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Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Completed Margaret Atwood’s eleventh book-my first look at the author, in three stretches, and was not disappointed at all.

Oryx and Crake is a dystopian fantasy, which embraces the nuts and bolts of phantasmal paroxysms laced with stark and striking socio-political messages. With a felicity that I found particularly acute, the book unleashes waves of acerbic expositions, scabrous witticisms and didactic tropes in equal measure, leaving the reader gasping for breath at the author’s powers of invention and her vision for an apocalyptic delineation of the future.

It’s the science fiction tale of a character calling himself Snowman, jettisoned in an age sometime in the late 21st century, believing himself to be the sole human survivor of a disastrously wiped-off world. All he has for company are genetically modified life forms like the ravenously hungry pigoons, wolvogs. To top this , he is responsible for the Crakers, the innocent scions of Crake, free from primal urges of aggression, purged of lubricious intent and other warm-blooded instincts. Crake was his erstwhile best friend, an embittered genius who is in love with the enigmatic Oryx, a former Asian child prostitute who Jimmy, now known as Snowman has also fallen for. Crake deviously plots a catastrophic end to the world and he dies in the process.

Atwood manages a veritable pot pourri of images gleaned from disparate sources of high science, genetics, physics, Literature coupled with subtle pinpricks of mordant brevity. Her pronouncements are ready and risqué, and her biases are revealed with open disdain. She is in complete command of the webs she weaves throughout the tale—through pleeblands, Paradice Project, RejoovenEssence, Webgame Dynamics, Kwiktime Osama.

There are enough touches of Huxley, Orwell and even Crichton in the book and the satiric overtones of the flagrant profiteering of medical companies, the feckless pillage of talent, an Arundhati Roy-esque angst against the brazen abrogation of justice, and the incessant War between Art and Science are themes that Atwood has done full justice too.

I will dock points just for the saturnine surrealism that suffuses the feel of this book, and some aphorisms that I found invidious. An 8.5 on 10 !

Kodak moment of the Day
Michael Phelps arrested for drunken driving.


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