Well Atwood has certainly done it again. While reading this book, I was transported to another world – a future world where mankind has gone too far and experimented one too many times with technology and genetics to a devastating result.
This new world is empty and cruel. The sun is harsh and the creatures have become wild and dangerous. The creatures are strange hybrids, spliced together to make odd cross breeds, my favourite being the rakunks, a cross between a raccoon and a skunk – but without the smell, making them perfect pets. There are also spoat/giders, wolvogs and pigoons.
As well as these slightly familiar animals, there are other, even queerer creatures walking the earth, and nothing you would recognise. With their different coloured skin, luminous green eyes and eccentric habits, the Children of Crake have only one connection to the past; a man called Snowman, who lives in a tree.
Yes, all very odd, you may be thinking, but Margaret Atwood has tied all of this together and created a masterpiece of Science Fiction. It is a warning of how the world could go when humans begin to play god.
As Snowman sleeps in his tree and goes in search of food and useful objects from the past, he remembers the world before everything changed. We are taken through his childhood, when he was known as Jimmy. We are introduced to his unloving parents and his only friend, Crake, who has a large part to play in the development of the new world.
This is an incredibly imaginative novel, portraying an empty world, but managing to slip in humour through the unlikely hero of Snowman. He is sarcastic and has a crude sense of humour, but is still a loveable character. His love affair with Oryx, mentioned throughout the book is also very interesting and I especially like the way Atwood teases both Snowman and the reader, with only snippets of her character and their relationship.
I have now read three books by Margaret Atwood, and although I loved it, I have to say that Oryx and Crake is not my favourite. It does not have the same engrossing affect as The Handmaid’s Tale and is not as eloquently and beautifully written as The Blind Assassin. I am still looking forward to working my way through the rest of Atwood’s work!