I have been reading this book over the last couple of weeks while away on holiday which I now suspect was a mistake. Although a short book it is a far from simple read and I now feel needs to be read with little or no distractions not in the odd bit here and there as I did.
Like all Margaret Atwood books that I have read so far the content of the book was very different from others written by the same author. However other aspects of the book were much the same. Margaret Atwood books all seem to be written in layers and this one was no exception. As the story unfolds the reader begins to feel as if nothing is as it seems. The problem I found with this book was that there were just so many layers that I got somewhat lost.
The beginning of the book seems straight forward enough, a young woman returns to the remote island of her childhood with her lover and two friends when her father is reported missing. That I understood. However it is not long before the reader begins to see cracks in the relationships of both couples and to understand that the young womans past has not been straight forward either.
About half way through the book I began to feel as if I was getting a bit of a grip on the story. It appears that the young woman had tried to block a previous experience from her mind. As her stay upon the island continues more and more of the real event begins to return to her and the reader can see her trying to finally come to terms with what has happened. However, this is so muddled up with the present and the relationships between the four and her past life on the island with her parents and older brother that I soon felt as if I was losing my way again. So much so that by the end of the book I simply had no idea what I was supposed to be gaining from the book.
I am sure that this is a brilliant book just that I read it at the wrong time. I could do with somebody explaining it all to me. I would like to say that I will give it another go when I have a clearer mind but if I am honest I know that this will not happen. Not a book I enjoyed.
Hey Guys! It's my first topic so I'm sorry if it's in the wrong place but I am about to go into my final year of my A Levels and I have a coursework component to plan for and complete before November. I have to pick a novel/play to compare to another novel/play based around a theme, my tutor said it would be best to pick four possible comparisons (so two sets of novels/plays).
So far I only have one set: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and The Island Of Dr Moreau by H.G Wells. I am planning to compare these two novels based on the theme of self-induced isolation.
Can any of you guys help me pick a novel/play that would be good to compare to Margaret Atwood's Oryx And Crake? I have just finished reading it and I loved it but I am at a loss as to what I could compare it too, if you guys could also give me ideas on what themes I could write about in my coursework that would be greatly appreciated!
I started this book a few days ago having purchased it on the advice of another reader, BB I think it was you. I am about half way through and am beginning to love Margaret Atwood more and more. I have read four other books by this author all of which have been very different story wise from one another and again this book is no exception. The similarities are the writing, brilliant in all cases, and the quirky female characters. You cannot help but feel that Margaret Atwood understands the female psyche in all it's forms and is not afraid to portray it. I do sometimes feel that she is having a good laugh at some of us.
The Edible Woman is set in the sixties and describes the life of Marion, a young graduate in her late twenties. Marion has a very strong minded room mate called Ainsley, a very proper fiance called Peter and a married friend called Clara about to give birth to her third child. Life for Marion seems to be progressing in much the way that she had expected so why does she not feel happier about it?! At various times Marion sits and daydreams making up more and more far fetched scenarios and imagining how she would behave. I cannot help but think of the TV programe Ally McBeal which RG and I watched a number of years ago and wonder if the idea for Ally's daydreams came from this book! I loved the daydream scenes in the TV programe as I do in this book.
Like many Atwood books The Edible Woman is slightly 'off the wall'. Atwood seems to pick a common behaviour pattern or character flaw and exagerate it in her characters. Her characters are never boring although sometimes they are annoying and in the case of Zenia in The Robber Bride far from likable.
Marion is certainly likable enough although at the beginning of the book at least she is slightly dull. This I think is the point used to highlight the fact that the lives of most women at the time the book was set were dull, their ambitions nothing much more than the desire to marry and set up a comfortable home. Marion thinks that this is what she desires until the oppotunity comes along. She then spends the majority of her time rebelling against her desired future.
The book is wittily written and I find myself reading it with a smile on my face. Were all young women really that dull in the sixties?
Bodily Harm by Margaret Atwood is a somewhat difficult book for me to review because it is hard for me to separate my experience of reading it from the quality of the book itself. This was an uncomfortable read for me, with its slowly building, but everpresent, sense of menace and vulnerability.
Ronnie is a lifestyle and fashion journalist, a skimmer of surfaces, who has recently come face to face with her own mortality in the form of breast cancer, resulting in a partial mastectomy. Then her boyfriend moves out, due to a combination of Rennie pushing him away and his own distaste for her disfigured breast and the flavor of death her cancer has wrought. Then a break in to her unoccupied apartment is foiled by alert neighbors. But the probable assailant leaves behind a scary length of rope, which destroys the few remaining shreds of her security. Desiring escape from all of these complications to her life Rennie coerces her editor into assigning her a travel piece about a recently independent Caribbean nation. But it's not all fun-in-the-sun in St. Antoine, and nobody she encounters is quite what they seem, as the days lead up to an election wherein the corrupt ruling bodies are at risk of displacement.
The prose is excellent, as usual for Atwood.
There is even humor, of the gallows, wisecracking type. The structure is more disjointed than seemed necessary, and at times really disrupted the flow of the book. But it was never extremely confusing. The basic message of the book was that safety and security are an illusion, that people are inherently selfish and dishonest, and that even if you muddle through those minefields, your own body will betray you. All of which is undoubtedly true. But it's not the whole story. There was misery and satisfaction but no joy in this book, and lust and lust for power but no love. Yet isn't that what makes this duality that we live in bearable, that the pendulum must swing back to the other side?
So while this was a well written and very believable novel I simply cannot recommend something that teaches that despair, rather than hope, is the proper attitude to life. And this is counter to what I've felt upon finishing Atwood's other novels, which, for all their bleakness, still called upon us to search for the color and the light in the world. 4stars for hitting her mark, 2stars for what the mark was, averages out to 3stars.
By Ting Mikyunyu
MADDADDAM is the last in the Oryx and Crake trilogy.
It is set during the year following the “waterless flood”, the disease engineered by Crake to wipe out humanity. The flood left behind isolated human groups and individuals that begin to find each other. Not all of them are as ‘good’ as the few surviving God’s Gardeners. The ‘ungood’ are a trio of ‘Painballers’ - killer criminals who survived the ultimate penalty of the justice system.
The most important group of survivors are the Crakers, the humanlike beings engineered by Crake to replace the human race. Unfortunately, the Crakers are ill-equipped to handle evil, having been created without any understanding of wrongness and without fear. They are - at least for now - naked, vegetarian, having an unusual mating habit, a natural insect repellent, and a unique vocal structure that allows them to purr (for healing purposes) and to sing. They can also speak.
This novel gathers together all the separate threads from ‘Oryx and Crake’ and ‘The Year of the Flood’. The technique for this is storytelling, as in the stories told by Toby, a God’s Gardener, to the Crakers, after an incident that draws the two groups together for mutual support. As they learn to cooperate in a rapidly disintegrating environment, they soon realise that they cannot continue much longer without assistance. The Painballers are an approaching threat. With the telepathic, interpretive skills of the Crakers, Pigoons (a species created by splicing human intelligence into pigs brains) become a cooperating partner.
The storytelling of Toby (a middle-aged woman) becomes less prominent as the action intervenes. As a technique it could have been boring but Atwood writes it in a unique way, so effective that from it we learn a great deal about the Crakers without them having to utter a word. An example of the beginning of a Toby story:
MaddAddam is a fitting finale to this trilogy. Atwood’s imagination remains at peak level to the conclusion. Her similes continue to astound. Her sense of colour continues to enhance our imagination. Her humour and wit remain unabated. Her predictions of what is to come - what is almost upon us - are as horrifyingly plausible as ever.