Oryx and Crake: Margaret Atwood

Every passing year marks the arrival of a new technology or a scientific breakthrough. But sometimes it is difficult to forecast how a certain technology will apply and evolve in context of human society. The difficulty does not arise due to the nature of the technology but rather on account of the human nature itself. In 'Oryx and Crake', Margaret Atwood takes a keen look at genetic engineering and draws an eerie graph to show how human caprice and greed can culminate into a catastrophic end for our species.

‘Snowman’, who is the last surviving human being, is the protagonist of the novel. The world has been wiped clean of its human inhabitants by a deadly plague. Snowman mourns for the dead world while trying to survive in the dangerous realities of the altered world. He is constantly haunted by the memories of his past life, he pines for Oryx, the love of his life and for Crake, his best friend. While the unbridled nature is taking over the cities and reclaiming its domain, Snowman attempts to piece together the sequence of events that led to the annihilation of his species.

Oryx and Crake is a very captivating and at the same time a disturbing novel. In its dystopian world, the rampant usage of genetic engineering to make transgenic animals, to create artificial foods, and to improve human bodies has skewed the sanity of the society. This results in sexual depravity, exploitation of the underprivileged, and scarcity of resources for the large population. When the disaster arrives it feels hardly surprising. This world seems too broken to be mended. And this is where Atwood’s prose shows its real strength. Though the events pertain to an alternate world and to a specific technology, it is very easy to draw similarities with our present day world. Atwood speaks in a very concise and logical manner and the impact of her ideas is hard hitting.

Oryx and Crake is an outstanding first of Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy. I will recommend it highly for its intriguing plot and for the strength of its ideas. I am really looking forward to read the next book in the trilogy ‘The year of the flood’.

'Oryx and Crake' can be downloaded for Kindle or can be bought from Flipkart

Book Source : Self

4 comments:

Komal said...

I like your style of writing, very impressive!!Your deep thought & thorough understanding of the novel & the subject is reflected.This novel again interests me...will definitely read it :)

Nivedita Barve said...

Thanks Komal :) I will love to read your thoughts on this novel!

Andrew Blackman said...

Hi Nivedita,
I've heard a lot about this book in the past, but as usual your review makes me want to read it now! I'm intrigued by the set-up - if Snowman is the last surviving human being, then I guess that most of the action happens in the past, as flashback? And I'm interested in the fact that it's the first of a trilogy. From the end of the human race I'm not sure where else there is to go ;-) But I guess that again, the other two books are maybe flashbacks to see how we got to that point. Sounds great! I've only read bits and pieces of Margaret Atwood and would like to read more.

Nivedita Barve said...

Hi Andrew,
Most of the story does take place in the past. But there is some amount of the present too. There are some interesting developments (which I don't want to spoil for you :) which I am guessing will be elaborated in the next two parts.
I am sure you will love Margaret Atwood's writing. Do try this one.