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 found the book fascinating and eerily prescient. 31 years after it was published, the world is caught in a struggle between those who wish to create a global Gilead and those who fight against it. Ironically, those fighting it also struggle with internal pressures to create a similar structure, desiring to return our society to the pre 1960's under the guise of "traditional values." A great read! Should be required reading in school.
Editor at Audible -- I like self-dev, Sci-Fi, and Fiction that leans a little bit, but not all the way, towards literary.
I'd love to share it here but it might spoil the story, overall though Claire Danes does an excellent job adding emotion to this powerful story.
Offred is really the main character and definitely the best performance. So calm, deliberate, and raw.
It definitely disturbed me on a fundamental level.
This is a vital listen.
This story was ok. Unfortunately the writing felt a little too poetic for me, and the storyline wasn't the most adventurous. Although, to be fair, I have read several memoirs about polygamy so perhaps my senses have been dulled on that subject.
Also, as a mildly autistic woman I could not relate to the main character. For any autistic folks reading this, the character's thoughts seemed to be (by my imagination) stereotypically neurotypical: multi-layered, socially-focused and feelings-oriented. Of course that's just my opinion, others may really enjoy that sort of thing.
I give the narrator 4 stars. I would have given her three because I prefer narrators that are a tad on the monotone side, so I bumped it up a star because that's an odd preference to have. At times she spoke with some emotion as if she were the main character herself, which was distracting to me. Also, as an aside, I hadn't realized before how much Claire Danes sounds like Scarlett Johansson. I kept picturing Ms. Johansson as the main character and then picturing Ms. Danes reading the book to me.
So all in all, if you think in pictures and have read many polygamy books this book might be just ok. If you like poetic writing and feelings and people, you might really enjoy this book.
I am rarely at a loss for words, particularly after a good read. Woah! Fascinating, frightening, exquisitely written, and captivating, are just a few of the words I'd give this book. Atwood nails every aspect of dystopian storytelling with vividness, while weaving in very familiar elements of physical reality. This is well-done in steroids!
Atwood writes beautifully. The story left a lot to be desired. Claire Danes didn't have much story to work with, however, I would definitely listen to her reading again.
This was a great dystopian novel, not at all what I had expected from the title when it was recommended to me by a friend. I enjoyed the story until the outrageously ambiguous ending. But if you like dystopian novels and don't mind endings that don't actually end, you'll love this book.
While I'm not quite finished yet- it is an amazing piece of literature with beautiful narration- but I have to stop and say as I've said before to many authors that insist on adding a scene of animal cruelty- If the author reads these reviews, I'd like her to know that the scene with the cat was completely unnecessary and only takes away from the story- does not add to it.
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