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Le dernier homme (2003)
par Margaret Atwood
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Thought-provoking look at our world in fast forward. I enjoyed the way the author spliced the narrative with Snowman's flashbacks. ( )
I found it to be masterful storytelling, and from the publisher's blurbs in the back matter I can see I have much more Attwood in my future. Alas, most of the other books listed seem to be dystopias (as this one is). I'd love to see her write something more hopeful.
It was hard to put a star rating to this book because the writing was excellent and the premise fantastic but I was mostly bored throughout. I can't even put my finger on why I wasn't engaged but I wasn't. It's a shame, too, because craft-wise it's really quite good.
Atwood is a masterful storyteller. I loved Snowman and I enjoyed the way the narrative slowly divulged the details that lead to the present day. I was hooked from the beginning.
The trouble with Margaret Atwood's speculative fiction is that you can see that it could happen. While her scenario in this seems provocative, the tale of how Jimmy/Snowman arrives in this predicament is entirely logical and doesn't need a massive leap of faith anywhere. It manages to be chilling and yet leaves you with a degree of hope in the end.
Trying to describe this further is futile. it's excellent, read it.
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Oryx and Crake is a piece of dystopian fiction written from the point of Snowman (known as Jimmy in his former life) – the last human left on Earth. At least, he believes he’s the last human left on Earth until the end of the book.
I found the parts of the book describing Snowman’s journey to Paradice (the dome in the compound where Crake did his work) to be a lot less interesting than his recollections of his previous life as Jimmy. I loved reading about how Jimmy and Crake met, the little signs that Crake gave off as to what he might be planning and the direction his thoughts might take in the future (though Jimmy didn’t recognize these until it was too late), etc.
Crake is really the star of the show in this book in my mind – Jimmy simply acts as a vessel for us to learn about a character who is dead and who therefore cannot teach us about himself.
Snowman’s adventures in real time seem almost pointless to me. Why not dedicate the whole book to Jimmy’s friendship with Crake, with just a bit of general explanation as to what’s going on now? I think the present would have been much more interesting if the Crakers were explored more than Jimmy’s struggle to survive and come to grips with what Crake had done.
On the whole, however, I thought it was a great book.
Set sometime in the future, this post-apocalyptic novel takes scientific research in the hands of madmen to its logical and frightening conclusion. Inspiring readers to pay more attention to the world around them, Atwood offers cautionary notes about the environment, bioengineering, the sacrifice of civil liberties, and the possible loss of those human values which make life more than just a physical experience. As the novel opens, some catastrophe has occurred, effectively wiping out human life. Only one lonely survivor and a handful of genetically altered humanoids remain, and they are slowly starving as they try to adjust to their changed circumstances.
In Margaret Atwood's first attempt at writing a novel, the main character was an ant swept downriver on a raft. She abandoned that book after the opening scene and became caught up in other activities, which she has described as ''sissy stuff like knitting and dresses and stuffed bunnies.'' That certainly does not sound like Ms. Atwood, who is known for the boldness of her fiction. Of course she was only 7 at the time.
Margaret Atwood has always taken a jaundiced view of human nature. Back when her mordant observations about marriage and other relations between the sexes had her marked down as a feminist, she took pains to fire off several novels in a row featuring weak, manipulative, dishonest and outright bad women, partly to prove that her skepticism was distributed fairly. She has always been of the opinion that people are a mixed bag of the occasionally decent and the frequently mendacious and that there's not much anyone can do to change that fact.
Genetic tinkering. Rampant profiteering. A deadly virus that sweeps the globe. Are these last Tuesday's headlines or our future?
In Margaret Atwood's novel Oryx and Crake, the answer is both. For Atwood, our future is the catastrophic sum of our oversights. It's a depressing view, saved only by Atwood's biting, black humor and absorbing storytelling.
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Oryx and Crake is at once an unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey-with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake-through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining.
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Classification décimale de Melvil (CDD)813.54 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 20th Century 1945-1999
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