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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 (4653 )
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Performance
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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).

    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!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1525
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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
  •  
    marianne United States 03-29-15
    marianne United States 03-29-15 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    "Don't keep reading it doesn't get better"
    Would you try another book from Margaret Atwood and/or Claire Danes?

    I would be very very hesitant to read another book by this author. I thought that the author was written about the the 1940's but then realized the setting and period of time was Damn If I Know. Unfornately, I thought if I kept reading it would clear the muddy water but the water just got to smell like a rotten bucket of old fish. I think I will ask for my money back on this one. Spent a lot of time disappointed, confused and wasted.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I need some beach book listening from Nora Roberts.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I love reading realistic books from the 1600's, 1700's etc and leaning about the past through entertaining books but this book not only missed the mark it couldn't find the mark.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Frustration, confusion and discomfort were the perdominate feelings I felt.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MARCIE 03-29-15
    MARCIE 03-29-15

    Brutally Honest.

    ratings
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    29
    4
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    Story
    "A Diary written by poetic/qoute lover."
    What disappointed you about The Handmaid's Tale?

    More then half the time you have to guess what's going on. Then in the other half you feel like your just reading a book of qoutes for life. Example “Night falls. Or has fallen. Why is it that night falls, instead of rising, like the dawn? Yet if you look east, at sunset, you can see night rising, not falling; darkness lifting into the sky, up from the horizon, like a black sun behind cloud cover. Like smoke from an unseen fire, a line of fire just below the horizon, brushfire or a burning city". TELL A STORY, stop with the poetry.


    If you’ve listened to books by Margaret Atwood before, how does this one compare?

    Never have read/listen listened to any other book.


    What about Claire Danes’s performance did you like?

    I love Claire Danes as an actress and as a narrator I enjoyed her too.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Frustration.


    Any additional comments?

    I read it because of soo many rave reviews, and stuck by it in hopes of some closure. Like most bad reviews, the story was good but not clear. No when, why and how. And the end, wasn't really an end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A User Birmingham, AL, United States 03-27-15
    A User Birmingham, AL, United States 03-27-15 Member Since 2012

    Lake lover

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Regret buying this book"

    I normally don't enjoy dystopian books and I regret listening to this one. It was depressing and sickening. I'm a fan of Homeland but Claire Danes is not an especially good narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SallyC 03-27-15
    SallyC 03-27-15 Member Since 2012
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    15
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    "Strange book"

    I enjoyed parts of the story, but found it annoyingly vague. I don't think I have read anything else by this author, so this could be typical of her. I like stories neatly tied up at the end and this certainly wasn't.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rena Alisa Los Gatos, CA, US 03-25-15
    Rena Alisa Los Gatos, CA, US 03-25-15 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fanaticism makes strange bedfellows."

    When this book first cam out I decided to skip it. It is not really science fiction -- just a weak "alternative future" tale. But I have been listening to the news lately and in many places religious fanatics are kidnapping women and girls and forcing them into unwanted marriages. This tale has become all too real. So I decided to give this book a try.

    It is a good "listen" and I am glad I spent time with it. The voice of the protagonist describes a thuggish takeover of part of the US by a group of right wing religious Christians. It is a military state -- ethnically cleansed and at constant war with all the non-believers. It is a nightmare dystopia where dissidents are murdered outright and everyone must conform to the religious standards in word and deed. Sounds a lot like ISIS -- although this book was written well before
    ISIS existed.

    The narrator is a woman who's husband and daughter have "disappeared". Because of very low fertility rates, she has been trained as a "handmaiden" and assigned to one of the leading politicians. Her job is to produce a child for the commander's wife. In this society, all women are completely subjugated to the service of men. They are not allowed to read or write or live or work on their own. They wear veils. Unmarried men are kept away. Men are only awarded wives when they complete military service.

    It is already happening all over the world. Could it happen here?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim DeFrance 03-21-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Older book...but very good story."
    Any additional comments?

    Great book, before all of the other dystopian books of late became the hot thing there was this!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. I. Se Denver, CO 03-20-15
    M. I. Se Denver, CO 03-20-15 Member Since 2010

    Double Black Diamond

    ratings
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    48
    5
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    Performance
    Story
    "Good but a little dated"

    An interesting story, and extremely well they are rated, it's suffers from some of the same issues that animal Farm and 1984 do. That is, they were alarming and shocking visions of a dystopian future, when that i dystopian future seemed much more possible. Given today's very different strengths and concerns, some of the alarm and for boating seems point.

    All in all though, the fun tale.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chictech 03-19-15
    Chictech 03-19-15
    ratings
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    1
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    "Wow"

    Very interesting concept for a story I was hooked Clair daines voice is intoxicating could not stop listening even when I could read it I chose to listen

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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