We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
The Handmaid's Tale Audiobook

The Handmaid's Tale

Regular Price:$24.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

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

4.2 (8951 )
5 star
 (4471)
4 star
 (2663)
3 star
 (1218)
2 star
 (344)
1 star
 (255)
Overall
4.2 (8142 )
5 star
 (4029)
4 star
 (2321)
3 star
 (1133)
2 star
 (382)
1 star
 (277)
Story
4.5 (8107 )
5 star
 (5331)
4 star
 (1823)
3 star
 (648)
2 star
 (172)
1 star
 (133)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Amylu minneapolis, mn 01-13-13
    Amylu minneapolis, mn 01-13-13 Member Since 2012

    crazy violinist

    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    21
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Still as moving and poignant as ever"

    I read this book many years ago, and I was interested to hear it performed by one of the A listers. There are a great many reviews of the book already - it is fantastic and important and chilling. It needs to be read.

    Claire Danes, however, did a great job with the narration. I won't say fabulous - I do think that she got a little too 'dramatic' with the pauses and timing now and then - but it was a thoroughly enjoyable (?) performance.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victoria 09-26-12
    Victoria 09-26-12 Member Since 2008

    RangerGirl

    HELPFUL VOTES
    118
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    110
    68
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    14
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "it might happen...."


    Sad, disturbing, borderline scary. What would I do?... But we human can adjust to just about anything... and there will always be love and the quest for belonging, for a touch and for an identity. Great, thought-provoking book. I wish the ending was more revealing...

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug D. Eigsti Kansas City, MO United States 04-03-13
    Doug D. Eigsti Kansas City, MO United States 04-03-13 Member Since 2013

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

    HELPFUL VOTES
    462
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    272
    256
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    26
    92
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JASON R. Hollywood, FL United States 03-18-13
    JASON R. Hollywood, FL United States 03-18-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Society ends and nothing much happens..."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    If there was any sense of the story going anywhere except around in cirlces.


    What was most disappointing about Margaret Atwood’s story?

    The fact that what little action exists (meaning anything to advance the plot) is mired in irrelevant flashback and endless introspection by the narrator. Listening to this story was frustrating because one needs to put up with a barrage of pointless observations, trivial references and constant reminiscing before the story takes even a half-step formward.


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

    I don't recall ever falling asleep during any parts where Ms. Danes was performing as Aunt Lydia. However, that's not saying much. The rest of the characters were transparent to point of non-existence.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Handmaid's Tale?

    Although most of this book was easily forgettable the scenes in which the narrator recalled her mother were particularly hard to sit through.


    Any additional comments?

    I've rarely given up on a book no matter how bad because I always choose to believe that it's got to get better. For me to abandon this audiobook after paying what I consider to be a expensive price, shows how unpleasant listening to this audio book was for me.

    I think Claire Danes did as good a job as this material would allow her to do. Unfortunately, despite her talents, the story itself served as nothing more than a sleeping aid for me. I can't believe this book won the Arthur C. Clarke award.

    14 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. M. Potter Washington D.C. 01-12-16
    A. M. Potter Washington D.C. 01-12-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    111
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    21
    17
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    9
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Ug, is it just me?"
    Any additional comments?

    I can see why this book has received so many accolades; it’s a well-written and crafted dystopian story but it lacked character development. I never fell in love with the characters. I never even hated the characters. They were flat and robotic. This felt like required reading with a capital "R." I couldn't wait to finish it and end my misery.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nothing really matters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 07-15-15
    Nothing really matters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 07-15-15 Member Since 2014

    Rob Thomas

    HELPFUL VOTES
    763
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    163
    149
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    77
    35
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Warning: stream of consciousness writing!"

    I read this book because it's on a number of top one hundred sci-fi novels lists. The story is interesting and has an original premise.

    That said, I'm not a fan (to put it mildly) of stream of consciousness writing. And this story is written largely in that style. I finished the book, but it was a struggle.

    I've read another Margaret Atwood novel and I'll probably get kicked out of Canada for saying this, but I'm not a big fan of her style. I know she has a huge following, but her writing is too literary for my simple tastes.

    If you don't mind stream of consciousness writing, you may enjoy this feminist dystopian tale.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karin W Austin, Tx 04-23-14
    Karin W Austin, Tx 04-23-14

    Scifi bibliophile

    HELPFUL VOTES
    52
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    42
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah Cedar Grove, TN United States 03-09-14
    Deborah Cedar Grove, TN United States 03-09-14 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "No purpose, no ending"

    Narrator did an excellent job. But other than that? I just didn't get it. There was no ending, nor purpose. Just a sort of diary of the handmaid and what a depressing, restricted, hopeless life she has. No closure. I was 1/2 through the audio book when it switched to "part 2". I considered quitting, but the rave reviews pushed me onward. Nope, don't get it. A total waste of time.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura 08-28-13
    Laura 08-28-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    25
    18
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointing"

    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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brenda CENTRAL POINT, OR, United States 06-01-13
    Brenda CENTRAL POINT, OR, United States 06-01-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    45
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "That's It?!"

    Claire Danes narration is flawless and totally believable. The story sort of grabs you and leads you down a path but the ending---no...that can not be the end...I went back and looked for another section---nothing...I back up the player to see if I missed something--nope...the end is just the end- no resolution, no nothing- just a good-bye-that's-all. Somebody should really finish the story.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.