04 April 2011

Oryx and Crake (Margaret Atwood)

So I guess I read these books in the right order (i.e. Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood) (also i.e. in the opposite order from which they were written)--had I read O&C first, I probably wouldn't have bothered to read YotF. Left me pretty cold.

It's set in the same world, a nightmare near-future of corporate-sponsored genetic engineering, climate-changed landscapes, widening class disparity, executions on reality TV, and porn, porn, porn...gosh, when I type it out it really sounds like every single other "nightmare near-future" universe churned out in the past ten years, doesn't it? Really, subtract the climate change and it's every nightmare near-future since the 70s. Huh. So, OK, neither novel was original. But where O&C failed for me was in the choice of its protagonists: Oryx really seemed more of a vehicle for Awareness of Child Prostitution (not that it's not a horror that people shouldn't be aware of, of course) than a fully realized character; Crake was a similarly one-dimensional mad scientist, and Jimmy, the lover of the former and adolescent best friend of the latter, was honestly too dumb and cowardly to care much about--as the bulk of the novel is from his point of view, it was slower going for me. And the Children of Crake just annoyed the HELL out of me--genetically engineered Noble Savages are Noble Savages nonetheless. (Seriously, how are people still into Rousseau?!? Dude was a) wrong and b) a horrible human being even had he been right.)

I will say that it was neat seeing the asides and mentions that became characters and plot points in YotF--I'm impressed with authors who can smoothly interlock different stories. And both novels were that ol' standby "compulsively readable." Still, I shan't be waiting with bated breath for the purported third related novel (publication date who knows, really?).

You should still follow Ms. Atwood on Twitter. Because she is adorable. Like your grandma, if your grandma were the grande dame of Canadian fiction.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
Muse at Highway Speeds by http://museathighwayspeeds.blogspot.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.