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Is it possible to read Oryx and Crake and be happy?

(30 Posts)
choosyfloosy Tue 13-Oct-09 23:57:21

I've read the first few pages of Oryx and Crake and it's v good, but is it the sort of book that stays with you for the rest of your life in a draining-the-life-out-of-you sort of way?

I'm definitely never going to read The Road, and it took me 20 years to get around to On The Beach - I'm not sure I'm mentally strong enough for post-apocalyptic literature.

Saw When The Wind Blows in the CHILDREN'S section of the library the other day. WTF?

MinkyBorage Wed 14-Oct-09 00:02:13

no, and I really know what you mean but it's a brilliant book and worth reading even though it stays with you

janeite Wed 14-Oct-09 18:28:05

No - and if you've read The Handmaid's Tale is probably not really worth bothering much as it really doesn't add much to the post-apocalyptic idea. Tbh it hasn't stayed with me and I was just a bit bored and frustrated by the end of it. Ditto The Road. WTWB is bloody brilliant though. I've not read The Beach.

What about On The Beach by Neville Shute? Or Brother In The Land by Robert Swindells? Both v good but perhaps not trying so hard to be 'great literature' as Ms Atwood is.

MinkyBorage Wed 14-Oct-09 19:23:04

I love Ms Atwood!! The Blind Assassin is brilliant, and I also enjoyed the handmaids tale. What is WTWB? I'm guessing I should know this, but tbh, I don't even know if I can read anymore. Hoping brain will re-engage soon!
Think op was talking about On The Beach and not The Beach

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Wed 14-Oct-09 19:31:21

I love Ms Atwood and all her works (although I haven't read them all)!

I loved Oryx and Crake - it seemed to deal with the same issues as Cloud Atlas, which was having its 15 minutes of fame at the time, but was far better written and far more compelling. I can't say, though, that it still haunts me. But then, nor does The Road. I don't retain the detail of what I read, I guess, just an impression or mood.

janeite Wed 14-Oct-09 20:08:27

Yes - sorry I misread - op was talking about On The Beach.

WTWB - When The Wind Blows - a post-nuclear picture book by Raymond Briggs of The Snowman fame - fab.

saintmaybe Wed 14-Oct-09 20:31:28

No, don't read it if you want to feel happy or if you want to like people. That's what I really dislike about Margaret Atwood; that 'well, is this what you want? because carry on like you are and that's what you're going to get!' air that her nasty dystopic visions of the future have, all said with a cat's bum mouth.

Did I mention that I'm not that keen on her? grin

ScaryFucker Wed 14-Oct-09 20:37:29

Margaret Atwood is truly a great writer, I love her fiction

CMOTdibbler Wed 14-Oct-09 20:38:56

I read it a couple of weeks ago, and did find it disturbing - much like the Handmaids Tale, it has lurked around in my mind

Heated Wed 14-Oct-09 20:48:10

Coincidence! Am struggling through Oryx and Crake right now but, to be fair, I'm only about 20 pages in. Dystopian fiction isn't my favourite genre but am ploughing my way through 1984, Handmaid's, Brave New World, Farenheit 451.

Can remember as a teenager reading at school Brother in the Land and another similarly themed text but the name of it escapes me - have a feeling there was creepy character called Mr Loomas in it.

choosyfloosy Wed 14-Oct-09 20:52:08

OK I think im not going to read the rest of it. if the future does endup like that id be pretty fed up that id spent the last few years of civilisation anticipating it...

i agree wtwb is very good but imo it should be in the adult's section of the library.

janeite Wed 14-Oct-09 20:54:08

Mr Loomis is in Z For Zacharia I think - not read that for years and years and can't remember it at all.

choosyfloosy Wed 14-Oct-09 20:54:38

blimey heated, are you really reading all those at once? See you on the Mental Health threads!!! wink

janeite Wed 14-Oct-09 20:55:06

Am not sure about WTWB - I think for children aged 9 or 10 upwards it's fine.

ScaryFucker Wed 14-Oct-09 20:57:47

have ordered those others mentioned from Amazon grin

I hope your recommendations are good !

ProcessYellowC Wed 14-Oct-09 21:04:53

I read it about a couple of years ago, and it hasn't really stayed with me. Although there is one image that pops into my head every time I consider eating chicken that isn't free-range organic..... (hope I've got the right book now)

electra Wed 14-Oct-09 21:06:50

I really enjoyed it - wasn't upset by it in a long term way, although it is gritty.

choosyfloosy Wed 14-Oct-09 21:19:39

janeite, interesting as that's exactly the age I would keep it away from. I think a lot of kids around 10 - 11 become aware of external threats and although that may be a normal developmental thing (not sure), I don't want to give that awareness such a graphic and hopeless visual form. Speaking as someone who read it at maybe 12 and has been haunted by it ever since. Plus freezing in fear at EVERY police siren between 1982 and 1989.

janeite Wed 14-Oct-09 21:31:34

See, I think by then, they have started to discuss things in history, will probably be beginning to watch the news and developing opinions and whilst it offers a horribly bleak picture, it also offers a beautifully portrayed and sympathetic picture of love and hope, without any of the cynicism of so many of the more 'modern' texts marketed to the age group. Providing they have an adult to discuss it with, I think it's fine. And much, much better than for eg: The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas.

Heated Wed 14-Oct-09 21:40:35

Because WTWB is done in cartoon form I've always found it disturbing, as it goes against expectation, maybe even more so for a child?

Am teaching A Clockwork Orange, hence all the dystopian fiction I'm reading, with a sideways lurch into some fabulous texts, like One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

elkiedee Wed 14-Oct-09 22:05:01

I found Oryx and Crake quite bleak. It's very well done but I prefer a lot of Atwood's other books. Because the main character is on his own apart from in his memory, there's a lack of interaction which is part of the point of the book, but I miss the character interaction which is something I like to have when reading a novel.

For anyone who does like post-apocalyptic or dystopian fiction, I also recommend Octavia Butler's The Parable of the Sower. Though again it's not altogether happy reading, perhaps there's a glimmer of hope at the end.

Bookswapper Wed 14-Oct-09 22:09:59


<hijacks politely>

do you wish to continue with our book circle (Second Circle) for next year?

I promise to send a better book grin

Monsterspam Wed 14-Oct-09 22:26:47

I did Cat's Eye for English A Level and found it quite disturbing. Don't think I've read any more of her work.

choosyfloosy Wed 14-Oct-09 22:38:18

Does it have any hope janeite? I don't remember any at all?

janeite Thu 15-Oct-09 19:55:28

Bookswapper - ooh yes please. I've loved being part of it. Which one was your book? Mine was a bit of a disaster too.

WTWB - hope in the sense of their continued love and resilience and own positive outlooks I guess. I really want to read it agian now but don't have a copy. Adds to Crimble list.

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