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The Handmaid's Tale Audiobook

The Handmaid's Tale

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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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  •  
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 03-30-14
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 03-30-14 Member Since 2016

    SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!

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    "Flawless Narration of Beautiful Prose!"

    I read The Handmaid's Tale quite some time ago but read such amazing reviews of Clare Danes I was drawn into getting the audible version. What a breathtaking experience.
    In the first place, Margaret Atwood's world building abilities here really shine. Everything is covered in the country of Gilead, the lead up to the overthrow of the world as we know it, the new political structure, religion, tension outlets (via partaking in executions) for the Handmaids, daily life and the lack of reading opportunities for women as they shop (all in pictures: mustn't have literate women!), and a shady underworld that shows that, for the powerful, things are just as seedy as they've ever been. So much thought has been put into every scene, every image, it's almost impossible not to be drawn in by it all, totally blown away by the world we get to walk through. I really, really appreciate being completely pulled into stories, and it's very rare. Hell, it's five-star rare!
    I've never been a huge fan of Clare Danes, didn't dislike her mind you, simply have never thought much of her one way or another. But her delivery of the story is heartbreaking, moving, confusing: she completely inhabits the skin, the very soul and spirit of Offred (and it was genius on Atwood's part that we never know her name, though it's alluded to). As one other reviewer pointed out, she is the character, she is the story, down to the inhalation of a puff of a cigarette. How can you not find that to be a sheer delight? How can you not be that person yourself?
    Treat yourself to this book. I'm not an Everything-Atwood kind of person, but this book is written so fluidly, with such beautiful metaphors, and such powerful word choices, it's hard not to shout it from the rooftops. With Danes at the helm, guiding is through, it's a five-star home run, well worth the credit, well worth the time. Brava to both women!

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. Modesto, CA, United States 10-30-13
    W. Modesto, CA, United States 10-30-13 Member Since 2015
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    "The Handmaid's Tale"

    This book is sadistic at best. A society has been created that has evolved into religious extremism. A gross interpretation of the biblical passage concerning Hagar's role to provide an heir for Abraham (along with a perverse literal description of the act itself) was what caused me to stop listening. It's no wonder that the heroin of the story wanted to escape. I hope she succeeded but frankly I did not want to take the journey to find out.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie Florence, KY, United States 07-10-13
    Laurie Florence, KY, United States 07-10-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Just. Freaking. Bizarre."

    Sorry, but this book was too weird to even try to put into words. So why, you ask, would I listen to the book in its entirety? The superb narration by Claire Danes. If Audible does not have her under contract, shame on them! She was perfect - the only reason to stay with this wacky tale.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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
  •  
    ray Maranon 08-20-16
    ray Maranon 08-20-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Ok book overall"

    This story was ok. Unfortunately the writing felt a little too poetic for me, and the storyline wasn't the most adventurous. Although, to be fair, I have read several memoirs about polygamy so perhaps my senses have been dulled on that subject.

    Also, as a mildly autistic woman I could not relate to the main character. For any autistic folks reading this, the character's thoughts seemed to be (by my imagination) stereotypically neurotypical: multi-layered, socially-focused and feelings-oriented. Of course that's just my opinion, others may really enjoy that sort of thing.

    I give the narrator 4 stars. I would have given her three because I prefer narrators that are a tad on the monotone side, so I bumped it up a star because that's an odd preference to have. At times she spoke with some emotion as if she were the main character herself, which was distracting to me. Also, as an aside, I hadn't realized before how much Claire Danes sounds like Scarlett Johansson. I kept picturing Ms. Johansson as the main character and then picturing Ms. Danes reading the book to me.

    So all in all, if you think in pictures and have read many polygamy books this book might be just ok. If you like poetic writing and feelings and people, you might really enjoy this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brittany 08-17-16
    Brittany 08-17-16 Member Since 2016
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    "great for the most part"

    The story was so good. You could visualize the characters. The ending made me mad.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Mr. M Gambhir 08-13-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Brilliant book, brilliantly read"

    Such a terrific listening experience. Highly recommended to enthusiasts of thought provoking dystopian, totalitarian stories.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tsahai 08-12-16
    Tsahai 08-12-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Wow."

    I am rarely at a loss for words, particularly after a good read. Woah! Fascinating, frightening, exquisitely written, and captivating, are just a few of the words I'd give this book. Atwood nails every aspect of dystopian storytelling with vividness, while weaving in very familiar elements of physical reality. This is well-done in steroids!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie Berman 08-09-16
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    "Thought it would be better"

    Atwood writes beautifully. The story left a lot to be desired. Claire Danes didn't have much story to work with, however, I would definitely listen to her reading again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Stacey Ann Kinney 08-09-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Great story with faltering ending"

    This was a great dystopian novel, not at all what I had expected from the title when it was recommended to me by a friend. I enjoyed the story until the outrageously ambiguous ending. But if you like dystopian novels and don't mind endings that don't actually end, you'll love this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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