MOTIVATION for READING: I am in awe of Ms Atwood’s literary prowess. I mooched this and decided it would fit nicely into the Twenty in Ten Challenge spot of TBR.
WHAT it’s ABOUT: I keep hearing that song in my head ♫ ”It’s the end of the world as we know it.” ♫ REM, I think? ”And I feel fine.” (I feel fine because I loved this book.) We start with a guy waking up in a tree. He’s up in the tree so he can sleep without being eaten by the crazy animals (wolvogs, pigoons and snats OH MY!) that just might want to tear his body apart for a snack. The reader gets to be in his head as Jimmy aka Snowman reminisces. We slowly learn through his memories what is going on and how the world got to be in such a sad scary state. It’s a dystopian story of environmental degradation and then some; it’s speculative fiction and I loved it.
So why wasn’t this titled Snowman? What or who is Oryx and what was up with this guy named Crake? Answer: Oryx and Crake are Jimmy’s best and only friends.
What I loved and what I disliked most are the very same thing! Which shows me how powerful a story this truly is. I was impatient for Oryx to come into play. I was frustrated with Crake and his motivations. I loved Jimmy’s desire to hang onto the words. I loved the words! Words, words, glorious words!! But I had to look a lot of them up. I was so fortunate to have a full and ample dictionary* in the classroom I was in on Monday when I read this. I was fortunate that the computer assignment required me only to occasionally glance over the cherubs as they diligently created their reports.
I must be a fascinating (strange) substitute teacher because I was reading, chuckling, gasping, rummaging in the dictionary, etc – repeat – and then would take a quick break to walk the room and ‘spy’ on the student’s work to show I was ‘present and available.’
Atwood is so talented and creative. I am looking forward to The Year of the Flood which is more of the same but different if I understand the premise of her latest release. (Not a continuation/sequel but a parallel story line of the same time, right?) I knew I needed to read O&C before I get tempted by that.
Does anyone have a suggestion for my next Atwood read? I have Alias Grace in house so I probably will chose that but can always be talked into most anything. Just so you know; I first read The Handmaid’s Tale in 2008, then devoured The Blind Assassin which was very different but just as incredible, and now O&C.
BACK to the WORDS! Well, some of them. I only wrote down the ones when I didn’t have that wonderful dictionary at my fingertips.
mantid – slender? (mantis, like an insect?)
caecotroph – relates to the part of the digestive system of mammals
demiurge – being responsible for the creation of the universe
helot – a member of a class of serfs in ancient Sparta, intermediate in status between slaves and citizens.
poltroon – an utter coward
leman – a lover or sweetheart
queynt - an obsolete variant of quaint
“avoid pointless repinings”
“From now on he was going to be fancy-free, doing whatever he liked, picking globes of ripe life off the life trees, taking a bite or two, sucking out the juice, throwing away the rinds.”
“We are not here to play and dream, to drift; we have hard work to do, loads to lift.”
“Each one of us must tread the path laid out before him, or her, says the voice in his head, a man’s voice this time, the style bogus guru, and each path is unique. It is not the nature of the path itself that should concern the seeker, but the grace and strength and patience with which each and every one of us follows the sometimes challenging…
“Stuff it, says Snowman. Some cheap do-it-yourself enlightenment handbook, Nirvana for halfwits. Though he has the nagging feeling that he may well have written this gem himself. “
I will offer this book to anyone who might want it and leaves me a comment using one of my words in a creative sentence. I’ll pick a winner either by random or by ability to amuse me by April 9.
* is there anything much more frustrating than a dictionary that does not include the word you are looking for?!