Ruth, a Japanese-American writer based in Waletown, British Columbia, finds a hello kitty lunchbox on the beach that carries within it the diary of Nao, a California-born teenager who moved to Japan with her family after her father lost his Silicon Valley job in the 90s. As Ruth becomes immersed in the drama of Nao’s life, she begins to worry that Nao’s journal was carried across the Pacific in a gyre after the 2011 tsunami.
These three novels tell stories from multiple characters’ viewpoints before, during, and after the “waterless flood” in which bioengineer Glenn causes a mass extinction event for humans through dissemination of a Viagra-like pharmaceutical drug called BlyssPluss. To replace humans, Glenn has bioengineered a new species, referred to as the Crakers, who are human-like but free from hierarchies and violence. The title of the novel, and the name Crakers, derive from the game Extinctathon about animals that have gone extinct, including the oryx (antelope) and crake (bird).