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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 (5020 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Lauren 04-29-15
    Lauren 04-29-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    5
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    "a must listen or read"
    What made the experience of listening to The Handmaid's Tale the most enjoyable?

    i don't really understand this question. the book was excellent but there was nothing that i experienced. this question makes more sense about a trip to tibet


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    this is not a good question for this title


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

    once again not a good question for this book
    the characters are not to be liked, thats not how it goes


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    the whole book is very moving and evocative. as a woman its a horrible future to imagine and atwood paints a complete picture


    Any additional comments?

    wonderfully written, provocative. a must read for women, dystopian book enthusiasts and all others.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 04-25-15
    Jennifer 04-25-15 Member Since 2009

    41 year old newly minted lawyer, real estate broker and dog lover.

    ratings
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    2
    2
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    "Interesting but transparent and tired agendas"

    As ever Atwood's writing style is very sensual (not the dirty kind) and robust. I enjoyed the voice of Offred and her viewpoint. BUT- the whole "religion is bad and people are killing the planet" theme is so obvious and tired. To be fair maybe it wasn't in 1986...

    Almost 30 years after this grave warning our planet is cleaner and women have more rights than ever. Primarily, this is due to freedom.

    I am not religious but most of the people I know who are religious consider their religion to be personal- not some way of damning others. It makes me sad to think that such a talented writer had such a bleak vision of our future. I am glad she was so far off!

    Still a good read and a good performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erin Sullivan Grass Valley, CA 04-25-15
    Erin Sullivan Grass Valley, CA 04-25-15 Member Since 2014
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    "A solidly entertaining audio book!"

    Claire Danes is great
    She should do more audio books. This is a unique story. Well devised.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann 04-19-15
    Ann 04-19-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Very interesting/different. Luv Claire Danes!"
    What did you love best about The Handmaid's Tale?

    Honestly, the last chapter made it all work for me.


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

    The first bed scene with the Commander was intense.


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

    The main character, Of Fred, was fascinating. It takes a while to figure it out, but shouldn't all books have that kind of depth?


    If you could take any character from The Handmaid's Tale out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    I'd definitely want to hear the rest of the story from Of Fred.


    Any additional comments?

    I finished this book a week ago and am still thinking about it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chi 04-18-15
    Chi 04-18-15
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    38
    3
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    "Excellent"

    Really love this book. I especially liked the historical notes at the end. Margaret Atwood is an excellent writer. Her characters are very well developed I feel like I know them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah 04-17-15
    Sarah 04-17-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    5
    1
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    "Not the greatest"

    If I were reading this would have quit before finishing, but listened to the end and wasn't impressed seemed to drag on. I really like Clare Danes so it helped that she read it otherwise I may not have finished, kept waiting for it to go somewhere and by the time I thought maybe something was actually going to happen in the book when she was taken away it finished.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James A. Hyler 04-13-15 Member Since 2013
    ratings
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    2
    2
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    "Wonderful"

    Claire Danes was the perfect choice to narrate this story. This is a book NOT for the faint of heart. A definite must read in these uncertain times.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    52 weeks, 52 books 04-10-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What? No ending?"

    I put off reading this because I don't do depressing well. The possibility of soch a takeover of our democracy becomes greater every day. As long as we have racist and sexist police, military men, private militias, and wealthy sponsors, a dystopia iis more than possible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Taddea Seattle, WA USA 04-10-15
    Taddea Seattle, WA USA 04-10-15 Member Since 2013

    I don't mind the long commute anymore. Sometimes I even drive around town just to get to place I can stop.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
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    "Incredible book and incredibly disturbing"

    I read this book my senior year in college. It was so disturbing, I had to call a friend at 2am to talk about it. She read it and did the same to me. I took it on a trip to Thailand with a dozen other students and every one of them read it and we had talks about it after each one finished it. It is a thought provoking book that seems far too plausible. I think it should be a must read for every high school or college student.

    Since that first read in 1987, I have reread it a dozen times. When I joined Audible I asked for it, several times and was happy when they got it. It continues to be one of the best books I have ever read or listened to. I can't recommend it highly enough!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rae 04-10-15
    Rae 04-10-15
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    2
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    "The book took too long to get to the core"

    I would recommend, however be prepared for a long drawn out buildup towards the primary story line. Narration was good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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