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.
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©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)
Atwood's imagery is charged with disquieting beauty.
Danes seems to effortlessly slip into the voice of Atwood's protagonist, while also clearly differentiating voices of other speakers in a way that allows the story to flow for the listener.
Not all men are evil, and not all religious people are blasphemous. But this book depicts how scary and disgusting the extremes of both can be.
Top 5 - the performance and story were equally enjoyable.
The Ceremony or the hanging at the end.
A truly disturbing look into a future that could be. The performance is well done, it felt like she was talking directly to me and sharing her tale.
inhabits this book!! Atwood must have written it with her performance in mind. I teach this book in 12th grade English, but only this year did I listen to the book as my refresher prep instead of re-reading it. Why not? I've always been a Claire Danes fan since "My So-called Life." She was brilliant. There were passages that I played for my classes because Dane's delivery elucidated the author's intent perfectly. If interested, there's a youtube video of her recording the book, Behind the Scenes with Claire Danes.
Danes does a great read, and from reading reviews on goodreads, the spoken performance might be easier to understand than the book, but saying would give some of the plot away so I won't. The story is excellent, thought written about a terrible dystopian world (that is downright eerie in its prescience, when you realize it was written in '84) so sometimes the story feels terrible. The ending is classic Atwood-- brilliant and unexpected, leaving the reader with lots to consider.
This story was such a disappointment. If not for Clair Danes performance I don't think I would have made it to the end.
I listened to the entire book so I could legitimately give a review. At 75% done, I was aching for it to end. Thankfully the plot does wrap up, and the final chapter was inventive. Second book I've read of Ms. Atwood, and second disappointment. Not my cup of tea.
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