I remember battling through this for A Level English Literature – and appreciating it but not as much as I could have done. Fast forward (many) years and a TV series later and it’s completely different!
I absolutely love that this is narrated by Elisabeth Moss who portrays June/Offred in the series. Her voice is brilliant and having watched the series the book is brought to life so much more. Which isn’t always a good thing… it can be quite…graphic…
But it’s hugely powerful. It’s compelling and it’s original and it is extremely well written. Margaret Atwood tackles major issues and wild concepts that when you pause to think…don’t seem all that wild after all.
This is a rich book – rich ideas – rich words and powerful language. If, like me, you had to read this years ago for an essay… read it again now, just because. And wonder how much closer we are to this kind of world than back in 1985.
About the book…
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now . . .
Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.
About the author…
Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master’s degree from Radcliffe College.
Throughout her writing career, Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and honourary degrees. She is the author of more than thirty-five volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction and is perhaps best known for her novels, which include The Edible Woman (1970), The Handmaid’s Tale (1983), The Robber Bride (1994), Alias Grace (1996), and The Blind Assassin, which won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000.
Ms. Atwood’s work has been published in more than forty languages, including Farsi, Japanese, Turkish, Finnish, Korean, Icelandic and Estonian.