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)
My favorite book of all time/ a chilling, terrifying possibility for the future/well-written must read
Claire Danes is sublime. I downloaded two books for free with Audibles and was about to give up on the app because the narration was (over-)exaggerated. Claire Danes' narration of The Handmaid's Tale was subtle and compelling with the right level of emotional intent, and convinced me to carry on using Audibles. Her telling of the story almost makes the actual story not matter, it's just interesting to listen to her voice.
Keeps you interested, surprising end, and a really messed up look at how things may end up!
Claire Danes did a wonderful job of narrating.
My only complaint with not only this book, is when there is a change in subject matter, there is no pause to reflect as such. More of an editing issue.
This is excellent. It's not a story to read over and over but it's one that you need to have read for your cultural literacy. The audio version is a really good way to enjoy this one because it is not only well performed but it seems to be a particularly good way for the story to be told. I went in to this knowing that it is one of those books they make the kids read in school but not why and I didn't know anything about the story ahead of time. I'm glad that I now know The Handmaid's Tale
struggled to finish. end gets better. middle very slow. almost stopped in middle.
avid reader and writer of speculative fiction...
Absolutely. I read this book in print when I was far too young to appreciate it fully, and I am so glad to have revisited it here. Despite its brevity, this story has layers upon layers of detail and hints and clues and themes. Every time you take this journey with Offred, you'll find new pieces that resonate with you, with our current political climate, and with the past.
This novel is such a strong piece of work, it almost defies comparison. If you are familiar with Atwood's other works, you'll find some of her writing style familiar, but plot-wise, it is worlds away from Oryx and Crake or MaddAdam, for instance.
The plot of this story grabs you by the throat within the first few pages and runs along full steam ahead from that point, so I think this book is accessible to a much broader audience than the rest of Atwood's works.
It weaves together elements from such works as Brave New World, Never Let Me Go, or The Left Hand of Darkness, yet it is still utterly original and singular. I personally love sci-fi and dystopian settings, but even if you don't, this book merits a read (or listen)
Normally, I am not a fan of Claire Danes- I actually find her voice grating in a lot of her acting work.
However, I was pleasantly surprised by this performance. On my first read of this novel, I had trouble picturing the protagonist in my head. At first, I imagined her as young as I was (13, at the time) and eventually came to picture her as the photo of Margaret Atwood on the book jacket (much older).
Claire Danes does an amazing job of somehow forcing you to imagine Offred is YOU. And that, I think, was Atwood's aim in writing this: to make sure the reader identifies with the protagonist to the extent that her world, the Republic of Gilead, seems almost like it could be your home, your neighborhood, your community, 10-15 years from now.
"Better never means better for everyone... It always means worse, for some."
(Just thinking about this part of the book gives me chills!)
Without giving away too much, I have to say: this book starts out in a grim place, but there are moments of levity throughout that will keep you from wanting to just give up. If you hold on long enough, and pay close attention, there is a thread of hope at the end that keeps this story from just being a downer.
subversive, entertaining, thought-provoking
I would compare this to The Giver by Lois Lowry because they are both similarly about controlling populations of people and totalitarian governments' failure to subdue the human spirit
I think Claire Danes' reading of the story is excellent; her voices with the characters help to flesh out the emotion behind the words. She does pause effectively and help the listener to follow the narrative more closely than an actor who would rush it.
The computer streaming could have been better. There were several times I had to restart my session due to frequent stops and fuzzy audio. My computer is hardwired on our business network with great performance otherwise, so I don't know why the audio didn't load as well that one day when it acted up.
It reminded me of my youth when I had a passion for dystopian books that were chillingly scary and believable in that far fetched way.
The epilogue. The cold analysis of how the story was likely preserved and all the uncertainty surrounding it was the saddest ending I could imagine.
I was put off by her monotone in the first few chapters but soon came to understand and appreciate her performance
I listened to it over a long weekend in more or less one sitting.
The plot played out very slowly from the beginning of the tale, teasing you along, and allowing you to believe it really could happen.
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