Day 516: Oryx and Crake

Cover for Oryx and CrakeBest Book of the Week!
Snowman may be the last human left on earth after the plague. He is not alone, though, because nearby is a race of human-like beings that his friend Crake bioengineered. Snowman himself lives like a vagrant—wearing nothing but a sheet in the unbearable heat from global warming, scrounging through the detritus of a lost civilization for food.

Snowman soon realizes that he will starve if he doesn’t return to the compounds for food. Not long before, he lived in a world where the privileged workers for the biochemical industry and their families lived apart in their own secure compounds. The other people, called pleeblanders, could fend for themselves. Gene splicing to create new species was rampant without regard for any consequences, and greed and consumerism all-important.

As Snowman makes his journey, he recalls his childhood with an embittered mother and oblivious father and his long friendship with Crake. Most fondly he remembers Oryx, the love of his life. Through these memories we learn how the world got into this dire situation.

This novel is both inventive and absorbing. Although Atwood’s descriptions of the pre-plague world with its abominations of nature seem comic at times, they are still horribly believable. This is dark humor with a knife edge about a world that has lost its sanity.

Oryx and Crake is the first of a trilogy, and I am looking forward to reading the other two volumes.