Oryx And Crake

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Oryx And Crake

by Margaret Atwood

Knopf Canada | July 28, 2009 | Trade Paperback

Oryx And Crake is rated 3.8571 out of 5 by 7.
A stunning and provocative new novel by the internationally celebrated author of The Blind Assassin, winner of the Booker Prize

Margaret Atwood’s new novel is so utterly compelling, so prescient, so relevant, so terrifyingly-all-too-likely-to-be-true, that readers may find their view of the world forever changed after reading it.

This is Margaret Atwood at the absolute peak of her powers. For readers of Oryx and Crake, nothing will ever look the same again.

The narrator of Atwood''s riveting novel calls himself Snowman. When the story opens, he is sleeping in a tree, wearing an old bedsheet, mourning the loss of his beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. He searches for supplies in a wasteland where insects proliferate and pigoons and wolvogs ravage the pleeblands, where ordinary people once lived, and the Compounds that sheltered the extraordinary. As he tries to piece together what has taken place, the narrative shifts to decades earlier. How did everything fall apart so quickly? Why is he left with nothing but his haunting memories? Alone except for the green-eyed Children of Crake, who think of him as a kind of monster, he explores the answers to these questions in the double journey he takes - into his own past, and back to Crake''s high-tech bubble-dome, where the Paradice Project unfolded and the world came to grief.

With breathtaking command of her shocking material, and with her customary sharp wit and dark humour, Atwood projects us into an outlandish yet wholly believable realm populated by characters who will continue to inhabit our dreams long after the last chapter. This is Margaret Atwood at the absolute peak of her powers.


From the Hardcover edition.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 416 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 0.9 in

