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The Handmaid's Tale | [Margaret Atwood]

The Handmaid's Tale

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name....
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential - Margaret Atwood’s modern classic is one of the most stunning and powerful works of speculative fiction ever written, and it took a lot of careful consideration to determine who would best narrate this important book. Claire Danes elevates the frightening dystopic vision by lending a sheen of reality with her performance. She doesn't act, and she doesn't need to. She recounts. She breathes out the tale as if she is living it. Resigned, beaten down, traveling through hell by putting one step ahead of the other. I was utterly convinced by her performance. —Emily

Publisher's Summary

Audie Award, Fiction, 2013

Margaret Atwood's popular dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale explores a broad range of issues relating to power, gender and religious politics. Multiple Golden Globe award-winner Claire Danes (Romeo and Juliet, The Hours) gives a stirring performance of this classic in speculative fiction, one of the most powerful and widely read novels of our time.

After a staged terrorist attack kills the President and most of Congress, the government is deposed and taken over by the oppressive and all controlling Republic of Gilead. Offred, now a Handmaid serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife, can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Despite the danger, Offred learns to navigate the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules in hopes of ending this oppression.

The Handmaid's Tale is part of Audible’s A-List Collection, featuring the world’s most celebrated actors narrating distinguished works of literature that each star had a hand in selecting. For more great books performed by Hollywood’s finest, click here.

©1985 Margaret Atwood (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“Claire Danes sparkles in this performance…Danes’s Offred is complex, and her flashes of intense strength highlight her vulnerability. This is a consuming listen, thanks to Danes’s emotional subtleties.” (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Pamela M. Southern California 10-17-12
    Pamela M. Southern California 10-17-12 Member Since 2012

    A book can get you out of your house, your town, even out of the country. I'm an avid reader believing reviews help find the good ones.

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    "Intense & Frightening!"

    A friend of mine recommended this book because she knew I liked unique reads.
    This book is unlike any book I have ever come across. Much of it was written in short sentences and didn’t have a flow to it that was easy to follow. It took me awhile to surrender to this but once I did I found it quite engaging. Claire Danes was monotone in her narration, however it fit the story.

    This book is a dystopian fable with a frightening view of the future. Women are treated as nameless “its”. They have no freedoms or rights and are valued by their ability to birth healthy normal babies. If you’re into dystopian you will probably enjoy this if your not I think you may like it but not love it! Women-libbers are going HATE it!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug D. Eigsti Colorado Springs, Colorado United States 04-03-13
    Doug D. Eigsti Colorado Springs, Colorado United States 04-03-13 Member Since 2013

    Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Anti-Capitalist Anti-Christian Dystopian Fable"

    I found this to be a pointless and depressing book. The characters are very human in their frailties and susceptibility to Political Correct thinking. I can see echoes of our own society in this book, but what I see is coming from the statists already in power and not from the religious wing of the populace. Hypocrisy is, of course, a theme in any such work, and, ironically, this one gets quite preachy when it comes to the dangers of religiosity. Several times the subject of the abolishment of abortion is raised as if it were some great symbolic tragedy indicative of the decline of the America that once was. I found the protagonist to be as sort of anti-heroine. She does not inspire us to greatness. But her plight does cause us to reflect on what we might do in similar circumstances. No causes are offered. No solutions. The life of the Handmaid is pointless.

    Clare Danes is a fine reader. I found her narration quite droll and sarcastic throughout which fits the text. After a few chapters her voice warms up and some emotion occasionally creeps into the text.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benoibe New Orleans, LA, United States 01-28-13
    Benoibe New Orleans, LA, United States 01-28-13 Member Since 2010

    Audio-addict!!

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    "A classic. Narration is OUTSTANDING!"

    This book fills me with despair. However, it is important and is a must-read.

    Claire Danes' performance is absolutely amazing. I was wary of famous actors as narrators. Once I started listening, I realized Danes is a natural. She adds a special something to this story, making this audiobook as classic and essential as the book itself!

    More Claire Danes!!!

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karie J. Ward Decatur MI 01-31-15
    Karie J. Ward Decatur MI 01-31-15 Member Since 2012

    kariejeanne

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    "Couldn't stop listening."

    I was mesmerized by this story! I sat up at night listening. Claire Danes is perfect and the story is gripping.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    anna v. 01-27-15
    anna v. 01-27-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Could not get past the first half"

    I am a big fan of audiobooks, but to me not all books work on this format. More literary titles suffer. This is the case here. I could not grasp, with this recording, all the riches and subtleties of Atwood's book.
    Claire Danes narration was utterly disappointing. She sounded always very depressed, with an artificial low tone that I could not stand for very long.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    charla Sioux Falls, SD, US 01-23-15
    charla Sioux Falls, SD, US 01-23-15 Member Since 2014
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    "This was a very interesting listen."

    Like no other book I've ever read or listened to, it was very provocative. I don't know if I would have enjoyed a narrator other than Claire Danes. She was superb and made visualizing OfFred very easy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rhonda 01-21-15
    Rhonda 01-21-15
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    "I feel shell shocked"

    I had to stop part way through and take a long break. It's so painful and beautiful. I needed time to let it percolate.

    I've read this book decades ago. Claire Danes improved the experience for me. I will listen to this again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    S.Michelle 01-14-15
    S.Michelle 01-14-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Really makes you think"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. It's a really great "book club" book. So many things to discuss


    What did you like best about this story?

    How close it is set to our time.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Orthodork 01-08-15
    Orthodork 01-08-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Amazing book!"

    Wonderful book, really thought-provoking because so many questions were left unanswered. Claire Danes does an exceptional job with narration as well. Highly recommended!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Melkorka 01-08-15
    Melkorka 01-08-15 Member Since 2015
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    "A must read/hear"

    A wonderful narrator of an eerily relvant tale. The war aginst women has indeed escalated and this tale is a causion against the lengths it can go

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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