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Extended Audio Sample Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (62,107 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Margaret Atwood Narrator: Scott Campbell, Campbell Scott Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The MaddAddam Trilogy Release Date: May 2003 ISBN: 9780739304082
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A stunning and provocative novel by the internationally celebrated author of The Blind Assassin, winner of the Booker Prize

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 Paradise Project unfolded and the world came to grief.

With breathtaking command of her shocking material, and with her customary sharp wit and dark humor, 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Perfectly constructed, funny, and satiric. It is inventive yet prophetic, in fact, apocalyptic and weirdly feasible.… It is brilliant.”

    Winnipeg Free Press

  • “Oryx and Crake is set just the other side of the evening news, in a future so close we can smell its stench.…Atwood has outdone herself here.”

    Georgia Straight

  • “Contemporary novelists rarely write about science or technology. Margaret Atwood tackles both – and more – in one of the year’s most surprising novels.”

    The Economist

  • “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 ethical consciousness. That is a rare combination, an important achievement.”

    Globe and Mail

  • “Atwood’s great talent for narrative has never been displayed to better effect.”

    Toronto Star

  • “Riveting.…Chesterton once wrote of the ‘thousand romances that lie secreted in The Origin of Species.’ Atwood has extracted one of the most hair-raising of them, and one of the most brilliant.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Oryx and Crake is Atwood at her best – dark, dry, scabrously witty, yet moving and studded with flashes of pure poetry. Her gloriously inventive brave new world is all the more chilling because of the mirror it holds up to our own. Citizens, be warned.”

    The Independent (U.K.)

  • “Oryx and Crake can hold its own against any of the 20th century’s most potent dystopias – Brave New World, 1984, The Space Merchants – with regard to both dramatic impact and fertility of invention.…Oryx and Crake showcases a nightmare version of the present era of globalization on a globe coming apart at its ecological seams.… It is a scathing (because bang-on) portrait of the way we live now.…Majestic.…”

    Washington Post

  • “Is there a more accomplished or versatile writer, in Canada, than Margaret Atwood?… Atwood is on top of the times – intuits them, really.… The moral questions of Oryx and Crake are already in play.”

    National Post (profile)

  • “Oryx and Crake is a broad canvas that allows Atwood to show off her brilliant talent for satire and wordplay, as well as her considerable love and knowledge of the natural world.”

    Quill & Quire

  • “Wonderfully vivid, and the sardonic unveiling of future history makes for a strong narrative drive.”

    National Post

  • “Towering and intrepid…Atwood does Orwell one better.”

    New Yorker

  • “Set in a future some two generations hence, Oryx and Crake can hold its own against any of the 20th century’s most potent dystopias—Brave New World, 1984, The Space Merchants—with regard to both dramatic impact and fertility of invention, while it leaves such lesser recent contenders as Paul Theroux and Doris Lessing in the dust.”

    Washington Post

  • “A compelling futuristic vision…Oryx and Crake carries itself with a refreshing lightness…Its shrewd pacing neatly balances action and exposition…What gives the book a deeper resonance is its humanity.”

    Newsday

  • “Atwood has long since established herself as one of the best writers in English today, but Oryx and Crake may well be her best work yet…Brilliant, provocative, sumptuous, and downright terrifying.”

    Baltimore Sun

  • “Her shuddering post-apocalyptic vision of the world…summons up echoes of George Orwell, Anthony Burgess, and Aldous Huxley…Oryx and Crake [is] in the forefront of visionary fiction.”

    Seattle Times

  • “A book too marvelous to miss.”

    San Diego Union-Tribune

  • “A landmark work of speculative fiction, comparable to A Clockwork Orange, Brave New World, and Russian revolutionary Zamyatin’s We. Atwood has surpassed herself.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2004 Audie Award Finalist
  • A 2003 Scotiabank Giller Prize Nominee
  • A 2003 Man Booker Prize Finalist
  • Shortlisted for the 2004 Orange Prize for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sierra | 2/17/2014

    " I wasn't sure about this one at first. I'm into dystopias lately, but Atwood is so dark and depressing that I wasn't sure I would make it through. And Snowman the narrator is not a likeable guy, so it was hard to stick with it at first. But I got into it eventually and the world was compelling with lots of things to ponder. I eventually became addicted. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shane | 2/14/2014

    " On one hand, this is a truly scary and well conceived dystopian novel. It explores the possible horrors of genetic manipulation in the wrong hands. However, I had trouble getting past the structure and the characters. First, the structure: The novel is told from the point of view of Snowman who is overseeing a new breed of humans. This is the future, and humanity seems to have mostly wiped itself out. But most of the actual story takes place in Snowman's past and tells of how he and his buddy Crake were involved in ending the world. By framing it this way, I had trouble connecting with the past, which really is the bulk of the novel. Plus the future, while interesting, is kind of boring - meaning that very little in the way of action happens; we spend most of our time learning about the new humans known as the Children of Crake. Second, the characters: Snowman (aka Jimmy) is whiny and kind of listless. Crake is an ass who is just smarter than everyone else, plus has no moral compass. Oryx is an interesting character, but she seems so lost by her early life as a sex slave that she is difficult to connect with; also, she is given the least attention of all the main characters. So, while I usually have no problem with very flawed characters, I really had trouble latching onto any of these three. They just seem so detached from the world. This is supposed to be a novel about the end of the world, but the POV's felt incredibly myopic. Snowman, Crake, and Oryx remain in their little bubbles and I rarely see much beyond what's ten feet in front of them, and this is often just a computer screen. No other characters stand out at all. There are no real side characters. So props to Atwood on the world building, she did a truly amazing job with this, but I struggled with the story elements. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin | 2/6/2014