Published: July 28, 2009

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 030739848X

ISBN - 13: 9780307398482

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Atwood at her Finest I picked up this book for no extraordinary reason. It was on sale for 15$ and the cover was cool. Little did I know that I would be swept into a world of intrigue, suspense and philosophical discussions. Ever since The Hunger Games and Divergent came out, I've been tired of dystopian novels and speculative fiction. Oryx and Crake is different... it's dark, mesmerizing and very adult. It's a breath of fresh air to the genre. First off, the overall storyline is amazing. Going back and forth to the present and the past ensures that the reader is constantly asking questions. You are desperate to find out the ending... but you don't want to finish the book. The characters are intriguing, and a lot of them are people that you love-to-hate. To be honest, I hate Jimmy as a character... he's narcissistic, misogynistic and pretentious. But, his motives remain fascinating throughout the novel. Crake is extremely likable and a little scary... and Oryx... well... I don't know she's unique. I'm reading The Year of The Flood right now and I have to admit it isn't as good as Oryx and Crake... but this trilogy does prove that Margaret Atwood hasn't lost her wit and her willingness to provoke.
Date published: 2014-04-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from An Intriguing Speculative Fiction Oryx and Crake is the story of Snowman who lives alone in a post-apocalyptic world where the coastal cities of North America are under water, and strange animals roam free. Flashbacks show us how Snowman came to be the last survivor of his kind after an epidemic killed the rest of the human race. At first, I must say that I was a little put off by the main character and narrator, Snowman. I didn’t particularly like him: he is an anti-hero, full of flaws. He is lazy and cowardly, and he doesn’t have much qualms about betraying his friends. But then, as the story progresses, I couldn't help but wonder what I would have done in the same situation. And the scary part of the book is that Margaret Atwood based her speculative fiction on real breakthroughs in genetic engineering. So the future of Oryx and Crake might become our future in a few decades… Please go to my blog, Cecile Sune - Bookobsessed, if you would like to read more reviews or discover fun facts about books and authors.
Date published: 2014-04-10
Rated out of 5 by from Top-Notch Literary Dystopic/Post-apocalyptic Fiction I read Oryx and Crake years ago and loved it. But, upon the recent release of the the final novel in Atwood's MaddAddam trilogy, I decided to re-read O&C and Year of the Flood (book 2). O&C takes place in a not to distant future, where corporations seem to have the real power, control the police forces and constantly experiment with genetic modifications. Jimmy (or Snowman) is our main character here. The book opens with him, as Snowman, after a disease has wiped out all of humanity but himself and the Crakers, a group of genetically engineered humans specifically designed by Crake himself to be the 'perfect people'. They are given all sorts of interesting and useful traits pulled from different species in nature. They 'purr' to heal injures, they have built-in insect repellant and their genitals turn blue when it's time to mate. There is no jealousy, no war, no religion. Very fascinating creatures. Slowly we learn Jimmy's story before everyone dies. His friendship with Crake is at the heart of the novel, as the genius boy Crake has caused everything to be the way it is, perhaps by being too smart for his own good. O&C focuses on the privaleged life of the people in the 'compounds', the areas run by the corporations. There's a lot of 'playing God' going around at this time and you relize you're not fully sure if you want to embrace some of these scientific achievements or destroy these betrayels of nature. "Adam named the living animals, MaddAddam names the dead ones."
Date published: 2013-09-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Shockingly great read I found this book to be a great read. It is only my second Margaret Atwood book and I now wonder how she managed to stay off my literary radar for so long. Oryx and Crake is the story of a plague survivor as he deals with his present and reviews the events that brought him to his current situation. He tells us of his early years and his friendships, particularly that with the two title characters. We see the friends grow, drift apart and reunite. We learn that each has a hidden agenda of which the protagonist is unaware. We learn of his inability to develop a lasting relationship with any woman and we see how he rationalizes situations to make them fit his wishes. All of these memories unfurl while Snowman adapts to the new species that have survived the plague, develops ways to avoid the predators created by the now defunct technology in which he was raised, and tries to avoid becoming or creating a god for the species for which he has, unexplained until the end, been given responsibility. A novel about technology, its police state paranoia, the resistance and the result. How far in the future is this reality? Will we avoid it? Read Oryx and Crake and then read on.
Date published: 2013-08-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A possible future I’m finally working through the books I’ve read but neglected to review, and this one comes in 12 months after. Margaret Atwood is an icon in the Canadian, and international, literary scene. And this is why. “Oryx and Crake” is so brilliantly thought out and executed, and even with its dystopian setting, it shines through as being very relevant contemporarily. This was my first foray into the literary mind of Margaret Atwood, and this has now made me a fan. She does speculative fiction, as she calls it, with a very sensible mind – always knowing how it grounds to reality and how it touches the reader by not being overbearing in its dystopian theme. The characters – Snowman and Jimmy, Oryx and Crake – are made so relatable and accessible despite their mysterious identities. You feel Snowman’s solitude as he recounts memories from a previous life that he himself finds unfamiliar. Most importantly are the social commentaries and critiques of society past, present, and future. Atwood’s dystopia is quite terrifyingly possible which makes it all the harder to read mentally and emotionally. Being the first book in the MaddAddam trilogy, I only see more harrowing tales to come in its sequel, “The Year of the Flood,” which I’m eager to read, and the final unpublished book.
Date published: 2012-09-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Frighteningly Familiar This is my first Margaret Atwood book and I wasn't disappointed. At first, I did not know what to expect. In fact, I was sure that I was going to hate it. After all, Snowman seemed like a pretty strange character and who or what are Oryx and Crake? I made myself read it anyway, finding myself more engrossed into the story with each page I read. I have experienced other dystopian fiction and thought that this would be another intriguing but disturbing story. However, I found myself reading something more lighthearted and complex. Soon enough, I began reacting emotionally to Snowman's story. The novel is incredibly relatable to the trends of our outer world and the intricate feelings of our inner world. I recommend it with all my heart, definitely a good read!
Date published: 2010-08-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Page turner I am not usually a fan of sci-fi, but this story is very engaging. I was taken aback by the extrapolation of some of our social practises and scientific enterprises into an apocalyptic future. It all seem so believable, while being horrifying. The shred of humanity that remains at the end provides a very open-ended and thought provoking conclusion.
Date published: 2009-11-21
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Twisted For years I have heard what a wonderful writer Margaret Atwood is. The hype, the awards, the media attention, all-raving about this `marvellous' author. I thought, given the glowing reviews I had read, and the fact the storyline sounded appealing, I'd pick up a copy of Oryx and Crake. I wish I hadn't. While Ms. Atwood may be touted as a world-class writer, I beg to differ. Being able to write endless crass filth and garbage, peppered with foul language does not make for a good read. Uncomfortable yes, good no. I stopped my voyage into these repulsive pages short, and decided to use the book in the only manner that seemed fit. To date this has been the most expensive piece of kindling I have ever purchased. I can most assuredly say that I will not make this mistake again. To say you can write, then produce something that is full of disgusting visuals and inappropriate language is a slap in the face of all genuine authors. Unfortunately this is the type of swill that many people enjoy, and no wonder, since this tripe is flaunted as acceptable and the norm. To me the only thing this book accomplished was the destruction of numerous innocent trees to fuel the minds of the twisted. Save your money and time.
Date published: 2009-10-02

