Claire Dannes did a wonderful job! I have avoided the A-List because I enjoy the "professionals" that do so well reading Dickens, Tolstoy, Martin, etc. I wasn't sure if the crossover from screen acting would translate into interesting narration. It clearly does.
I loved the story, and the performance made it even more disturbing (in a good way). I highly recommend The Handmaid's Tale.
When looking at dystopian novels, the scariest part is looking at our present and seeing the seeds of it in our current society. The seeds of The Handmaid's Tale are in every fundamental religious home and community. It's in every child that is told to be obedient to God just because and every woman who is subservient to her husband because of scripture. It isn't far from there before woman are baby machines and kept ignorant for their own purity and good.
On top of being eerily believable, the book is beautifully written. It's a classic that easily makes my list of best science fiction books ever written.
Claire Danes was a wonderful choice for narration. While I can't say that I would want her to narrate any other books, I can say that she was absolutely the right choice for this one.
Incredibly well written, but I am not sure I would have enjoyed this book as much without the fantastic narration.
With the feel of "The Road" meets "1984" meets "Children of Men" (all of which I enjoyed), this was more a journal than it was a story with a beginning, middle, and end.
I'm not sure I would read this again, but I am glad that I did. Well worth my time.
A well-written and interesting dystopian novel. Given how famous it is, I was a bit disappointed. But I tend to be a little impatient with the method of narration that keeps many things mysterious and leaks out what's going on bit by bit. Still, it's an impressive feat of imagination. The narration was decent, but somewhat lacking in variety of voice or tone.
I had read this book many years ago, and love it, so I was looking forward to reliving it through an audiobook. Unfortunately, I found Claire Danes' narration to be wooden and rather unemotional, and that really hindered the effect of the great story and writing. My sister also listened to this book and had a very different reaction to the narration - she though it was great and that there was a lot of emotion in her reading. Go figure. It turns out we also have very different reactions to Claire Danes' acting - I think she's rather wooden there too and think she's the weak link actor in movies and TV shows (why didn't I think of that sooner?)
So, while The Handmaid's Tale is a great book, my guess as to whether you'll like this audiobook will depend on whether you like the (acting) work of Claire Danes. If you think she's a great (or even "really good" actress) then listen to this, because the story and writing by Margaret Atwood are terrific. If you don't like her other work, then buy the printed book instead.
I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.
Nor is every story meant to end with a Disneyland version of reality. All isn't well at the end of "The Handmaids Tale".
Thats the point, people...and I'm astounded at the reviews that complained there was "No Action" No Ending." Hollywood and most chick stories have forced us to believe that all will be well in the end. Happily ever after rules.
Well..no it doesn't. In "Handmaids Tale" the story simply ends and it's even more effective in that abrupt finish. Atwood knows her primary readership has the intelligence to realize that without it continuing to strive for equality all women will suffer in the end. For each Malala there are 100 more who don't live thru the fatwa. If you haven't read or listened to "I am Malala" and you need a encouraging story, I suggest you read/listen that that wonderful book. It's not "Handmaids Tale" however.
Or read Sherri S. Tepper's "Gate to Womans Country", a different take on a dystopian future and just as dramatic. That has a sort of happy ending, however I don't believe it's on Audible as of 2013..sadly.
Claire Danes is a wonderful, emotive narrator....she brought a much loved and reverred book to life for me. Thanks Ms. Danes for bringing OfFred to the world, for bringing Serena-Joy to the most sympathetic view possible and for bringing the Marthas into a reality I wouldn't want but would be compelled to live, were this to take place tomorrow...and it could. Thats the frightening thing. It could happen! And soon, if things change just a bit in our country. In the novel, OfFred remembers 'today' as we know it now but lives in a terrible 'tomorrow' with no change in sight.
Be you a woman or man..this is a wonderful novel to consider if literature is a than sci-fi viable part of your reading...not a lot of action..it isn't Stephen King. The end is abrupt and doesn't wind up in a bow like a pretty package..it isn't Nora Roberts. It's more sci-Fantasy than sic-fi but isn't werewolves or dragons. I'd compare it to 1984 more than Wind-Up Girl.
This is a horrible possibility for the work we live in should the word 'rights' come to mean something different than it does now.
Well worth your credit or purchase..on sale now!
This book has been on my wish list for some time. I was just waiting for the right opportunity. So well reviewed! Arthur C. Clarke award. It all sounded amazing, including the synopsis.
I am 3/4 of the way through and I am ready to give up. I remember now why Margaret Atwood was on my blacklist from about 12 years ago. It's all coming back to me.
There is hardly any plot progression. The narration is first person and meanders through an ENDLESS internal dialogue with incessant flashbacks, meanwhile, in the present tense - nothing is happening. Everything is unnecessarily over-described. Every thought, every emotion, every item in the room. The clock, the mantle, the wallpaper in the bathroom (Small flowers, forget-me-nots, purple). I don't need car chases, hijacks and bombs, but this is just exasperating.
I get the symbolism, the eggs, the eyes, the flowers. I get the themes, but it all seems like tokenism. They all seem 'glued onto the outside'.
When I come back to the book, I am rewinding and forwarding through the book, all to try to find the place where I was the last time I listened, to remember what was happening, who did what, who said what, even though it was 4 hours ago when I last listened. There are no plot points to attach a memory to.
I would press on, but I read the ending was a disappointment too...so I am in a dilemma.
I think I just don't like her writing style. 90% of the plot happened in the past and is meted out in tiny portions and almost nothing happens in the present, which is slow and overly descriptive. Not my thing.
Someone with more patience, and who doesn't expect the story to go anywhere.
Less description, more action. A better conclusion. A more realistic dialogue - OfFred would not have remembered all of those details about feeling and thinking post-escape. We know that OfFred makes it out somehow to record her tapes, so a hint at what happens to her would give the reader some satisfaction.
She did an excellent job. Great intonation and style.
Such an entertaining listen. Margaret Atwood's excellent prose is given so much life by Danes! It was like she was acting out the novel just for me. I suppose she was in a way. Again, Atwood's prose is excellent. Her words flow like water at times. I don't know if that had more to do with Danes' fantastic narration, but I suspect if I had read the book myself, I would come to the same conclusion.
I am not ashamed to admit that I did peek at the Spark Notes online a few times just to get some clarification and further explanation, and it really helped to open my eyes as far as Biblical references and things of that nature. I'm not the most studied person when it comes to the Bible or religious studies. I did also have a bit of a head-scratching moment at the end of the novel, too, in the Historical Notes section, because hearing the names of the professors and locations mentioned didn't make sense to me until I saw them written out on virtual paper. So reading the character list and details off the Spark Notes was of great service to me as well, and that gave me a better sense of the ending.
The Handmaid's Tale is interesting, scary and strange to think about. Definitely makes me appreciate my life and all things in it. If you have the opportunity to give this book a listen, I highly recommend it. Even if you don't understand all of it at first, Claire Danes will definitely hold your attention with her skillful narration, and you can dig deeper later.
It's an amazing novel and Claire Danes' performance is fabulous. She absolutely does the work justice.