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)
I completely forgot it was her which can be hard with iconic celebrity readers. Loved she interpretation she really made Offred one to life.
This novel is as salient today as it was when it was written over 30 years ago. The language is poetic but also visceral and gut-wrenching. Atwood's narrator is excellently composed: an imperfect woman still imperfect in her victimhood, no Joan of Arc ascending above the human bonds of her suffering as a symbol, but a tangible, relatable person reeling in the vicissitudes of ideological tyranny made real. This book chilled me to the bone and simultaneously caught me off guard with the beauty of the language. It is a literary and social masterpiece.
This is not the first time I've read this book, but it is the first time it scared me. In 2017, it no longer feels so fantastical...so impossible to imagine...
Brilliant cautionary tale by a brilliant author. If you are a woman and haven't read it...you must.
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Read/Listened for Fun (Audible/Library)
Overall Rating: 3.50
Story Rating: 3.50
Character Rating: 3.50
Audio Rating: 3.50 (not part of the overall rating)
Quick Thoughts: It is really hard for me to put into words how I feel about this book. I thought it was fascinating and there were parts of the story that I was really absorbed by. However, the ending didn't really work for me and there were other parts that just didn't work for me either. Overall I am looking forward to the TV Series and I am glad that I read the book first.
Narrated by: Claire Danes /Length: 11 hrs
So I love Claire Danes as an actress but her performance was just OK. I felt there needed to more there even though it was a very strict setting. Overall it wasn't a bad performance just wasn't my favorite.
Part of my Read It, Rate It, File It, DONE! Reviews
At first, it took some time for me to figure out what is going on around the narrator, as how she came to be who she is at the present is revealed in pieces here and there throughout the story, often in recollection. Nevertheless, I enjoyed fitting together different puzzles towards a complete picture. The clearer the outline of the Gileadian society (the fictional setting of the novel) became, the more disturbed I felt. But I also came to contemplate on the possibility of such world. Although many of the Gilead's customs look outrageous from today's standpoint(like the triplet intercourse), some of its structures and policies echo those of other totalitarian regimes documented in historical re ords, as noted in the coda of this novel. We can even relate this to the present days when we think of the Republic of Gilead as a product of twisted ideology for serving the interests of a minority of powerhungry individuals. Take the religious extremism of terrorist groups, for example.
For me, this dystopian world the author has created, is a cautionary tale against becoming blind to ideologies, many of which, when examined, only privileges their founders.
As for the performance, it was superb. I think the narrator's voice did justice to the different shades of emotions of the main character.
This classic feels terrifyingly relevant in today's political climate. It took me quite some time to get used to Dane's clunky reading unfortunately.
I never read this when first published. My only experience with this book is listening to it via Audible and Clair Danes as reader. How to describe a book that is creepy, scary, mesmerizing, and g
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