[Book Review] Oryx and Crake

Oryx and Crake / Margaret Atwood



I was asked while mid novel to describe what this book is about.  Now that I'm finished there still isn't really a good way to describe this book.

Atwood doesn't write simple novels. If this was a simple novel I would say it is about the folly and greed of man bringing about humankind's downfall.  Or maybe I would say it was about the fallout of a zealot's hubris.  Oryx and Crake could be a love story, could be about an I am Legend struggle to retain humanity, a debate over what makes us human, an environmentalist metaphor, all of these in one, or something else altogether.

Our narrator, Snowman/Jimmy, is not particularly special or even likeable.  Born into the corporate cultivated intellectual middle class, raised amid genetic tinkering and tampering, he largely meanders along through life with little actual effort or achievement.  Jimmy's biggest distinguishing feature is his friendship with Oryx, possibly the only person who Oryx considers a friend, a pathological genius.  Orxy is the sole reason for Jimmy's survival, saving Jimmy to look after the recreation of human he engineered.  And then we are also left with the question, has Jimmy actually survived?

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