakutani, New York Times, 05/13/2003