Oryx and Crake

Margaret Atwood’s latest book, a bio-apocalyptic tale that takes on genetic engineering and emerging viruses, has been generating lots of commentary.

Lorrie Moore referred to it in a recent New Yorker as a “towering and intrepid new novel.” Last week Slate offered a round-up of reviews from Moore and other impressed critics, one of whom said, “what saves Atwood’s nightmare vision from didacticism is her gift for the arresting detail, the little rockslides that augur the avalanche.”

I’m just not convinced. The Handmaid’s Tale, while powerful enough as a parable, was so didactic to my ear that I swore off all Atwood books after reading it. I don’t mind some of her (dark) love poems, though.

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