Just finished Oryx and Crake. Granted, I’ve always thought Margaret Atwood was a genius…perhaps the finest female writer alive…and this book just adds to the theory. In 1985 Atwood gave us The Handmaids Tale, a speculative novel (a term the author prefers to the genre-restricting label of “science fiction”) that presents a near-future dystopia. In this latest she returns to a near-futuristic setting that is darker and more desolate than before. Themes include the future of genetics, global warming, hostile bioforms, and the social imbalance arising from the ultimate in gated communities.
To tell you any of the story would be an injustice to the brilliant prose and twisted plot that she’s created. The overall direction of the plot is not ground-breaking, but it is an utterly fresh and imaginative take from a master storyteller. Her observations – from the games to the workplace to the living areas – are astute, well-researched, ingenious and inventive, yet all too familiar. This brave new world is nothing like Huxleys, but a haunting and prophetic view of the world that lies ahead, just around the corner.
Read and take caution. This is Atwood – the writer, entertainer, social critic and savvy seeress – at her very best. This book deserves a place in every reader’s library.