Type: Review
Pages: 3 | Words: 633
Reading Time: 3 Minutes

The novel begins with a lone man by the name Snowman, sleeping on a tree, covering himself with old bed sheets. He is mourning the loss of his beloved friends; Oryx and Crake, and gradually starving himself to death. The presence of debris, buildings covered by the sea, as well as, the remains of civilization wrecked by the waves, are evidence of a recent catastrophe that had taken place in the area (15). As Snowman tries to figure out what really has taken place, the story shifts to years earlier. He finds himself as the only human being among strange creatures, such as wolves and pigeons, and the green-eyed Children of Crake, who see him as some kind of monster. Several questions go through his mind; who is he? How did everything fall apart so fast? How did he survive?

In an attempt to seek answers to these questions, Snowman takes a double journey to his past; first he explores the neglected laboratory complex, which was once run by Crake, a friend whom he had met in high school, and the life of Jimmy, the man he used to be prior to the collapse of everything. Later on in the novel, Jimmy works for Crake at the Paradice project, and they both fall in love with Oryx; a love triangle that ends in tragedy.

With wonderful command of her dreadful piece, coupled with her sharp wit, Atwood presents a peculiar yet totally believable story that is populated by characters who continue to inhabit the dream of the reader long after the end of the last chapter.

The novel, “Oryx and Crake” is, however, not entirely satisfactory. A major flaw of this novel is the author’s portrayal of the character, Oryx. Initially, we are told of Oryx, as an eight-year old Asian girl, who is a sex slave (152). Her pictures in the internet consumes Crake and Jimmy with lust and love. Years later, they both fall in love with her when she appears in their lives. It is worth noting that Oryx’s brief appearance in the real story, when compared to the huge role she plays in memory of Jimmy/Snowman is not sufficient to explain Crake’s obsession with her is so obsessed on her.

Everything about this character is disturbing to me, for instance, her stereotypical features, flat affect, lack of growth, and even her literary role as a code for male fantasy. It is hard to believe how an eight-year old girl who was forced to leave her rural family, taken to the town, and forced into prostitution, can be so good at her work, such that she knows how to pose for pictures that attract online admirers like Crake and Jimmy. Her character of serving as an object of male lust, always ready to fulfill their demands without questioning also never changed even as she grew up into an adult. I expected that as a grown up, she would be more mature enough to take control of her life, but her actions show that she is still controlled by other people.

In addition, the character of Jimmy/ Snowman, is self-deceiving yet sympathetic in the end. I find it difficult to comprehend the complexity of this character; his ferocious lonely life after the disaster, as well as, his pre-disaster life that was full of desperation. In addition, Crake also lacks definition; he is more of a symbolic force than a person, and his motivations, which the author does not dig deep into, seem to come more from the argument in the novel rather than from the character himself (133).

In general, this novel is a well written piece that is enjoyable to read. Though other readers may find it a bit scary, sad and weird, it is a powerful and creative masterpiece into the genre of science fiction.

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