And our futuristic June Book of the Month is...ORYX AND CRAKE by Margaret Atwood (discussion Tue 30 June)

(39 Posts)

Booker and Orange Prize shortlisted ORYX AND CRAKE is the clear winner of our June Book of the Month poll, with THE ROAD in second place.

We'll be chatting about ORYX AND CRAKE on Tuesday 30 June from 8pm to 10pm. Hope you can join us!

Don't forget you can order your copy here

And, for anyone who missed out on the vote here were June's book choices and this is how Book Club works.

mollyroger Wed 27-May-09 13:43:36

god I love this book. Though it drives me insane that dh will not read it, even though he is a huge science fiction fan, because he refuses to believe a woman can write good science fiction. hmm
It is not helped by the fact that the film version of the handmaiden's tale is the only exposure he has had to Margaret Atwood.

WibblyPigRocks Wed 27-May-09 14:22:49

Fab - always meant to read this and now this will make me do it.

Mollyroger - that film version of THT IS rubbish!! I loved the book so much and was very disappointed by the film. Although, it did make me reconsider my feelings about the ending. I thought I was annoyed that so few answers were given at the end, but when the film seemed to give some of these answers (sorry - being deliberately vague in case anyone reading this doesn't want to know what happens!), I realised I didn't want those answers after all and the book was far better without them. Almost as if Atwood knew what she was doing... wink

Babbity Wed 27-May-09 17:35:07

mollyroger I'm exactly the same. DH has shelvesful of SF but refuses to read Oryx and Crake. I'm a huge Atwood fan; really looking forward to the discussion on this one.

Louby3000 Wed 27-May-09 19:29:10

I have just gotten onto mUMSNET AND i am really excited about this book club, have set a reminder on my mobile, so should be here fully read up. I did recently read the book, but will give it a 2nd going over. I love Margaret Atwood.

Ponders Wed 27-May-09 22:13:09

I read O & C recently, didn't like it a bit, kept going out of curiosity & then felt let down by the ending.

Haven't read the Handmaid's Tale for years, does that have a flat ending too? (Or is WPR talking about O & C? am confused...)

iris66 Thu 28-May-09 19:15:11

oooh just saw the tagline thingy for this. Brilliant book. I loved it first time around will re-read soonest smile

ohh, I don't normally do bookclub (keeping up with my rl one is enough) but might be tempted in with this...

And I know what you mean about the ending to THT - you want to know, but you don't ...

WibblyPigRocks Thu 28-May-09 19:57:48

I was talking about Handmaid's Tale, but I don't know that I'd call the ending flat - there is just an awful lot left unsaid. Funnypeculiar has hit the nail on the head - there are things you think you want to know but you also don't.

KidCreolesCoconut Sun 14-Jun-09 18:23:32

is it better than home shite?

WibblyPigRocks Fri 26-Jun-09 18:59:08

I've just finished this and I'm really looking forward to discussing it. On the whole, I really enjoyed it - there are a few bits that I wasn't sure about of course, but I'll safe them for next Tues!

odisco Sun 28-Jun-09 22:38:03

This book still makes me think - and still gives me the creeps. She's an amazing writer, her books are really memorable in a sea of forgettable tomes....

She does make you feel you are in the hands of an expert. Some of this book wasn't quite my bag, but it is always on my mind. I can't look at the real world without seeing it morph strangely into her nightmare future.

Can't wait to discuss tomorrow, see you all at 8.

squilly Mon 29-Jun-09 14:16:21

There are so many comparisons between life today and great chunks of this book. I'm guessing that specifics can't be entered into until the month is done? Is that the way it works?

I so want to mention one bit, especially as I'm dining out tonight and it has such resonance. I shall, however, shut up now before I spill the beans.

I love Margaret Atwood. The Handmaid's Tale was a fantastic read, but I think I like Alias Grace more. She just weaves such beautiful stories with great characters.

jkklpu Mon 29-Jun-09 21:24:38

Have a real soft spot for O&C because it was one of the many novels I read in the last few weeks waiting for the arrival of ds1. And I happen to have read it straight after Cloud Atlas, which I REALLY hated for lots of reasons. And O&C vindicated one of those as it was a million times better than the futuristic section of Cloud Atlas. I'm not a sci-fi fan, but thought this was excellent.

Enjoy the discussion.

squilly Mon 29-Jun-09 22:29:24

Oh...I loved Cloud Atlas! I'm a real sci-fi (well more fantasy) fan and I just loved the way it knitted together at the end. It was a bit weak on the future bit though, you're right, but not weak enough for me to have disliked it.