– More About This Product –

Oryx And Crake

by Margaret Atwood

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 416 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 0.9 in

Published: July 28, 2009

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 030739848X

ISBN - 13: 9780307398482

Read from the Book

1 Mango Snowman wakes before dawn. He lies unmoving, listening to the tide coming in, wave after wave sloshing over the various barricades, wish-wash, wish-wash, the rhythm of heartbeat. He would so like to believe he is still asleep. On the eastern horizon there''s a greyish haze, lit now with a rosy, deadly glow. Strange how that colour still seems tender. The offshore towers stand out in dark silhouette against it, rising improbably out of the pink and pale blue of the lagoon. The shrieks of the birds that nest out there and the distant ocean grinding against the ersatz reefs of rusted car parts and jumbled bricks and assorted rubble sound almost like holiday traffic. Out of habit he looks at his watch - stainless-steel case, burnished aluminum band, still shiny although it no longer works. He wears it now as his only talisman. A blank face is what it shows him: zero hour. It causes a jolt of terror to run through him, this absence of official time. Nobody nowhere knows what time it is. "Calm down," he tells himself. He takes a few deep breaths, then scratches his bug bites, around but not on the itchiest places, taking care not to knock off any scabs: blood poisoning is the last thing he needs. Then he scans the ground below for wildlife: all quiet, no scales and tails. Left hand, right foot, right hand, left foot, he makes his way down from the tree. After brushing off the twigs and bark, he winds his dirty bedsheet around himself like a toga. He''s hung his authentic-re
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From the Publisher

A stunning and provocative new novel by the internationally celebrated author of The Blind Assassin, winner of the Booker Prize

Margaret Atwood’s new novel is so utterly compelling, so prescient, so relevant, so terrifyingly-all-too-likely-to-be-true, that readers may find their view of the world forever changed after reading it.

This is Margaret Atwood at the absolute peak of her powers. For readers of Oryx and Crake, nothing will ever look the same again.

The narrator of Atwood''s riveting novel calls himself Snowman. When the story opens, he is sleeping in a tree, wearing an old bedsheet, mourning the loss of his beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. He searches for supplies in a wasteland where insects proliferate and pigoons and wolvogs ravage the pleeblands, where ordinary people once lived, and the Compounds that sheltered the extraordinary. As he tries to piece together what has taken place, the narrative shifts to decades earlier. How did everything fall apart so quickly? Why is he left with nothing but his haunting memories? Alone except for the green-eyed Children of Crake, who think of him as a kind of monster, he explores the answers to these questions in the double journey he takes - into his own past, and back to Crake''s high-tech bubble-dome, where the Paradice Project unfolded and the world came to grief.

With breathtaking command of her shocking material, and with her customary sharp wit and dark humour, Atwood projects us into an outlandish yet wholly believable realm populated by characters who will continue to inhabit our dreams long after the last chapter. This is Margaret Atwood at the absolute peak of her powers.


From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa in 1939, and grew up in northern Quebec and Ontario, and later in Toronto. She has lived in numerous cities in Canada, the U.S., and Europe.

She is the author of more than thirty books, novels, short stories, poetry, literary criticism, social history, and books for children.

Atwood''s work is acclaimed internationally and has been published around the world. Her novels include The Handmaid''s Tale and Cat''s Eye, both shortlisted for the Booker Prize; The Robber Bride; Alias Grace, winner of the prestigious Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy, and a finalist for the Booker Prize, the Orange Prize, and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; and The Blind Assassin, winner of the Booker Prize and a finalist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her new novel is Oryx and Crake. She is the recipient of numerous honours, such as The Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence in the U.K., the National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Literature in the U.S., Le Chevalier dans l''Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France, and she was the first winner of the London Literary Prize. She has received honorary degrees from universities across Canada, and one from Oxford University in England.

