Tuesday, 12 April 2016

"Oryx and Crake" by Margaret Atwood - April 2016

Some impressions from our discussion:
* A dystopian novel depicting a future following global warming, flooding of coastal cities in the US and untoward genetic developments that have led to global catastrophe.
*well thought out future scientific developments by the author who comes from family of scientists who she likely discussed this with.
* this book completely different from other Atwood novels such as the ' Handmaid's Tale'.
Members thought book written cleverly from Jimmy's juvenile sense of humour, very funny in parts where women are drawn as emotionally distant. Perhaps in keeping with Jimmy's loss of his mother and his subsequent difficulty in making meaningful relationships.
* members thought book written with strong sense of good and evil, evoking a genesis myth with Crake remaking life on Earth through a new genetic order of animals.
* members thought the character of Oryx difficult to grasp was she real or fantasy. Although she had strong back story in terms of sexual exploitation in South East Asia her manipulative character left Jimmy and the reader at a loss to her meaning. Was she manufactured by Crake to confuse Jimmy / reader.
* Jimmy's "words" which gave him sense of identity were enjoyed by the group as a interesting device by the author to perhaps anchor him in a literary tradition.

Virginia added to this:
My thoughts on Oryx and Crake…

I found I both loved it and found the approaching realism simply terrifying, the way the world is going with GMO and cloning I can well see this as a world of the future in some respects. I found it staggering that 10 years after writing it so many of our scientific discoveries are indicating a route down the same path – “can pigs' hearts soon replace humans' when needed” an article I saw recently! The bit I most thought likely was the chicken blob things and animal cross breeding, horrifically fascinating as long as it doesn’t become a reality. I really enjoyed the character Snowman and his blasts from the past as we delved back in time throughout the story, his emotions were so well written I was involved from the start. I found the links really well written and it seamlessly moved between the past and the here and now using the character Jimmy/Snowman. I like the end of a book to have a definitive ending, and this left it quite open giving me lots of questions to ponder, which is both good and bad depending on your preference. I thought Crake’s killing section was poorly written, or maybe the rest was so detailed and wonderful in my imagination that bit was a little underwhelming. Either way I highly recommend reading this book, it is thought provoking, intense, humourous and questions all our morals in a world we are so intent on destroying.