I have to say that though I like Oryx and Crake, I did prefer Cloud Atlas and I enjoyed Aldous Huxley's Brave New World even more. Having said that, there wasn't a lot between the three books for me, though clearly, they're all quite different visions of the future.

Dior Mon 29-Jun-09 22:49:15

This is one of my favourite reads in the last few years. MA can write either wonderful or terrible books. I have read several of each! This one blew me away - it was nothing like anything else I had ever read.

Evening everyone

There is so much to discuss on this book I'm uncertain where to start. Here is a scattergun (should that be spraygun) approach to kick off with:

Do we think Crake is a psychopath who could have existed at any age, or did that environment make him a very particular killer?

I wasn't convinced by character of Oryx - she was the weakest link for me, a sort of plot device to bring about the destruction that Crake obviously was hovering around but hadn't yet performed. Did you believe in the love story?

The trick I loved was Atwood taking some issue of the present - YouTube, reality TV, shopping malls - and spinning it forward. The game Blood and Roses or the Noodie News: it was brilliantly imagined. I could see some TV execs thinking the nightie-nite Suicide programme might be a goer. She wrote the book in 2001/2: I wonder if she thinks it is eerie how much closer we've come to her vision?

And the ending....well, my guess is that he killed them. Or tried to. Because he was protecting something very like a child. But it was a very clever reduction, from all the technology and sophistication of civilisation to one human wondering whether to bash another one, in case they get bashed first. Humans will always be human, whatever the environment. When the Crakers have to sing and dream, because its 'hard-wired' i wondered if there were any other things you'd add to that list: worship seems to be one.

Speaking of which, do you think the creation myths he tells the Crakers are comforting to them? Should he have just told them the truth? It reminded me of answering Why questions from my 3 year old - that you get tangled up in knots trying to make things simple and essentially happy/good.

grandmabet Tue 30-Jun-09 20:01:01

Well, reading the comments posted so far, it seems I might be the only one who did not like this book. However, when I first read it in 2003, on publication, I remember thinking what a fantastic read it was. Second time around I found it pretty puerile and skipped large parts of it. I wonder if our enjoyment of a book is influenced by world events as much as those in our personal like. 2003 was a very different Britain from that in 2009 - maybe that's why I found this book so unbelievable now.

Pinickins Tue 30-Jun-09 20:05:11

Just wanted to start off by saying that I'm new to Book Club and was a bit dubious on the book choice, thinking that I don't usually read this kind of thing, (..which was exactly why I wanted to join book club - to shake things up a bit!) but loved it. Looking forward to discussion.

Pinickins Tue 30-Jun-09 20:08:06

Agree with you granmabet - I could see so much of what is going on around us in the book - swine flu etc etc and I think this added to my enjoyment of the novel. Yes, strange that it was written in 2003 - Attwood surely must see have realised the way things were going....

Bagabee Tue 30-Jun-09 20:13:57

Have not yet finished the book, thanks to six month old ds' demands!, but love the way, as with THT, Atwood uses the futuristic setting to throw into relief the basic human responses that are common to us all. In THT, loved the challenge it threw to the reader in terms of how they would respond - and am hoping O&C will do the same. Do others agree or is this wide of the mark? Having said that, am finding many of Crake's memories very purile - but perhaps that's how blokes think and Atwood's got it spot on!

grandmabet, am interested about second time round. Do you think its because the comparisons and the clever brand names etc lose their impact and there isn't much of an emotional core to the actual characters?

Sometimes Tom Stoppard gets hauled up for being too clever-witty and not emotional. Although I think Atwood is both witty and emotional, I did feel that this book relied on jokes not feelings.

Bagabee Tue 30-Jun-09 20:20:57

Make that puerile!
Agree much of the book, written in 2003, is frighteningly prophetic - it's scary how spot on many of her nightmare scenarios are (swine flu, GM etc.) - as with THT. A Cassandra we ignore at our peril!

grandmabet Tue 30-Jun-09 20:21:58

Yes, I think you're spot on - I did not find an emotional core in any of the characters and the way things are going now in the world it all seemed a bit childish. I was intereted in the post which actually had this book in the same sentence with Brave New World. I really loved that many years ago - maybe read that again to see what impact that has now. I thought it was all too clever and trying to be witty, which is fine as long as there's something serious to hang it all on to.

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