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The Handmaid's Tale Audiobook

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

4.2 (7638 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Benoibe New Orleans, LA, United States 01-28-13
    Benoibe New Orleans, LA, United States 01-28-13 Member Since 2010

    Audio Addict! Usually listening to History these days. Love Will Durant most of all authors!

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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!!!

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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
  •  
    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
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    Apprentice Sage 04-29-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Great narration, even better story!"

    Never had chance to read the classic. Listening to it instead was a real treat.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Graeme Sydney, Australia 04-28-16
    Graeme Sydney, Australia 04-28-16 Member Since 2011
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    "Excellent narration by Clare Danes"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. Clare Danes really brings this book to life - the cover for this audiobook has the caption "Clare Danes performs The Handmaid's Tale", and that is a perfect description of what you get with her narration. The story, while highly implausible is interesting speculative fiction set in a polluted totalitarian future where religious zealots have taken over society and fertile women are enslaved to privileged households to bear children. Infertile women are regarded as "Unwomen" and sent to colonies where they spend the rest of their lives cleaning areas of pollution or, if they're "lucky" going into a bizarre form of state approved prostitution.The Handmaid's Tale is found after this era in the form of a set of cassette tapes, in which the Handmaid tells her story of life under this regime.


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

    The "Ceremony" scene. Such a bizarre scene to imagine.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I can't say I have a favourite scene as the book is very bleak.


    Any additional comments?

    There are some graphic sex scenes which, ironically, considering the subject matter of the book, might offend some prudish people.The book is not withouts its flaws - as well as the implausible premise, it takes a long time to add context to the events that led to the time of the story. It fails to paint a full picture of the world outside of the town the story is set in, and because there is a need for the reader to have a good grasp of the context in which the book is set, you are left taking a lot for granted in order to "go along" with the premise of the story. Also, as a male, I can see the potential for this book to be misused or misinterpreted by extreme feminists.Having said that, this is a very interesting book and along with the wonderful narration, it makes for a thought provoking and engaging read / listen which I ploughed through over a matter of a few days.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wendy Warren Baltimore, MD 04-25-16
    Wendy Warren Baltimore, MD 04-25-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Descriptions Galore, but No Story."

    One of the first things I learned in storytelling is no dreams and no travel stories. Dreams are too disjointed and travel stories are too lineal. I was tired of the main character's description of her dreams--for what purpose? Were they just to add more flowery descriptions and symbolism? Listened to more than half of the book and just had to give up. Too many good books out there to waste my time on this one. The symbolism was so obvious and cliche.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dolores LUTZ, FL, United States 04-24-16
    Dolores LUTZ, FL, United States 04-24-16 Member Since 2011
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    "Excellent "

    one of the most enjoyable audio book experiences for me thus far. Both the book content and style were well done -and Claire Danes reading brought the book to life

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Herman 04-22-16 Member Since 2016
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    "So well written"

    This isn't a genre I normally like, I have been passing this up for others on my wish list for a long time. Glad I finally got to it. Normally takes me a week to get through an audio book of this length. I finished listening to it in two days. Beautifully written. Almost poetic at times.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dennis 04-13-16
    Dennis 04-13-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Awesome Story!"

    I loved this story. It is hard to believe that it is already 30 years old. It could be written today and carry the same weight. We, as society, ought to be more careful with our freedoms and heed Stwood's warning against apathy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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