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.
“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)
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.
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).
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.
"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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I love Offred, she is an old friend of mine.
This book chills me to my bones, every time.
Great production, great voiceover, great author, great book.
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.
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!
Love classics and very long books....
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.
I loved the story, and the performance made it even more disturbing (in a good way). I highly recommend The Handmaid's Tale.
Librarian, blogger, reader
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.
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.
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