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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 (3313 )
5 star
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4.1 (3001 )
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4.4 (2986 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (68)
Performance
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  •  
    T. Cox NC 03-11-14
    T. Cox NC 03-11-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Attention Author: Stop while your ahead!"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The last chapter is boring, and a waste. The story of this woman deserved a much better finale. The author jumps right into this confusing tale, without warning. She continues to jump around throughout.


    Has The Handmaid's Tale turned you off from other books in this genre?

    The quasi historical lecture at the end, it was unnecessary and boring. The author could have made this a much better story by following with the woman's story to the end.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    Claire Dane's was the best part of this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charle Talbotton, GA, United States 03-05-14
    Charle Talbotton, GA, United States 03-05-14 Member Since 2012

    Ready for the next stage.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unexpected"
    What did you love best about The Handmaid's Tale?

    It had amazing imagery without overdoing the descriptions.


    What other book might you compare The Handmaid's Tale to and why?

    The writing style reminded me of Toni Morrison (without the overt racial tones).


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The scene describing the readers first encounter with the handmaids real purpose. When The Wife, The Captain, and The Handmaid are all on the bed. The colors and shapes of their bodies create a detailed picture all while creating a essential scene to understanding the story.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SHMag@aol.com Westchester County, NY 03-02-14
    SHMag@aol.com Westchester County, NY 03-02-14 Member Since 2003
    ratings
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    5
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Great narration makes a strange story tolerable"
    Would you try another book from Margaret Atwood and/or Claire Danes?

    Definitely from Claire Danes; not so sure about M. Atwood


    What could Margaret Atwood have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    I bought it because of the narrator (as well as the reputaion of the author) but the story was just too science fiction"y" for me and I really didn't "get" it.


    What does Claire Danes bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Would have abandoned the book early on if not for the narration


    Could you see The Handmaid's Tale being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    I've said it all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristin OCEANSIDE, CA, United States 02-28-14
    Kristin OCEANSIDE, CA, United States 02-28-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    21
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    "Good story, terrible reading."

    Leave the celebrities at home! I love listening to books and am exasperated by the need for celebrities to insert their personalities into what is not theirs, leave the book reading to some of the wonderful narrators. Her voice and inflection was distracting and annoying and hard to get past to enjoy the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric United States 02-25-14
    Eric United States 02-25-14 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    3
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    Performance
    Story
    "Unnerving"
    What made the experience of listening to The Handmaid's Tale the most enjoyable?

    It's an interesting premise from a very interesting perspective. The author allows you to get close to your character in a way they are unable to get close to other characters in the story, which procures a personal relationship you share with the protagonist.


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

    She did an excellent job with all the characters.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, but that is because the difficulty of reading some parts that evoked a deep empathy for the protagonist. I needed a break from her world and her interpretation of that world.


    Any additional comments?

    This is an excellent book, and a wonderful audio book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly Cape Coral, FL, United States 02-18-14
    Kelly Cape Coral, FL, United States 02-18-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
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    4
    4
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    "Interesting tale!"
    If you could sum up The Handmaid's Tale in three words, what would they be?

    very interesting story


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

    Thinking that it could happen now


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The ending


    Any additional comments?

    It took me a while to get into the book, but once I was caught, it was in until the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi YORKTOWN, VA, United States 01-28-14
    Kristi YORKTOWN, VA, United States 01-28-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
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    1
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    "Not what I thought"
    What disappointed you about The Handmaid's Tale?

    The subject matter-why the handmaid and society was in their current situation-didn't sit well with my beliefs.


    What could Margaret Atwood have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    It was too obviously left wing and anit-God.


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

    Clair Danes was fine. It was the story that I didn't care for.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Offended


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce Laguna Hills, CA, United States 01-27-14
    Bruce Laguna Hills, CA, United States 01-27-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "Not Sure How to Rate It"

    I debated long and hard whether to give this 3 stars or 4. I ultimately decided on 3, notwithstanding the superb narration of Claire Danes. She is also the reason I downloaded the book in the first place, not knowing fully what to expect. It was generally a good story albeit, I thought, somewhat far fetched. It was thought provoking, however. We do take a lot of our freedoms for granted. For some reason, it is my time to be reading what are typically thought to be women's books. I am also in the process of reading Jane Eyre. That one I am thoroughly enjoying, already anticipating a 5 star review. Anyway, I for the most part found O Fred's tale interesting, particularly enhanced by the narration of Claire Danes, which I thought was great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele Randolph, NJ 01-25-14
    Michele Randolph, NJ 01-25-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
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    "Loved it, loved it, loved it!"
    Would you listen to The Handmaid's Tale again? Why?

    I have listened to it twice already and will probably listen to it again. The story was so interesting and there is so much to take in.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the unexpected ending. I also liked that it was an unsettling way of life that could happen.


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

    Offred.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I found the book to be intriguing. I couldn't listen to it fast enough.


    Any additional comments?

    I bought the book because it came up as a recommendation and I love Claire Danes. The book was so much better then I thought it was going to be.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mequasah tigard, OR, United States 01-18-14
    Mequasah tigard, OR, United States 01-18-14 Member Since 2011
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    78
    6
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    "An unexpected gem"
    What made the experience of listening to The Handmaid's Tale the most enjoyable?

    Let's be honest Claire Danes is genius, so I would say her narration. The story is interesting and made me think.


    Any additional comments?

    I think anyone would call this book anticlimactic but for me that was not an issue. I so enjoined listening and introspecting, it was one of those books for me. A book that I think about weeks and months after finishing. It is relevant, frightening and beautiful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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