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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

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Performance
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  •  
    Cesar Ghisilieri Photography 05-28-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very Monotone"

    the 2nd audio book I've ever I've ever walk out on (dropped the book about 4 hours in). It was very hard to pay attention to the terribly monotone narrator. The constant misery of every character made it hard to distinguish who was who. I normally like Atwood's work but this one is not for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Markita 05-28-15
    Markita 05-28-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Super disappointed."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    No. I was pumped to listen to Claire Danes perform this book but I ended up HATING the story! You never fully understand the process of how this regime takes over and how the main character ends up in her current house. Then you're left to wonder what happens to this poor woman after all the horrible things that she has already gone through. Very frustrating and unfulfilling!


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

    More closure! The book just kind of stops and then some random character is trying to explain how that society came about and what happened to them. I wanted to see the women take a stand and overthrow this stupid government!


    Have you listened to any of Claire Danes’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    Did The Handmaid's Tale inspire you to do anything?

    Continue to support feminist views and stand up for my gender.


    Any additional comments?

    Just disappointing. The reviews sounded good & I was pumped about Claire Danes! Overall just thought the story was kind of gross and depressing for no good reason. I'm not even sure what point the author was trying to make about society, if any at all...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    secbro19 05-27-15
    secbro19 05-27-15
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    "Amazing Novel"
    What made the experience of listening to The Handmaid's Tale the most enjoyable?

    I had never read this book before but I've always liked dystopian novels. This is a fantastic read and Claire Danes does a phenomenal job portraying the main character. One of the best audio books I've ever listened to


    What about Claire Danes’s performance did you like?

    Everything about her performance was outstanding. One of the best performances I've ever listened two. She portrays the main character as if she were her, living in her situation. It was amazingly well done.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Glenda Reid Killeen, Texas, US 05-25-15
    Glenda Reid Killeen, Texas, US 05-25-15
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    "Awakens you to dreadful possibilities."

    Loved it. What hooked me was the abrupt loss of control over ones own person.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Uccellina Chicago, IL 05-24-15
    Uccellina Chicago, IL 05-24-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Fantastic reading of a classic"

    This story seems to have followed me through the Canadian education system. Claire Danes' reading really puts life into it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda 05-13-15
    Amanda 05-13-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Incredible story, fantastic narration"
    Any additional comments?

    This is a feminist literary classic. Even if you've read it, Claire Dane's masterful narration brings out a new side to a near perfect book. A must listen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily Elizabeth Poss 05-04-15 Member Since 2015

    I'm an English major who considers good fiction to be written in unique prose with stand-out characters and a story that refuses to die.

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    "Exceptional! "

    Awesome performance by Claire Danes! I wish she read more- she has a wonderful and pleasing tonal quality and a air of innocence and cynicism that's perfect for this book. As to the story- it's terrifying and beautifully written. An exceptional read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike 05-04-15
    Mike 05-04-15
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    "Grim and depressing"

    If you are looking for an enjoyable experience this is not the book for you. The writing and narration are excellent but the story is just plain depressing!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SCOTT 05-04-15
    SCOTT 05-04-15
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    "I wish I had not waited so long to read this!"

    An very talented writer! And an excellent performance. I'm now a Margaret Atwood fan and will be looking for more works by her.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michale Baltimore, MD, United States 05-03-15
    Michale Baltimore, MD, United States 05-03-15 Member Since 2012

    Looking for complex, believable characters, an engaging storyline, and good narration! Fan of sci-fi, fantasy, adventure, and horror.

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    "I'm so Depressed Now"

    This story really put me in a dark place. I've had a bad string of listens lately and even though this book is very well written and had excellent narration by Claire Danes, it was not the best experience for me. Maybe I'm too sensitive? I really felt like I was a prisoner in a religious dictatorship, so kudos to Margaret Atwood for transporting me to this world, even though its not a nice place to be.

    The handmaid is telling her story in her head. It is rambling and jumps around from memory to memory, as if she is going over details so that she doesn't forget them. After some time it becomes apparent that she is a basically a slave with no rights and having no access to pen and paper, she is fine tuning her tale in her mind in the hopes of recording it one day. She doesn't want to forget one single detail. So sometimes she muses on flowers, or the ceiling above her head. Her confinement and feelings of helplessness come across so clearly that it made it hard for me to finish. Not having a name, not being allowed to speak, not being able to touch another person unless directed to do so, are things that have worn this woman down to a nub and all she has left is the voice in her head.

    Why is she a prisoner? What happened to society? These answers unfold very slowly and not in a linear manner. Warning! This story is very depressing with hardly any pay off in the end!! But at the end you will have a greater appreciation for the small freedoms in life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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