The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed . If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire - neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs….
©2011 Margaret Atwood (P)2011 Random House Audio Go
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This was my fest Margaret Atwood novel and I was amazed by the plot and writing. My only criticism is that although it was read beautifully - a younger sounding voice would have been more appropriate.
"Narrator excellent. Prose beautiful, plot meh"
A very neat stroke to have this American set tale read by a very Englishwoman. And she did so excellently. So often an author will fill in the emotional context for a sentence one or two sentences later. Joanna David, the narrator, clearly took this task seriously and must have read each passage quite carefully before deciding how to read. This could otherwise have been a very monotonous novel given how much of it goes on inside one character's head.
As for the writing, it was beautiful and perceptive as expected from Atwood and makes me want to get my money out of a bank right away.
However, in comparison to the Maddaddam series which has many elements of form and content in common, it's clear that her storycraft - mastery of plot and suspense - were honed and improved since this was written. At points she even seems to break the 4th wall and confess that she has no particular idea where this is going. She will likely have justified this lack in the name of verisimilitude being that it's story about someone who has written a diary so she'd want the feel that this was an unremarkable, representative example of a handmaid's life. That's a copout.
Still, if you like Atwood this is a must and it's a great reminder of how fragile any free society could be.
"I wish I'd read it sooner."
My only regret is that I took so long before reading this title. I have read many of MA's books, but I can see why this is regarded as a classic.
As always MA manages to be spot on with her insights into human hubris and desire framed in her familiar futuristic dystopias that feel only too plausible to be comfortable. I particularly like the epitaph that managed to put both the narrator and the reader in their place. Fantastic novel.
A great story really well narrated. So easy to get into and captured the characters really well.
"Great text thoughtfully narrated"
I'm a big Atwood fan and really enjoyed this audio version. It's unabridged, which is great, and the narration is excellent. The character of Offred is thoughtfully portrayed and emotionally conveyed. As always, the the book is really easy to navigate.
I really struggled with this. I'm not sure if it was the story or narrator or both. I managed to listen to it all but then got annoyed with the ending. not my cup of tea
Joanna Davids narration was the only thing that kept this going.
I have had this on my wish list for sometime and was rather dissapointed,
It just did not engage, rather than feeling for the women and the lives they led, I got a bit bored which I am sure is not what Ms Attwood would want.
"Ruined by the narrator"
Definitely not. Took a long time to get used to the narrator, who would be more suited to Pride and Prejudice than this. Would be miles better with the right narrator. Wish I had read the book rather than listened.
That said the story grew on me despite reminding me of 1984. A lot.
Totally the wrong accent! Up market English for an American story where the main character is your average woman? Big mistake.
No but this was due to the narrator. Would most likely have given a different response to the right narrator, or if I had read the book.
"Gripping and thought provoking"
This was the first book by Margaret Atwood I ever read, and I had concerns whether it would work as an audiobook, because there is so little 'action'. However the excellent narration keeps you hooked and accentuates perfectly. And the book and it's message are more topical than ever - sometimes I wonder if it is a prophecy, not just dystopian fiction.
"My favourite audiobook so far"
Absolutely. I was hooked for the duration of the book!
Joanna's performance was fantastic. She really brought the character to life as well as the setting of Gilead.
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