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)
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
Excellent book, everyone concerned about our future should read this not only as a cautionary tale but an in depth look at what could happen if we are not careful. Claire Dane reads it beautifully.
The story is surreal and all too possible. the nightmare state of the world is taken from different parts of history and presented in such a close and intimate way that you feel what the narrator feels. this book is an instructive lesson in fundamentalism gone wrong written in an all too familiar Western idiom.
Claire Danes narrates with wistfulness and vulnerability that fits the narrator perfectly.
I first read this book about 6 years ago. This is a re-read / audiobook listen for me (both reading and listening simultaneously, and at different times). It's still one of my favorite books. It's so timely and very important. The narration by Claire Danes is fantastic!
Because this book has been recommended for teaching at the high school level, as a teacher, I felt I needed to read it. Although I appreciate the perspective the narrator offers into a misogynistic theocratic dystopia and the elements of modern society which it reflects, I would never teach this book. I had to make myself read (listen to) it. If the intent is to create unpleasantness in the life of the reader, the author certainly succeeded. I even found myself hating men at times. There is no let up in the misery. Ms Danes channels the misery in her reading of the tale. Indeed for this book, there is no balm.
I thought the story was slow and jumped around so much that it was frustrating. It was interesting enough that I wanted to finish the story, but then the end was a huge let down. I expected more. I feel like I was left to make up the rest of the story myself. Despite the frustration, Claire Danes did a great job narrarating.
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