Hello, all! As this Sunday slowly draws to a close, I figured it was right about time to visit the wonderful world of the Sunday Salon! I finished Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body yesterday, the review of which is below, and since then I managed to put a good 200-page dent into Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake which is shaping up to be just as wonderful and just as creepy as I was hoping. So far, the creepiest scene is when Jimmy, the Snowman and narrator of the story, goes to visit Crake at what is, essentially, his college (called educational compounds in the book, as the idea of ‘college’ is a far antiquated one in the world in which the book is set) where the scientists are producing ChickieNobs, which are chickens that are born without beaks, feet, or heads, and are hooked up to a machine that basically grows chicken. That’s right. No more natural farms, no more animals that are actually born. Crake, Oryx, and Jimmy live in a world where questions like ‘is it real’ and ‘is it alive’ are common but relatively unimportant. Who cares if it’s real, as long as it functions?
I’m really, really enjoying the book so far. Atwood has long been one of my favorite authors, and this book just so wonderfully fits in to all the things I love about her – her humor, her irony, the sense that there is something really dark about her. I love it. Unfortunately, the love I have for this book (for all the books I’ve been reading lately, actually) may not be enough to compete with the extreme amount of homework currently staring down at me from the week ahead. As a brief preview of the list, this week will somehow have to include my getting through: Milton’s Paradise Lost, John Iliffe’s The African AIDS Epidemic: A History, Ishmael Reed’s Yellow Back Radio Broke Down and Mumbo Jumbo, the first half of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Chris Abani’s full-length novel Graceland. That’s right, those all have to be read – in their entirety – by Friday, many before then, as papers will of course have to be written. Ah, the life of a college undergrad, right?!
All the class work considered, if we’re all lucky, this week should also see reviews of Atwood’s book, as well as of the Abani novel, Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet and Heather Dewitt’s The Last Samuri. Lofty goals, indeed, but happy reading!