Margaret Atwood lives in Toronto with novelist Graeme Gibson.


From the Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

“Ingenious and disturbing.… A landmark work of speculative fiction, comparable to A Clockwork Orange , Brave New World .… Atwood has surpassed herself.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred review) “Rigorous in its chilling insights and riveting in its fast-paced ‘what if’ dramatization, Atwood’s superb novel is as brilliantly provocative as it is profoundly engaging.” – Booklist (starred review) “ Oryx and Crake is Atwood at her playful, allegorical best.” – Globe and Mail “[ Oryx and Crake is written] with a style and grace that demonstrate again just how masterful a storyteller she is. If one measure of art’s power is its ability to force you to face what you would very much rather not, Oryx and Crake – the evocative tale of a nightmarish near-future – is an extraordinary work of art, one that reaffirms Atwood’s place at the apex of Canadian literature.” – Maclean’s “Atwood’s new masterpiece.…Extraordinary.… [Atwood pulls] back the curtain on her terrible vision with such tantalizing precision, its fearsome implications don’t fully reveal themselves until the final pages.… A darkly comic work of speculative fiction.” – W Magazine (U.S.) “For all its artistic achievement, this novel poses serious questions.… Margaret Atwood is a consummate artist, yes, but her work also pricks our social and ethi
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Bookclub Guide

1. Oryx and Crake includes many details that seem futuristic, but are in fact already apparent in our world. What parallels were you able to draw between the items in the world of the novel and those in your own?

2. Margaret Atwood coined many words and brand names while writing the novel. In what way has technology changed your vocabulary over the past five years?

3. The game "Extinctathon" emerges as a key component in the novel. Jimmy and Crake also play "Barbarian Stomp" and "Blood and Roses." What comparable video games do you know of? What is your opinion of arcades that feature virtual violence? Discuss the advantages and dangers of virtual reality. Is the novel form itself a sort of virtual reality?

4. If you were creating the game "Blood and Roses," what other "Blood" items would you add? What other "Rose" items?

5. If you had the chance to fabricate an improved human being, would you do it? If so, what features would you choose to incorporate? Why would these be better than what we''ve got? Your model must of course be biologically viable.

6. The pre-catastrophic society in Oryx and Crake is fixated on physical perfection and longevity, much as our own society is. Discuss the irony of these quests, both within the novel and in our own society.

7. One aspect of the novel''s society is the virtual elimination of the middle class. Economic and intellectual disparities, as well as the disappearance of safe public space, allow for few alternatives: People live either in the tightly controlled Compounds of the elites, or in the more open but seedier and more dangerous Pleeblands. Where would your community find itself in the world of Oryx and Crake?

8. Snowman soon discovers that despite himself he''s invented a new creation myth, simply by trying to think up comforting answers to the "why" questions of the Children of Crake. In Part Seven — the chapter entitled "Purring" — Crake claims that "God is a cluster of neurons," though he''s had trouble eradicating religious experiences without producing zombies. Do you agree with Crake? Do Snowman''s origin stories negate or enhance your views on spirituality and how it evolves among various cultures?

9. How might the novel change if narrated by Oryx? Do any similarities exist between her early life and Snowman''s? Do you always believe what she says?

10. Why does Snowman feel compelled to protect the benign Crakers, who can''t understand him and can never be his close friends? Do you believe that the Crakers would be capable of survival in our own society?

11. In the world of Oryx and Crake, almost everything is for sale, and a great deal of power is now in the hands of large corporations and their private security forces. There are already more private police in North America than there are public ones. What are the advantages of such a system? What are the dangers?

12. In what ways does the dystopia of Oryx and Crake compare to those depicted in novels such as Brave New World, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and in Atwood''s The Handmaid''s Tale? What is the difference between speculative fiction — which Atwood claims to write — and science fiction proper?

13. The book has two epigraphs, one from Jonathan Swift''s Gulliver''s Travels and one from Virginia Woolf''s To the Lighthouse. Why do you think these were chosen?

14. The ending of the novel is open, allowing for tantalizing speculation. How do you envision Snowman''s future? What about the future of humanity — both within the novel, and outside its pages?

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