Set in the near future, in a totalitarian theocracy which has overthrown the United States government, The Handmaid's Tale explores themes of women in subjugation. The character is one of a class of individuals kept as ‘handmaids’ for reproductive purposes in an era of declining births. The images of emptiness are one of the most striking aspects of this novel-the effect is chilling.
I missed this one growing up, and worried that the book wouldn’t hold up to the off-the-charts hype. I’m happy to say this gorgeous, absolutely mesmerizing book is as relevant and engrossing today as ever. Offred’s story is so touching (and terrifying), because the world she inhabits feels so close to our own, with diction that feels positively poetic.
The original feminist dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale is a book by one of the most talented writers of our time. Certain truths within it can be painful to read, but there’s also so much beauty in this survival story of a woman who has all of her rights stripped away by a totalitarian, patriarchal regime. A true classic that every American ought to read.
I missed this one growing up, and worried that the book wouldn’t hold up to the off-the-charts hype. I’m happy to say this gorgeous, absolutely mesmerizing book is as relevant and engrossing today as ever. Offred’s story is so touching (and terrifying), because the world she inhabits feels so close to our own, with diction that feels positively poetic. — Jax
An instant classic and eerily prescient cultural phenomenon, from “the patron saint of feminist dystopian fiction” (New York Times). Now an award-winning Hulu series starring Elizabeth Moss.
Look for The Testaments, the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, available now. In Margaret Atwood’s dystopian future, environmental disasters and declining birthrates have led to a Second American Civil War. The result is the rise of the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian regime that enforces rigid social roles and enslaves the few remaining fertile women. Offred is one of these, a Handmaid bound to produce children for one of Gilead’s commanders. Deprived of her husband, her child, her freedom, and even her own name, Offred clings to her memories and her will to survive. At once a scathing satire, an ominous warning, and a tour de force of narrative suspense, The Handmaid’s Tale is a modern classic.
Includes an introduction by Margaret Atwood
About the Author
Margaret Atwood, whose work has been published in thirty-five countries, is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. In addition to The Handmaid’s Tale, her novels include Cat’s Eye, short-listed for the 1989 Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; Oryx and Crake, short-listed for the 2003 Man Booker Prize; The Year of the Flood; and her most recent, MaddAddam. She is the recipient of the Los Angeles Times Innovator’s Award, and lives in Toronto with the writer Graeme Gibson.
"A novel that brilliantly illuminates some of the darker interconnections between politics and sex . . . Just as the world of Orwell's 1984 gripped our imaginations, so will the world of Atwood's handmaid!" —The Washington Post Book World
"The Handmaid's Tale deserves the highest praise." —San Francisco Chronicle
"Atwood takes many trends which exist today and stretches them to their logical and chilling conclusions . . . An excellent novel about the directions our lives are taking . . . Read it while it's still allowed." —Houston Chronicle