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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

4.1 (3299 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Mike GRAND ISLAND, NE, United States 06-24-14
    Mike GRAND ISLAND, NE, United States 06-24-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Excellent book and very relevant!"
    Would you listen to The Handmaid's Tale again? Why?

    Yes, it's been a year or two that I've read and listened to it. It's such a good book, and very relevant to issues currently going on, and will probably always be going on. There are a few strong themes in this book, the view that women are baby incubators, and also that Christian values need to be present in all laws, that are very important in our current political climate.


    What other book might you compare The Handmaid's Tale to and why?

    Well, it's a dystopian look into the future. So you could compare it to other dystopian fiction. It's well written, and not YA fiction though (I'm not putting down YA fiction btw. I enjoy it, but this isn't YA).


    Which scene was your favorite?

    In a book like this, it's hard to pick a favorite scene, because there aren't many happy scenes. I did like her flashback scenes though, and it was interesting to see how her before life contradicted with her current life.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    "Better never means better for everyone, he says. It always means worse for some."

    It's a quote from the book, which completely describes the basic overall theme of the book.f


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    marine66 06-23-14
    marine66 06-23-14 Member Since 2011
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    6
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    "The Best Book I Have Ever Read"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This story was so enthralling that I knowingly arrived 20 minutes late to a meeting at work because I couldn't leave my car until I heard what was going to happen next. The story has stayed with me and I find myself thinking about it frequently even though I finished it over a month ago.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Juli Ford Alhadeff Plymouth, MA 06-17-14
    Juli Ford Alhadeff Plymouth, MA 06-17-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Claire Danes is the perfect narrator for this book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Handmaid's Tale to be better than the print version?

    I really enjoyed the story and I particularly loved Claire Danes performance. For me, she made the book. I have a really difficult time staying interested in audio books with most narrators and have typically found the only fiction audiobook narrators that I love to include Jim Dale, Cherry Jones and Kenneth Branagh etc... Claire Danes is now in that category for me.


    What about Claire Danes’s performance did you like?

    Her vocal tone, style and pacing was perfect. She also did a beautiful job taking on the personalities of the many characters in the book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margot Carlson Malibu, CA United States 06-11-14
    Margot Carlson Malibu, CA United States 06-11-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Outstanding narration"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have read The Handmaid's Tale at least 5 times, therefore I already have a voice in my head that is Offred's. Claire Danes's narration does not displace that voice, but rather enhances it. Listening to her read, I would forget sometimes that I know what happens, becoming enraptured by her storytelling. I never expected to love the audiobook so much.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Handmaid's Tale?

    To me the whole book is memorable because it's such a cautionary tale for women, losing one freedom after another until there is no power. During GW Bush's presidency when the CCTV cameras were going up everywhere and rights were being taken away, I was conscious of The Eye watching.


    Which character – as performed by Claire Danes – was your favorite?

    I love Offred, she is an old friend of mine.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book chills me to my bones, every time.


    Any additional comments?

    Great production, great voiceover, great author, great book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Memphis, TN, United States 05-31-14
    Susan Memphis, TN, United States 05-31-14 Member Since 2003
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    "Excellent Audiobook"

    Claire Danes gives one of the best performances I've ever heard in my 10+ years as an in Audible member. Even if you have read this book in print, revisiting it as an audiobook is well worth your time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel Rynick 05-21-14 Member Since 2008
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    "brilliant all around"
    Any additional comments?

    Fantastic performance of a classic well deserving of the title. Thoroughly absorbing from start to finish.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ben Wi 05-18-14
    Ben Wi 05-18-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Not too often are books overly descriptive"
    What would have made The Handmaid's Tale better?

    This book could have been cut in half if they didn't have to have 20 adjectives to describe the smallest of details. Made listening laborious. I wanted to get to the story!


    What was most disappointing about Margaret Atwood’s story?

    Drawn out.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandy Tulsa, OK, United States 05-01-14
    Sandy Tulsa, OK, United States 05-01-14 Member Since 2011

    Love classics and very long books....

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    "First A-List read and loved it!"
    Have you listened to any of Claire Danes’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved the story, and the performance made it even more disturbing (in a good way). I highly recommend The Handmaid's Tale.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda SOMERVILLE, MA, United States 04-25-14
    Linda SOMERVILLE, MA, United States 04-25-14 Member Since 2013

    Librarian, blogger, reader

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    "A classic, very well told"

    Claire Danes somehow seems a surprising choice to narrate, but I found her tone and style to be quite perfect for this classic feminist novel. I hadn't read The Handmaid's Tale in probably close to 20 years, but it's still just as good as it was then, maybe even better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karin Montemayor Austin, Tx 04-23-14
    Karin Montemayor Austin, Tx 04-23-14 Member Since 2010

    Scifi bibliophile

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    "Today's religious fundamentalists tomorrow"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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