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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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  •  
    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).

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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
  •  
    Glenda Reid Killeen, Texas, US 05-25-15
    Glenda Reid Killeen, Texas, US 05-25-15
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    "Awakens you to dreadful possibilities."

    Loved it. What hooked me was the abrupt loss of control over ones own person.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Uccellina Chicago, IL 05-24-15
    Uccellina Chicago, IL 05-24-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Fantastic reading of a classic"

    This story seems to have followed me through the Canadian education system. Claire Danes' reading really puts life into it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda 05-13-15
    Amanda 05-13-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Incredible story, fantastic narration"
    Any additional comments?

    This is a feminist literary classic. Even if you've read it, Claire Dane's masterful narration brings out a new side to a near perfect book. A must listen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily Elizabeth Poss 05-04-15 Member Since 2015

    I'm an English major who considers good fiction to be written in unique prose with stand-out characters and a story that refuses to die.

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    "Provocative Performance for a Haunting Tale"
    If you could sum up The Handmaid's Tale in three words, what would they be?

    This should scare.


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

    Margaret Atwood writes a chapter in which women quickly begin to lose all of their agency. It escalates exponentially, and as a woman, it's terrifying to hear. Offred walks into her regular shop where she buys cigarettes, only to find a strange man as the cashier. You can feel the trembling fear and disbelief in Offred's voice when she's told her card has been denied. And as the reader, your stomach plummets when you learn that only those with an 'F" instead of a "M" beside their name get to keep control of their own money. *Shiver.*


    What about Claire Danes’s performance did you like?

    Claire Danes developed distinct characters through her voices. You could tell exactly who was speaking before it was designated. I want her to read more!


    If you could rename The Handmaid's Tale, what would you call it?

    What Women Should Fear


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike 05-04-15
    Mike 05-04-15
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    "Grim and depressing"

    If you are looking for an enjoyable experience this is not the book for you. The writing and narration are excellent but the story is just plain depressing!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    SCOTT 05-04-15
    SCOTT 05-04-15
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    "I wish I had not waited so long to read this!"

    An very talented writer! And an excellent performance. I'm now a Margaret Atwood fan and will be looking for more works by her.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michale Baltimore, MD, United States 05-03-15
    Michale Baltimore, MD, United States 05-03-15 Member Since 2012

    Looking for complex, believable characters, an engaging storyline, and good narration! Fan of sci-fi, fantasy, adventure, and horror.

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    "I'm so Depressed Now"

    This story really put me in a dark place. I've had a bad string of listens lately and even though this book is very well written and had excellent narration by Claire Danes, it was not the best experience for me. Maybe I'm too sensitive? I really felt like I was a prisoner in a religious dictatorship, so kudos to Margaret Atwood for transporting me to this world, even though its not a nice place to be.

    The handmaid is telling her story in her head. It is rambling and jumps around from memory to memory, as if she is going over details so that she doesn't forget them. After some time it becomes apparent that she is a basically a slave with no rights and having no access to pen and paper, she is fine tuning her tale in her mind in the hopes of recording it one day. She doesn't want to forget one single detail. So sometimes she muses on flowers, or the ceiling above her head. Her confinement and feelings of helplessness come across so clearly that it made it hard for me to finish. Not having a name, not being allowed to speak, not being able to touch another person unless directed to do so, are things that have worn this woman down to a nub and all she has left is the voice in her head.

    Why is she a prisoner? What happened to society? These answers unfold very slowly and not in a linear manner. Warning! This story is very depressing with hardly any pay off in the end!! But at the end you will have a greater appreciation for the small freedoms in life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    william m. 05-01-15
    william m. 05-01-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Weird"

    This the weirdest and most depressing book I have ever listened to. There is not much more to say about it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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