    " 3.5. I am a sucker for dystopian/apocolyptic books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike | 1/30/2014

    " cdid not really like; confusing; could not believe Margaret Atwood wrote this! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anna | 1/22/2014

    " I really enjoyed this one, but like the Atwood books I've read, they make me go all "awww seriously?!" at the end, and it sort of annoys me too much for me to like them enough for for 4 stars (for for four, teehee). Other than that, I did enjoy the dystopian, lonely world, which didn't seem half as bad as the world before it. The characters were more likable than in Handmaid's Tale (which isn't necessarily saying much), but their motives and history were still partly a mystery to me, which was probably the point too, but I am the kind of annoying reader that I want things spelled out for me every now and then. All in all, I really liked reading the book, but I feel like I've been cheated out of clear explanations. A book that makes you think for yourself about things, the horror, THE HORROR! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenn | 1/4/2014

    " My sister told me this is one of the books she's read more than once. I finished it last night. Found it horribly depressing. Well written - needed a dictionary! - but ultimately it just sucked the life out of me. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood.......?! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 12/23/2013

    " Love Atwood and her dark humour! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael | 10/15/2013

    " A three-and-a-halfer if there ever was one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tahira | 9/1/2013

    " I don't really know how she does it, but Margaret Atwood really knows how to blow my mind. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan | 8/27/2013

    " If there is such a thing as a dystopian thriller this is it. The book moves at the pace of a Stieg Larsen novel but carries the weight of headier literature exploring bigger questions and deeper themes. Loved it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie | 7/26/2013

    " I'm not usually a fan of sci-fi, but I really like this one. I know, I hear dystopian sci-fi is different from your basic sci-fi, and I guess I agree. It was a page turner for me, I recommend it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jan | 2/21/2013

    " The second book's ending certainly makes a lot more sense now that I've read the preceding book. Good, but not great. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 1/27/2013

    " Love this book. It is a tad depressing at times, but still a great read! Looking forward to the 3rd installment of MaddAddam. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ruby | 11/6/2012

    " I studied this as part of my English Literature course and I really liked it. Very good plot, nice ending! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Traci | 8/5/2012

    " A terrific novel that sucks you into the character's life. Best read close to the same time as reading The Year of the Flood. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephen CM | 7/12/2012

    " The only thing missing were pigeons with talons and cockroaches with personalities. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Preethi | 4/16/2012

    " I love the writing and the plot... Its the pace of the story I didn't like. Its too slow for my liking. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brianne | 11/21/2011

    " This end of the world depiction is also a stark critique of our society. What frightens me, is that I feel that so many of the ideas in this book could actually happen and in fact be our undoing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Happyandmeticulous | 5/27/2011

    " I really enjoyed this book, I found the parts where Jimmy and Crake were growing up a little tedious and zeitgeisty. But overall it was a good read, intriguing, rewarding, horrifying but not overly bleak for it's subject matter. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 5/22/2011

    " Not a's good a's Year of the Flood - slower reading since it's told from just one persons perspective. But so impressed the way Atwood can create a vision of the future c "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Malysa | 5/22/2011

    " My second favourite Atwood novel, after Cat's Eye. You just can't argue her genius after reading this. Which I have, about 20 times now. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jan | 5/20/2011

    " I liked the book. Lots to think about. Atwood's style of writing is most engaging. The subject matter was definitely disturbing... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Richard | 5/20/2011

    " Atwood chooses, then polishes each word like a gemstone and assembles them in a breathtaking setting. She has a great pen for dialogue, she is funny when least expected, has a pickpocket's eye for human attributes and social problems. And she keeps you reading to the last syllable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 5/19/2011

    " A thought provoking book with great characters and compelling action. Atwood is the Queen of Speculative Fiction. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Zachary | 5/19/2011

    " Enjoyable, but I was expecting more. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alisa | 5/13/2011

    " Strange, post-apocalyptic kind of book. Very different from her other stuff. Didn't think I'd be into it, but liked it in spite of myself. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anya | 5/11/2011

    " Magnificent and clever writing of utterly disturbing because probable vision of the future "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 5/11/2011

    " My all-time favorite Margaret Atwood novel!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Doyle | 5/9/2011

    " I was fairly bored in the first half of this book, but it really picked up in the second half. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cassie | 5/6/2011

    " Really good. Liked the way that Atwood went back and forth. Never giving too much of how the end became what it was. Interesting way of creating a narrative how capitalism and greed will be the death of our civilization. Especially as Crake being the great equalizer incarnate. "

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