Snowman has been taking care of the Crakers ever since his world exploded. He didn’t want to, but someone had to care for them, and he made a promise. Two to be exact. But one of them doesn’t matter much anymore.
The Crakers are the creation of Snowman’s old friend, Crake. They’re mostly like people, with some exceptions: their skin comes in every color known to man; their scent naturally repels mosquitos; their mating rituals includes bright blue reproductive organs; and their general naiveté.
Before the epidemic that nearly wiped out mankind, the Crakers lived in a huge, climate-controlled dome. They were well cared for, and Oryx came to them every day to teach them about plants and animals and how to live in the world. Snowman tries not to think about Oryx anymore. It’s too painful.
But the Crakers believe that Crake and Oryx are god-like, so he has to tell them stories about the two in order for them to behave in a way that will keep them alive.
The problem is, the Crakers have each other; Snowman doesn’t have anyone. As far as he knows, he’s the only human left alive. And he can’t rely on the Crakers for everything. So at some point, he has to scavenge.
Snowman makes the decision to go back to the compound. He hasn’t been back since he led the Crakers out, and he isn’t sure what he will find. But he has to go. If he doesn’t, he might not live.
“Oryx and Crake” by Margaret Atwood is much like “The Handmaid’s Tale” in that much of the novel takes place internally, specifically inside Snowman’s head and memories. The reader goes on a journey with Snowman to find provisions and, along the way, learns about what happened to make Snowman the last man and how he ended up babysitting the Crakers.
Overall, the novel is good. If you like Margaret Atwood, you’ll like this novel. The world is captivating because it’s our world but everything has just gone to hell in a handbasket.
The problem is that I wasn’t able to become invested in any of the characters. Snowman wasn’t the best person in the before time; Oryx was a victim of sex trafficking, which invokes empathy, but she’s fairly ambivalent about it so it’s difficult to feel too badly for her; Crake seems to be a sociopath; and the Crakers are too infantile, and don’t get enough screen time, to love too much. When there isn’t a relatable, lovable main character, how can the reader truly immerse themselves?
I would definitely recommend reading this book soely because it is the first in the MaddAdam trilogy, and you have to read this book in order to read the other two, which are far better novels.