Pamela Norris

The Snowman’s Tale

Oryx and Crake


Bloomsbury 378pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

MARGARET ATWOOD’S Oryx and Crake manages to be simultaneously bleak, witty and immensely enjoyable, no mean feat given that its subject is the destruction of humankind. Set in an unspecified location in North America, perhaps towards the end of the twenty-first century, it begins with a man waking up in a tree somewhere close to the sea. Protected hm the burning sun by a dirty sheet and dark glasses with one lens missing, he appears to be almost the sole survivor of some catastrophe, his only companions a group of genetically reprogrammed humanoids known as the Children of Crake. Ths relic of a vanished civilisation now answers to the name of Snowman, but he used to be Jimmy, a small boy living with his parents in one of the protected areas called the Compounds. Jirnrny’s father was a ‘genographer’, and had helped to pioneer the ‘pigoon’ project, the modification of pigs to enable them to act as hosts to human-tissue organs. Each pigoon was capable of growing five or six ludneys at a time. Decades later, the Compounds

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Tarantino's latest film is 'a fairy tale about Hollywood, where fantasy is an industrial product and the boulevards… ,
    • 'I don’t think we’re here on Earth to be Happy. I think we’re here on Earth to help God. I am a messianic writer'.… ,
    • 'Darley’s book is not a mad dash through this most compelling and complex of English counties. Nor is it another ti… ,
    • 'Moser’s book offers such a gripping account of a profoundly damaged human being, trapped in a cycle of repetition,… ,
    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,